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  Saturday, October 21, 2017
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Hart Mountain National Antelope Refuge

Hart Mountain National Antelope Refuge was established in 1936 to provide range for remnant pronghorn antelope herds. 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 Refuge 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, watered by many fine springs. Combined with snow melt, these springs feed many 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, 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.

Hart Mountain National Antelope Refuge is located 65 miles northeast of Lakeview, Oregon, off of Highway 140. Most refuge roads are not maintained for passenger vehicles. High clearance and four-wheel drive are needed to travel off the Frenchglen, Blue Sky, or Hotsprings roads. Small amounts of precipitation can make very muddy roads. During the winter and spring, most roads are impassable due to snow or wet conditions. Please avoid driving on muddy roads for your own safety and the protection of fragile resources. Emergency services and roadside assistance are not readily available. The refuge staff is not able to provide or sell gas, towing, or auto repair service.

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