CORONAVIRUS (COVID-19) NOTICE
During the current public health emergency, whenever possible, outdoor recreation sites at national wildlife refuges and national fish hatcheries will remain open to the public. Visitor Centers and other facilities, however, may be closed. Scheduled events may be cancelled. Please follow public health guidelines and avoid congregating. For more information on Balcones Canyonland National Wildlife Refuge, click on the following: Balcones Canyonlands NWR Status
The Friends of Balcones Canyonlands group is beginning to schedule some activities again. Please check back often to get the latest information on scheduled activities.
Balcones Canyonlands National Wildlife Refuge is a jewel of the Texas Hill Country. With 290 bird species and nearly 700 species of plants, the refuge is home to an incredible diversity of plant and animal life. Originally established for the protection of two endangered species, the golden-cheeked warbler and the now delisted black-capped vireo, the refuge manages wildlands that are critical to the nesting of these birds.
People need wild places too! The Balcones Canyonlands National Wildlife Refuge staff and volunteers do more than manage habitat for the warbler and vireo, they also offer a variety of recreational opportunities year round for the public. With four public use areas and over 9 miles of trails, the refuge staff hope the community uses their public lands to connect with nature. Refuge volunteers teach hands on science lessons to about 2,500 school children each year at Doeskin Ranch. Be sure to mark your calendar each fall for the annual National Wildlife Refuge Round Up, a festival with dozens on hands-on activities for children designed to encourage outdoor recreation.
In 2017 the Refuge, along with its partners, began a new research study where staff outfitted 100 Golden-cheeked warblers with geolocators in order to study their migration patterns. Each year the biology team tries to recapture those birds to retrieve the data. Currently the Refuge is partnering with others to insure the water quality of the Cow Creek watershed. The Balcones Canyonlands National Wildlife Refuge Fire Crew is the only Type 2 Wildland Fire Module in the US Fish and Wildlife Service. They play an important role in prescribed fire management of Balcones Canyonlands and other National Wildlife Refuges in Texas and Louisiana. They are sometimes called upon to help with wildfire suppression in the western United States.