Sonny Bono Salton Sea National Wildlife Refuge & Visitor Center

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The Sonny Bono Salton Sea National Wildlife Refuge is managed as part of the Sonny Bono Salton Sea National Wildlife Refuge Complex. A National Wildlife Refuge Complex is an administrative grouping of two or more refuges, wildlife management areas or other refuge conservation areas that are primarily managed from a central office location.  Refuges are grouped into a complex structure because they occur in a similar ecological region, such as a watershed or specific habitat type, and have a related purpose and management needs.  Typically, a project leader or complex manager oversees the general management of all refuges within the complex and refuge managers are responsible for operations at specific refuges. Supporting staff, composed of administrative, law enforcement, refuge manager, biological, fire, visitor services, and maintenance professionals, are centrally located and support all refuges within the complex.

Visitor Center

Your first stop on any visit to the Refuge should be at the Visitor Center, located at the junction of Sinclair and Gentry Roads.  The Center is surrounded by native vegetation, agricultural fields, river and wetland habitats, and the Salton Sea.  Inside, you can pick up brochures and other information packets, as well as explore a bird diorama and shop in the bookstore.  Proceeds from the sale of book and other educational items benefit the Refuge's educational programs. 

Outside, a self guided trail will take you out to the Sea and introduce you to the habitats found in desert and wetland ecosystems.  There is also an observation tower and picnic area located near the main parking lot.  The Visitor Center is open Monday through Friday from 7:00 A.M. to 3:15 P.M. year round.  From October to February, the Visitor Center is also open on weekends from 8:00 A.M. to 4:15 P.M.  The Visitor Center is closed on all natioanl holidays. 

The other refuge in the Sonny Bono Salton Sea National Wildlife Refuge Complex includes:  Coachella Valley National Wildlife Refuge. The Refuge Complex headquarters is located at 906 West Sinclair Rd.  Calipatria, Ca. 92233.