Cokeville Meadows National Wildlife Refuge (NWR), located south of Cokeville, Wyoming, is centered around a 20-mile stretch of the Bear River and its associated wetlands and uplands. The Refuge was established in 1992. While the approved acquisition boundary for the Refuge totals 26,657 acres, only 7,483 acres have been purchased or are protected through conservation easements to date. Land acquisition is ongoing from willing sellers only.
Wetlands within the acquisition area provide excellent habitat for a variety of migratory and resident wildlife species. The area was identified as the number one priority in the Bear River Focus Area Plan for the Inter-Mountain West Joint Venture. The Refuge supports one of the highest densities of nesting waterfowl in Wyoming; provides nesting habitat to unique colony nesting bird species including white-faced ibis, black terns, and numerous other marsh and shorebirds; provides excellent potential for reintroduction of trumpeter swans; and provides habitat for resident species including greater sage grouse, mule deer, elk, and pronghorn. The historic Oregon Trail transects part of the Refuge.
Since its inception, Cokeville Meadows NWR has been managed as a satellite of Seedskadee NWR, 75 miles to the east. In 2002, the first full-time staff member was assigned to Cokeville Meadows NWR. Administration of the Refuge will continue out of the Seedskadee NWR until adequate facilities and staff are secured.
Because it was only recently established, Cokeville Meadows NWR is not open to public use. However, over the next several years, Refuge staff will begin public planning processes that may open Refuge lands to a variety of public uses such as wildlife viewing, interpretation, fishing, hunting, environmental education, and photography. Some of these activities may be contingent on acquisition of additional lands so the public has clear, comprehensive boundaries on which to recreate without infringing on adjacent private lands. Refuge staff are currently available to conduct off-site environmental education classes for students or other groups upon request.
Map + Directions
To reach the Refuge, travel south from Cokeville, Wyoming, on State Highway 30. The acquisition boundary of Cokeville Meadows NWR begins about one mile south of Cokeville, Wyoming and continues 16 miles to the south. Highway 30 forms the eastern acquisition boundary of the Refuge. Non-contiguous Refuge lands are located within this acquisition boundary intermingled by tracts of private land. There are currently no visitor facilities located on the Refuge. Cokeville, Wyoming is located about 7 miles northeast of the Idaho, Utah, and Wyoming tri-state boundary.