Ankeny NWR can be found off of Interstate 5, 12 miles south of Salem, Oregon or 10 miles north of Albany, Oregon; take the Ankeny Hill Exit (243). The refuge is bordered by Ankeny Hill Road, Buena Vista Road, and Wintel Road to the north, west and south respectively, and visitors can access refuge trails and/or viewing areas from each. Parking is allowed in designated parking areas only.
Oregon’s Willamette Valley was once a rich mix of wildlife habitats. Valley wetlands were once extensive, with meandering stream channels and vast seasonal marshes. Today, the valley is a mix of farmland and growing cities, with few areas remaining for wildlife. Ankeny Refuge was created to provide vital wintering habitat for Dusky Canada Geese. Unlike most other Canada geese, Duskies have limited summer and winter ranges. They nest on Alaska’s Copper River Delta and winter almost exclusively in the Willamette Valley. Habitat loss, predation, and hunting caused a decrease in their population. Ankeny Refuge contains about 2,800 acres of flat to gently rolling land near the confluence of the Willamette and Santiam rivers south of Salem, Oregon. The refuge’s fertile farmed fields, hedgerows, forests, and wetlands provide a variety of wildlife habitats. The refuge is open to limited opportunities for wildlife-oriented education and recreation. Ducks, geese, swans, shorebirds, and bald eagles are common in the fall and winter. Other resident birds, like the northern saw-whet owl, attract area bird watchers.