William L. Finley National Wildlife Refuge, along with Basket Slough and Ankeny National Wildlife Refuge, is part of the Willamette Valley National Wildlife Refuge Complex. The primary goal of these refuges is to provide winter habitat for dusky Canada geese that winter almost exclusively in the Willamette Valley. To this end, much of William L. Finley National Wildlife Refuge is wetland marsh habitat. Seed crops are also planted to provide food for the hundreds of thousands of geese and other waterfowl that make this area their home in the winter.
In addition to the wetlands and fields, William L. Finley encompasses riparian areas along Muddy Creek, mixed deciduous forest, and upland oak savannahs. These areas offer habitat for many other bird and animal species, including a resident herd of Roosevelt elk.
There are 12 miles of trails within the refuge, though many are closed in the winter to provide protection to the over-wintering waterfowl. The auto tour route is open year round and offers numerous vistas with pull outs.
Eight historic buildings are scattered across the refuge, including Fiechter House, which is thought to be one of the oldest buildings in Benton County.
William L. Finley National Wildlife Refuge offers abundant opportunities for viewing and photographing wildlife in a number of widely varied habitats. There is also a black-tailed deer hunt in the refuge every year.