Turnbull National Wildlife Refuge, Cheney

The Turnbull National Wildlife Refuge is located six miles south of Cheney, Washington, on the eastern edge of the Columbia Basin in Spokane County in northeastern Washington. Turnbull NWR encompasses more than of the Channeled Scablands. The ecosystem that predominates the refuge is unique within the National Wildlife Refuge System and has characteristics that distinguish it from natural reserves worldwide. The combination of basalt outcrops, channeled canyons, and ponderosa pine forests infused in a diverse landscape of over 130 marshes, wetlands, and lakes creates an environment of aesthetic beauty as well as high quality wildlife habitat. The refuge is named for Cyrus Turnbull who lived on the site in the 1880s.
The refuge is situated within the Channeled Scablands, an area formed 16,000 years ago by Missoula Floods during the last ice age. The powerful forces of volcanism, glaciation, and the largest flood in geological history have combined to forge a distinct environment. Refuge ecosystems represent an ecological transition between the dry, sagebrush-dotted grasslands of the Columbia Basin up toward the timbered Selkirk and Bitterroot mountain ranges that rise up to the east. The of wetlands on Turnbull NWR represent some of the last quality breeding habitat available in eastern Washington for waterfowl, which have experienced tremendous population declines across North America due to loss and degradation of breeding, migration and wintering habitat. The powerful forces of the volcanism which formed the Columbia Plateau, glaciation, and a series of large floods combined to form an environment unique in many respects. The area provides a high quality wildlife habitat that combines scablands, basalt outcrops, channeled canyons, ponderosa pine forests, and meadows in a diverse landscape with over 130 marshes, wetlands and lakes.
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Turnbull National Wildlife Refuge Reviews
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TripAdvisor Traveler Rating 4.5
40 reviews
  • Quiet and empty on a Sunday! Flat easy trails. Excellent birding opportunities. Fascinating topography and geological history. Many many ponds and lakes. Well of course. It lives up to its name wetlan...  more »
  • I have been several times great for birders . Nice driving tour if you don’t want to hike with short walks to view points . Have seen a moose and wild turkey , ducks and birds .  more »
  • First time here, we did the vehicle tour and saw a Moose 5mins in. Lots of Dragonfly's a ducks, very beautiful and we will definitely be coming back later this month to have a picnic when there will be more to possibly see. Highly recommend you stop by, gift shop has some great things for both adults and kid's. It closes at 4:00 and is opened only Saturday's and Sunday's.
  • Trails are well maintained and easy to follow. The refuge is beautiful. There are many species of birds to see and an occasional moose.

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