Muleshoe wildlife refuge a well-kept secret

MULESHOE, TX (KCBD) - Nineteen miles outside of Muleshoe, a well-kept secret sits peacefully and virtually untouched for hundreds of years.

During the Great Depression, the Muleshoe National Wildlife Refuge was established to help preserve nature native to the area. This refuge is the first Wildlife Refuge created in the state of Texas over 77 years ago. The buildings were built by men working as part of the Workers Progress Administration under President FDR. Those building from 1935 are still used on the refuge.

"We try and keep this to look like what it would have looked like 500 years ago," said Wildlife Refuge manager Jude Smith.

Smith has worked for the Refuge for ten years and knows the importance of preservation. The site is a temporary home to more than 80,000 Sandhill Cranes during the winter, among other native birds, and wildlife.

"Starting in October we get calls from all over the world, Australia, Switzerland, and they want to come out and see big concentrations of birds,"said Smith.

The Wildlife Refuge is open for camping and hiking while providing one of the most unaltered terrains, not only in the state, but in the country.

"This area has remained fairly balanced through time, so you're looking at one of the last wild places in this part of the world where you can see native animals like Sandhill Cranes," said Smith.

As this remote refuge remains tucked away, Smith claims its preservation is what makes this place one of a kind and would like to see its original buildings open for tourism.

"A lot of the buildings in this place were built in 1935 through the Works Progress Administration... I would really like to open this building to the public so they can see what these men in the depression did."

Copyright 2012 KCBD. All rights reserved.