Outdoor guide: Bitter Lake National Wildlife Refuge

Cannon Connections photo: Clarence Plank Canadian geese and sandhill cranes relax and move around Bitter Lake last October on their way south for winter.

• Location: Bitter Lake is located 10 miles northeast of Roswell in Chaves County. It is 1 hour and 33 minutes or 89 miles from Portales. It is 102 miles or 2 hours from Clovis.

• Directions: From Portales take US-70 West to Roswell for 83 miles. Turn left onto Old Clovis HWY/CR-51 and go 1.3 miles and stay straight to go onto CR-77 after 1.1 miles. Stay straight on CR-79 after .6 miles and turn left onto Cr-77/Bitter Lake Road for 1.9 miles. From Clovis take US-70 West for 102 miles to Roswell then follow the directions above.

• What do they offer: Bitter Lake is a national wildlife refuge which was established in 1937 to provide a wintering habitat for migratory birds and also plays a crucial role in the conservation of wetlands in the desert southwest. Approximately 357 species of birds have been observed, 59 mammals, over 50 reptiles and amphibians and 24 fish species. Bitter Lake has hiking, hunting, wildlife observation and photography, bicycling and guided tours.

• What to hunt? Waterfowl, sandhill crane, quail, dove, pheasant and deer.

Fishing is prohibited to protect the native fish.

• Fees: No entrance fee is required and is open year-round from morning till night. Visitor center hours are 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. Monday through Saturday.

• Information: Contact the refuge for updated hunting regulations and season dates or for guided tours at 622-6755.