Description - The largest refuge in Washington, Little Pend Oreille NWR manages six distinct forest vegetation zones ranging from low elevation pine at 1,800 feet to high elevation subalpine fir at 5,600 feet, with a diverse riparian, meadow, wetland, and lake habitats interspersed throughout.
- Little Pend Oreille NWR features two research natural areas and an extensive block (3,000+ acres) of unroaded, largely untouched mixed conifer forest and old growth pine communities make this refuge unique. Containing the middle reaches of the Little Pend Oreille River and the entire Bear Creek watershed, the refuge is uniquely poised to provide an ecoregional model for wildlife conservation through forest management.
Used seasonally by bald eagles, diverse migratory bird communities and wintering white-tailed deer, refuge supports wildlife populations that are diverse, yet typical of inland Pacific Northwest montane forest wildlife communities. The refuge's importance to several federally listed species, or species of concern including gray wolves, peregrine falcons, lynx, wolverine, fisher and great gray owl warrants future study. The refuge also has a plethora of large mammals, including white-tailed deer, moose, elk, and black bear.
Recreation - Public uses include hunting, fishing, camping, hiking, horseback riding, mountain biking, wildlife viewing, and photography. The camping at the Soda Lake Campground features handicapped accessible facilities and requires a recreation user fee. There are nearly 200 miles of gravel roads open for foot travel. Hunting for big game and upland birds is allowed. Other uses include U.S. Air Force Survival School and search and rescue training.
Climate - The climate of Washington varies within each region. The Cascades split the state and alter the weather patterns. The mountains receive large amounts of wet, heavy snow from October through May. These peaks remain snow covered throughout the year. The terrain east of the mountains receives approximately 12 inches of rainfall per year, generally much less than west of the mountains. Since the area east of the mountains is landlocked, temperatures in this region are lower during the winter months. Frequent winds coming down from the mountains also contribute to the low temperatures of eastern Washington.
Due to the coastal geography, western Washington is primarily temperate. The proximity to the ocean stabilizes the climate, making extreme temperatures very rare. The area receives large amounts of precipitation from Pacific rain and snow storms.
The refuge headquarters is located 13 miles southeast of Colville, Washington. Follow Highway 20 east from Colville about 6 miles to Artman-Gibson Road, turn right and go 2 miles. Turn left on Kitt-Narcisse Road and go 2.2 miles to pavement end. Turn right onto Bear Creek Road and the refuge office is three miles down the road.