Buffalo At Neighbor Farm Instead of
Buffalo Lake National Wildlife Refuge

Thursday, September 7, 2006

To see all of the pictures taken at Buffalo Lake National Wildlife Refuge, click here.

Buffalo Lake National Wildlife Refuge is three miles South of Umbarger, Texas on F.M. 168. Umbarger is roughly ten miles West of Canyon, Texas. Canyon, Texas is roughly 15 miles south of Amarillo. Before the area was settled by Europeans, natural springs provided water for wildlife. Buffalo roamed this prairie. A series of ecological disasters caused in part by farming, the dust bowl, the construction of a dam, and declining Ogallala Aquifer water tables have changed the landscape. Today the land is recovering. Wildlife is returning. The buffalo are in the neighborhood but haven't returned to the refuge.

The refuge is an excellent place to picnic. We had our picnic in a campsite. The automatic gate at the entrance is far to narrow for our trailer to pass through. This seemed odd to us given the campsites are sized to accomodate RV's. There are no hookups for RV's. Potable water is available. In addition, there is some confusion on whether or not camping is permitted. The official website says no overnight camping. The refuge has both individual and group camping areas. At the entrance, there is a fee structure for camping and posted rules for camping. Might want to check with the wildlife refuge manager if you are interested in camping there.

This 7,677 acre refuge provides seasonal opportunities for viewing wildlife. Migratory birds, turkey, quail, birds of prey, deer, prairie dogs, bobcats, coyotes, rabbits, and more. We saw turkey, deer, and pigeons. Deer and pigeons are so common. Can they be called wildlife? We were at the refuge at midday, arguably the worst time of day for wildlife viewing. The first week of September may not be the best time of year either.

The tree shaded campsites (picnic sites) are clean, bright, and airy. There is hardly any litter in the wildlife refuge. It looks clean. Even the dust on the gravel roads seemed clean.

I wanted some sense of what the native prairie looked, felt, smelled like. I still don't know. Could this be the prairie?.

Other places to see in this area are Palo Duro Canyon State Park and Panhandle-Plains Historical Museum.

Copyright © 2006 Larry Pearson - All Rights Reserved