Agassiz NWR to mark 75th anniversary

Agassiz National Wildlife Refuge northeast of Thief River Falls turns 75 this year, and an anniversary celebration is scheduled for 9 a.m. to noon June 23. Events on tap include a bird walk, management tour and kids’ activities.

According to a news release from the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, “Agassiz NWR was established by President Franklin D. Roosevelt in 1937 as Mud Lake Migratory Waterfowl Refuge. Its primary purpose was to be ‘a refuge and breeding ground for migratory birds and other wildlife.’

“Although its original focus was on waterfowl (ducks and geese), over the years, other migratory birds and year-round resident wildlife, including mammals such as moose, deer and wolves, have received an increasing emphasis in refuge management.

“In 1961 the Refuge’s name was changed to Agassiz NWR, after the vast, ancient body of water — Glacial Lake Agassiz — that produced the exceedingly flat terrain which characterizes the area today.”

If you’ve never been to Agassiz, which is just over an hour’s drive from Grand Forks, put it on your list. The refuge offers an abundance of wildlife-watching and hiking opportunities, along with a four-mile self-guided auto drive, an observation deck and a 100-foot observation tower. (Not being a big fan of heights, I have yet to make the climb to the top of the tower.)

Located in eastern Marshall County, Agassiz covers 65,500 acres, including 4,000 acres that were designated as a wilderness area in 1976.

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