DeSoto and Boyer Chute National Wildlife Refuges

In honor of the 50th anniversary of the National Trails System four special dogs, the Lewis and Clark Pups, will travel in the paws of their ancestor Seaman, dog of Meriwether Lewis. The pups will travel more than 3,700 miles to complete their mission to commemorate and protect the Lewis and Clark National Historic Trail. As they make their stops they will be reporting back in on their adventures. Follow Rocky, Harper, Dakota, and Keelie on their adventures in the Newfie News Blog!
Stuffed pup near edge of wetland
Today I got to visit DeSoto and Boyer Chute National Wildlife Refuges. These refuges are managed by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service. I love the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service because they help conserve habitat for my fellow wild animals. Both DeSoto and Boyer Chute were areas where my ancestor Seaman, along with Lewis and Clark, stopped to camp and rest during their long journey up the Missouri River.

I learned today, DeSoto and Boyer Chute still serve as important resting areas, but it is for the thousands of migratory birds that fly through the area every spring and fall. The rangers told me that many of these migratory birds depend on wetlands as places to stop, rest, and feed during their long journey. I got to visit one of the wetlands at DeSoto and got to see lots of resting and feeding birds I am glad they have restored these wetlands for wildlife, but I prefer resting in my dog carrier!
Stuffed pup near eagle statue
During my visit, I also stopped at the DeSoto National Wildlife Refuge Visitor Center. I was greeted by friendly and knowledgeable rangers and volunteers who helped answer questions about the refuge. The visitor center was super neat because I got to learn about the plants, animals and habitat of the area.
stuffed pup wearing eagle mask
I even got my picture taken in a replica eagles’ nest…it was huge!
stuffed pup at boat wheel
Also in the visitor center were artifacts from the Steamboat Bertrand, which I learned sunk on the Missouri River in 1865 and wasn’t discovered until 1968.
stuffed pup on cannonballs
There were so many neat artifacts, but my favorite was the cannonballs!
stuffed pup looking out window of observation blind
After the visitor center we went out on the refuge and I took hike a nature trail and look for wildlife.
distance view of eagle nest in a tree
We saw all sorts of wildlife and even got to see an actual eagle’ nest across from their observation blind. Lots of people were out visiting the refuge to observe wildlife, photograph nature, go fishing or even hunt wild turkey.
stuffed pup near river
Finally, we went down to Boyer Chute National Wildlife Refuge to see the Missouri River. The ranger told me that the river has changed a lot since Lewis and Clark and Seaman traveled up the river. He said it was untamed and constantly meandering with many side channels similar to Boyer Chute. When Lewis and Clark traveled here, much of the area along the Missouri River would have been a mosaic of wetlands, sandbars, bottomland forests and grasslands. It sounded like such an amazing river! I was sad to learn that much of this habitat is gone, but thankfully the staff at DeSoto and Boyer Chute is working to manage for these habitats for the benefit of native plants and animals.

I had a great time at DeSoto and Boyer Chute National Wildlife Refuges. I am glad to know that there are places set aside for wildlife. Hopefully I’ll visit another National Wildlife Refuge along my journey up the Missouri River!

Learn more about DeSoto and Boyer Chute National Wildlife Refuges:
DeSoto National Wildlife Refuge Website
Boyer Chute National Wildlife Refuge Website
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Lewis and Clark NHT Visitor Centers and Museums

Visitor Centers and Museums along the Lewis and Clark National Historic Trail