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UL Bend National Wildlife Refuge

UL Bend National Wildlife Refuge
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General Information

Description - Three sides of the refuge are adjoined by the Charles M. Russell National Wildlife Refuge. The north boundary is bounded by public domain and private lands.

Fort Peck Reservoir surrounds the southern half of the area. These impounded waters of the Missouri River provide an ecological barrier for wildlife associated with land. Although the water level fluctuates seasonally, the elevation at full pool is 2,250 feet above sea level. Lands above this level were included in the wilderness study.

The refuge provides nesting, resting, and feeding habitat for ducks, geese, swans, and other migratory birds.

Location - UL Bend NWR is located in Phillips County, MT.

Current Conditions & Trip Reports

Trip Reports:
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Filed By: Bill Fitzgerald (Billings,, MT)
Number of People Encountered: 0-10 ppl
Recommend to a Friend: Neutral
Report: On 9/5/02 I traveled to the only road contact with the UL Bend wilderness area. This road approaches from the north, and comes through the C.M. Russel Wildlife Refuge. The other sides of the U L Bend are surrounded by the Fort Peck Lake. This whole area is part of the extensive Missouri breaks, which contains the highly eroded prarie land along both sides of the Missouri from Fort Peck to Fort Benton Montana (a distance of several hundred miles). The road to the UL bend became fainter and fainter, being just two very light tracks over the prarie at the end though marked by posts and by road numbers designated by the BLM. The roads are shown on maps put out by the BLM for the C.M. Russel Wildlife Refuge, or they are shown on high resolution atlas maps. The road to the UL Bend leaves pavement from several different points to the west, north and east, and by any approach route passes over some 60 miles or so of gravel and dirt roads forking off all the time. A good atlas is essential. Try the DeLorme Atlas for Montana. The terrain is short grass prarie or eroded breaks. The road ended in a dry lake bed, which was a small internally draining basin, just north of the Wilderness area. The lake bed sirface was cracked mud, covered by a lot of noxious weeds. In any form of wet weather this road would be impassable. This is not a scenic way to reach the U L Bend. It appears that an easier approach route would be to come along the lake in a boat and then visit the Bend area from the shore. Where the road ends you are still some miles from the bend itself. At this point none of the reservoir is visible. A longish hot walk or bike ride is ahead of you to get out on the bend itself The terraine would be broken short grass prarie. I think this road would not be passable in winter as snow drifts would make it difficult. I went to this area because no one else I knew had ever been to this point or even near it. Although many parts of the breaks are pretty, this is not one of them. The breaks are approachable only in dry weather, because the clay/shale formation over which the roads pass have a lot of bentonite content, which gets first slick-greasy when it rains, then adheres to wheels in clump, making it impassable to travel when wet. If you get rained on in the breaks you should be ready to stop and wait till the road drys. Because of this condition the breaks were never settled up and remain a remote section in a remote state. As to suggestions for lunch, you should bring your own, since you wont have passed a commercial store for the last 60 miles or so, and few ranches, and you probably won't have seen a car for miles and miles. I drove this in a high clearance two wheel drive pickup camper, but I stress that the roads and weather were dry. As to my suggestions for the next guy, you should go only if you like to get to some very remote place and look around and say, 'Yup, I made it here.'

More Information

Contact Information:
UL Bend NWR, P.O. Box 110 , Lewistown, MT, 59457, Phone: 406-538-8706
, r6rw_cmr@fws.gov

Additional Information:
Montana National Wildlife Refuges -


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