Description - Turnbull NWR is a true wildlife refuge in the sense that no hunting or fishing is allowed and public access is limited to 3000 acres of the visitor use area. The remaining portions of the refuge are preserved for wildlife sanctuary purposes, with disturbance even by refuge staff kept to a minimum.
- Turnbull NWR is located in the channeled scablands of eastern Washington. It features rugged scabrock, ponderosa pine, aspen, grasslands, and wetlands. It was established to support migratory birds and nesting waterfowl, and to maintain habitat for endangered and threatened species.
Sixteen species of duck such as redhead, canvasback, and ruddy duck, mallard, cinnamon teal, American wigeon and northern pintail nest on the refuge. Sixty-three species of migratory birds frequent refuge aspen groves including house wrens, wood pewees, western bluebirds and yellow warbler. Another sixteen species utilize the ponderosa pine forests such as the pygmy nuthatch, red crossbill and chipping sparrow. Elk are visible along with white-tailed deer, coyotes, Columbian ground squirrels, red squirrels, badgers and porcupines in upland areas. In wetland areas an occasional beaver, muskrat or mink may be sighted. The Turnbull Laboratory for Ecological Studies (operated by Eastern Washington University) is located on the refuge and two Research Natural Areas have been established as well.
Recreation - Visitors will find lots of excellent wildlife viewing opportunities in the visitor areas. Hiking is available on numerous trails that loop through numerous wetlands and pine forest habitats. There is also the 5.5 mile auto-tour route which accesses scenic views, short hikes and even a wheelchair accessible boardwalk.
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.
Turnbull National Wildlife Refuge is approximately a 40 minute drive from Spokane, Washington. From Spokane, take I-90 west to the Cheney / Medical Lake Exit (exit 270). When you get to Cheney, continue proceeding westbound through two traffic lights. After you pass the second light, proceed for one half mile to Cheney-Plaza Road. There, on your left you will see a brown and white sign that reads "Turnbull National Wildlife Refuge 4.5 miles."