Throughout time, this sheltered valley known as Browns Park has been and remains a place for wildlife and people. The Refuge was established in 1965 by Public Land Order to provide sanctuary for migratory birds, conserve endangered and threatened species, and offer wildlife-dependent recreational opportunities. Wildlife, solitude, scenic beauty, and cultural history combine to make the Refuge a national treasure. (USFWS Overview)
The refuge’s visible history is only its most recent; prehistoric people lived here as far back as 10,000 years ago. Agriculture took hold approximately 3,500 years ago and included corn.
This particular route is a short historic loop, starting at the old Lodore School, passing by the ruins of Two Bar Ranch, and takes a nature walk along the river on the return.
While here, be sure to check out other parts of Browns Park NWR for fishing, camping, wildlife viewing, hunting, an auto tour, and more. Hiking is allowed throughout the refuge, so feel free to get out there and explore (at a distance from wildlife, of course)!
Browns Park National Wildlife Refuge in Colorado preserves the Lodore School building. The school was built in 1910, and class sessions were held there from 1911 to 1947. Although its original purpose was to educate ranch children, the building quickly became a center of the local community in northwestern Colorado, southwestern Wyoming and eastern Utah. It has hosted dances, school plays, funerals and parties for various occasions. The Lodore School was placed on the National Register of Historic Places in 1975.
Remains of this 1887 homestead stand in Browns Park National Wildlife Refuge in Colorado. In the early 20th century, ranch owner Ora Haley was believed to have secretly hired outlaw Tom Horn to stop cattle rustling in the area. Steve McQueen starred in a 1980 movie about the matter.