About the Friends of Hart Mountain NAR
The Friends of Hart Mountain National Antelope Refuge is a nonprofit, independent, volunteer-managed group whose mission is to support the goals and purposes for which the refuge was established and enhance the refuge's value to local communities.
Photo copyright 2006 by William L. Sullivan, author of "100 Hikes/Travel Guide: Eastern Oregon." Used by permission.
About Hart Mountain National Antelope Refuge (NAR)
If you like isolation, you will like Hart Mountain NAR. It is especially liked by pronghorn antelope, bighorn sheep, mule deer, and sage grouse, the four major wildlife inhabitants of this sprawling refuge. Hart Mountain National Antelope Refuge was established in 1936 to provide range for remnant pronghorn antelope herds. Most of the Hart Mountain Refuge was made up of public land withdrawn from other use by virtue of the Executive Order and of private land purchases. Hart Mountain NAR is a 280,311 acre (438 square miles) piece of the high desert in southeastern Oregon. It sits on top of a ridge that rises an abrupt 3000 feet on its western side and then slopes gently eastward. With a 65-mile drive to Lakeview, Oregon, the closest major town, the Refuge is, nevertheless, a destination point for thousands of visitors each year.
Hart Mountain NAR is managed by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service. The purpose of the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service is to conserve, protect and enhance fish, wildlife and plants and their habitats through education, research, habitat preservation and restoration. Refuge management practices have since been broadened to include conservation of all wildlife and native plant species characteristic of this high-desert habitat.
Looming high above the surrounding rangelands, Hart Mountain is a massive fault block ridge that rises to an elevation of 8,065 feet. The west side ascends abruptly some 3,600 feet from the floor of the Warner Valley in a series of rugged cliffs, steep slopes, and knifelike ridges. The east side of the mountain is less precipitous, descending in a series of hills and low ridges to the sagebrush-grass ranges typical of southeastern Oregon and the Great Basin. The refuge is an oasis in the desert, with water supplied by many fine springs. Combined with snow melt, these springs feed several seasonal and year-round creeks. A natural hot spring nestled against the eastern base of Warner Peak provides a soothing retreat for area visitors. Water is a valuable commodity in this dry desert landscape. Precipitation (an average of 12" annually) comes primarily as winter snow or spring rains. Temperatures vary between extreme cold in the winter and very hot, dry summer conditions. Hart Mountain's diverse landscape and habitats are alive with over 300 species of wildlife, primarily birds (239 species) and mammals (42 species). Mammals such as pronghorn, mule deer, coyotes, and rabbits are generally year-round residents of the refuge, while most birds come and go with the seasons. Hart Mountain Refuge is renowned for its upland habitat and wildlife. Pronghorn race across the low sagebrush expanses of the refuge's east side; sage grouse nest under large sagebrush bushes in the heart of the refuge; mule deer roam the mountain mahogany and bitterbrush habitats found at higher elevations; and bighorn sheep nimbly scale the rocky cliffs of the refuge's west face. Other important areas on the refuge for wildlife include shallow playa lakes, grassy meadows watered by springs, riparian areas along streamsides, aspen stands, and secluded pine groves. Habitats closely associated with water support the greatest richness of wildlife species.
Where is Hart Mountain
From Lakeview, where Hart-Sheldon Complex Office is located at a new facility at: 20995 Rabbit Hill Road, Lakeview, OR 97630, take US Highway 395 North about from Lakeview about 5 miles. Turn right on Oregon State Highway 140 and go east 15 miles, then turn left at the sign to the Refuge. Go 19 miles to Plush and continue through Plush about 1 mile then turn right at Hart Mountian Road. Follow the Hart Mountain Road to the Refuge Headquarters (The view of Warner Valley on the road up the mountain escarpment is quite dramatic).
From Malheur National Wildlife Refuge (NWR), go south on Oregon State Highway 205 through Frenchglen, and continue another 10 miles, then turn west (right) at the sign to the Refuge and travel 36 miles to the Refuge Headquarters.
For more information about road conditions contact: Hart Mountain NAR, 38782 Hart Mountain Rd, Plush, OR 97637. Phone (541) 947-2731.
There are several popular recreational activities on the Refuge including:
For more information about these activities please visit the Sheldon-Hart Mountain National Wildlife Refuge Complex site here or call the Refuge Headquarters at 541-947-2731
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