Mortenson Lake National Wildlife Refuge
Mortenson Lake National Wildlife Refuge is located at 7,256' in elevation in the southern highlands of Albany County. The property contains 1,776 acres with several small alpine lakes, Mortenson Lake being the largest of the lakes. Mortenson Lake was established as a National Wildlife Refuge in 1993 after the discovery of a small local population of the Wyoming toad, an endangered species that had previously been believed to be extinct. Immediately, a program was set in place to help the Wyoming toad recover. Mortenson Lake and George Lake (at Hutton Lake NWR) are used as captive breeding and release sites to aid in increasing and stabilizing the remaining population of a species that only occurs in the Laramie Plains region of southeastern Wyoming. The Refuge is also a haven for migrating birds and other esident wildlife.
Management of Mortenson Lake NWR centers around species recovery of the toads and maintenance of a healthy habitat for them. Grazing has been allowed because it helps to maintain an open area along the shoreline of the lake, a requirement of the species. Grazing is allowed on the rest of the refuge also because it promotes habitat health for migrating birds and other resident wildlife. Water management consists water level maintenance in the small wetlands on the eastern part of the refuge and grassland irrigation. The Wyoming toad captive breeding efforts at Mortenson Lake have seen fluctuating success over the years since releases of the toad back into Mortenson Lake began back in 1995.
Because of the Wyoming toad recovery program, Mortenson Lake National Wildlife Refuge is closed to public access. Mortenson Lake NWR is administered out of the Arapaho National Wildlife Refuge office in Walden, Colorado.
Mortenson Lake National Wildlife Refuge map
Mortenson Lake National Wildlife Refuge area map
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