Located just south of Salem, Ankeny National Wildlife Refuge is one of three refuges that make up the Willamette Valley National Wildlife Refuge Complex. Along with William L. Finley and Baskett Slough (the other two refuges in the complex), Ankeny NWR was specifically created during the 1960s to restore and create dedicated wintering habitat for the dusky subspecies of Canada geese, which unlike other Canada geese have very limited ranges: the geese call the Copper River Delta in Alaska home during the summer, and they nest in Oregon's Willamette Valley during the winter months.
The 2,865 acres of land that constitutes Ankeny NWR consists of an ash tree riparian forest, shallow seasonal wetlands, and uniquely, 1,765 acres of cropland. A key success of the Willamette Valley NWR Complex, the three refuges were set up with an integrated cooperative farming program in which the planting of high protein grasses favored by the dusky Canada geese are located adjacent to critical wetlands.
Around the perimeter of the refuge, viewing areas and blinds (viewing shelters) are accessible directly off of the road, and the primary viewing areas are located off of Ankeny Hill Road, Buena Vista Road, and Wintel Road.
Off of Wintel Road on the southern end of the refuge, the Rail Trail hiking loop meanders 2 miles around Wood Duck Pond through a forest of Oregon ash trees on over a half mile of well-maintained boardwalk and gravel road. Here, bird watchers and nature lovers will enjoy viewing dusky Canada geese, great blue herons, red-winged blackbirds, American coot, and northern shovelers.
Note: Dogs are not permitted, and some trails are closed from September 30 through April 1 during the nesting season.