If you were to tally up all of the white pelicans that nest on two islands in this isolated alkali lake, you'd find more than 20,000, one of the largest colonies in North America. That figure is all the more impressive (and heartening) when you consider that only 50 birds inhabited the region when the area was officially slated for protection in 1908. Birders may observe these creatures from a rise near the lake, but the islands themselves are strictly off-limits. In addition to pelicans, you may encounter ducks, geese, swans, sharp-tailed grouse, ring-necked pheasants, gulls, cormorants, white-tailed deer, and many smaller mammals. Facilities are not available on site, and camping is not permitted. The Chase Lake National Wildlife Refuge is 95% wilderness. Only about 230 acres, separated from the rest of the refuge by a powerline, are not. The lake itself takes up more than half of the area; the remaining acreage is grassland and wetland with very few trees.
Leave No Trace
How to follow the seven standard Leave No Trace principles differs in different parts of the country (desert vs. Rocky Mountains). Click on any of the principles listed below to learn more about how they apply in the Chase Lake Wilderness.
The United States Congress designated the Chase Lake Wilderness in 1975 and it now has a total of 4,155 acres. All of the wilderness is in North Dakota and is managed by the Fish & Wildlife Service
Digital and paper maps are critical tools for wilderness visitors. Online maps can help you plan and prepare for your visit ahead of time. You can also carry digital maps with you on your GPS unit or other handheld GPS device. Having a paper map with you in the backcountry, as well as solid orienteering skills, however, ensures that you can still route-find in the event that your electronic device fails.
Motorized equipment and equipment used for mechanical transport is generally prohibited in all wilderness areas.
This includes the use of motor vehicles, motorboats, motorized equipment, bicycles, hang gliders, wagons, carts, portage wheels, and the landing of aircraft including helicopters.