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State of Texas Parks

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USA Parks
Panhandle & Plains Region
Buffalo Lake National Wildlife Refuge
Buffalo Lake National Wildlife Refuge © Leaflet / Public domain, via Wikimedia Commons
Large dam structure for a dry lake within a canyon carved by Tierra Blanca Creek, Buffalo Lake National Wildlife Refuge.
Buffalo Lake National Wildlife Refuge © Baldyp / CC BY-SA 3.0, via Wikimedia Commons
The Windmill at Buffalo Lake National Wildlife Refuge still works.
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P.O. Box 179
Umbarger, Texas   79091
A valuable wintering area for migrating waterfowl, thousands of ducks and geese over-winter on Buffalo Lake National Wildlife Refuge every year. Located in Randall County in the Texas Panhandle, the refuge is made up of 7,664 acres of shortgrass prairie, riparian, marsh, woodland and cropland habitats. Maintaining these habitats provide homes for migratory and resident wildlife species.

Riparian areas, consisting of trees and grasses adjacent the dry lake bed, provide habitat used for feeding and nesting by neotropical migratory birds, deer, and numerous other wildlife species.

Wildlife food crops are planted in the dry lake bottom by cooperative farming. The crops are used by wildlife for food and the mix of crops, stubble, and natural plants provide nesting and winter cover for migratory and resident wildlife.

Buffalo Lake NWR contains some of the best remaining shortgrass prairie in the United States, including 175 acres designated a National Natural Landmark. Shortgrass prairie ecosystems were historically maintained by annual grazing of migrating American bison. With the bison gone, this ecosystem is maintained by grazing cattle.

Waterfowl habitat is provided by a moist soil management unit located in Stewart Marsh. Flooded each spring, the unit slowly dries, promoting growth of aquatic waterfowl food plants. The unit is flooded again in fall just before the ducks arrive. The result is food and cover for water birds seeking a rest stop. Additional wildlife water is found in artificial ponds and water tanks.
Nature of the Area
Buffalo Lake NWR rests in the Central Flyway, a route traveled annually by numerous species of waterfowl and other birds, moving between tropical wintering and U.S. nesting areas. One particular group of birds, called neotropical migrants, passes through the refuge each spring and fall with many remaining to nest. Although many neotropical species have declined over the years, over 300 species have been recorded on the refuge. Neotropical migratory birds are the warblers, flycatchers, tanagers, orioles, sparrows, and numerous others that provide color and song in the trees.

The refuge also provides habitat for endangered species including bald eagles, peregrine falcons, and mountain plovers. Resident species include both mule and white-tailed deer, prairie dogs, bobcats, coyotes, wild turkey, pheasants, quail, rabbits and many others.
Day-UseHiking Trailyes

Buffalo Lake National Wildlife Refuge is located near Amarillo, Canyon

Sack lunch picnicking is permitted only in the designated picnic area during posted hours. Because wildfire is a serious threat to wildlife and their refuge habitats, charcoal grills and ground fires are prohibited.
Nature Programs
Opportunities for environmental education and wildlife experiences for schools, and environmental clubs and organizations is available by special permit. Please contact the refuge at 806/499-3382 or [email protected] regarding your group needs.

Visitor Comments, Memories and Reviews
June 12 fishermans paradise but dont feed the be by sevenburlap
park review stars; one to five caught lots of fish went sking
July 19 Well Worth a Visit by LRichardson
park review stars; one to five I recently visited Buffalo Lake after being away from Texas for over 40 years. I remember as a boy I used to fish there and was always impressed by the lake, as there is not much water in the Panhandle. When I arrived I was suprized that the water had mostly gone, but pleased with what had been done to preserve the area and turn it into a Wildlife Refuge. It was so pleasant and peaceful there, I will most certainly return again.
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Refuge headquarters may be reached from the east and west by U.S. 60 and from the north and south by Interstate 27 to U.S. 60. The entrance road is located 1.5 miles south of Umbarger, Texas, on F.M. 168. Umbarger is 10 miles west of Canyon, Texas and 20 miles east of Hereford, Texas on U.S. 60, approximately 30 miles southwest of Amarillo, Texas.

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