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Bitter Lake NWR is pet friendly.  Dogs are allowed as long as they are kept on a leash.

Located where the Chihuahuan Desert meets the Southern Plains, Bitter Lake National Wildlife Refuge is one of the more biologically significant wetland areas of the Pecos River watershed system.  Established in 1937 to provide wintering habitat for migratory birds, the Refuge plays a crucial role in the conservation of wetlands in the desert Southwest.

Straddling the Pecos River, Bitter Lake NWR is truly a jewel, a wetland oasis inhabitated by a diverse abundance of wildlife species.  The Refuge protects and provides habitat for some of New Mexico’s most rare and unusual creatures such as the Least Shrew, Noel’s Amphipod, Least Tern and Roswell Spring Snail.

In April 2010, the international community recognized over 2,000 acres located on Bitter Lake National Wildlife Refuge and its close neighbor, Bottomless Lakes State Park, as a “Wetland of International Importance” under Ramsar – a treaty that promotes wetland conservation throughout the world.  Designated the “Roswell Area Wetlands,” these wetlands are the first Ramsar site in New Mexico, the second Ramsar site in the entire Chihuahuan Desert ecoregion, and one of a handful of Ramsar sites in the interior west.  A portion of the wetlands is also an Audubon Important Bird Area, which provides essential breeding and migrating habitat for birds.  The Roswell Artesian Wetlands received international recognition because of the unique brackish sinkholes that are fed by artesian groundwater.  The wetlands support more than 20,000 individuals of waterfowl, cranes, rallids, wading birds, shorebirds, gulls and terns during winter months and are home to 24 native species of fish and over 100 species of dragonflies and damselflies.  Fifteen rare species also occur within the wetlands including the Pecos Pupfish, the Pecos Puzzle Sunflower and the Roswell Springsnail.  Every year the Bitter Lake National Wildlife Refuge celebrates the areas’ diversity of life during its Dragonfly Festival.

There is no entrance fee and tours are held periodically free of charge.

We also have a Nature Store and gift shop in the Joseph R. Skeen Visitors Center.
Visitors Center hours are Monday-Saturday from 8 a.m. until 4 p.m.

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