Important Bird Areas

Edness Kimball Wilkens State Park

Wyoming

The Edness Kimball Wilkins IBA is a state park located approximately five miles from the city limits of Casper, Wyoming. The area spans approximately one mile adjacent to the North Platte River. This site is unique qualities such as the cottonwood galleries and cottonwood bottomland/riparian habitat that migratory species prefer. The area is situated along the Oregon Trail and there has been little change to the area since it was settled, which contrasts with much of the remaining land along the North Platte River that has undergone urban development. Therefore the Park is an island of habitat within a developed area and is used extensively during spring and fall migration and supports a large number of common nesting birds.

Ornithological Summary

This site is unique qualities such as the cottonwood galleries and cottonwood bottomland/riparian habitat that migratory species prefer. The area is situated along the Oregon Trail and there has been little change to the area since it was settled, which contrasts with much of the remaining land along the North Platte River that has undergone urban development. Therefore the Park is an island of habitat within a developed area and is used extensively during spring and fall migration and supports a large number of common nesting birds.

Conservation Issues

Cow bird parasitism. High recreational use of the area.

Ownership

Edness Kimball Wilkens State Park is located approximately six miles east of Casper, abd 44 miles west of Douglas,Wyoming. The area spans approximately one mile adjacent to the North Platte River. It is 100% owned and managed by the State of Wyoming. The area consists of 313 land acres and six water acres for a total of 319 acres. The area was purchased and entered the state parks system in 1981. This facility was once an abondoned rock quarry. The addition of roads, fences, parking areas, signage, vegetation, bank stabilization and wildlife habitat however made it into an attractive place for rest and recreation. Located on the Oregon and Mormon trails, EKW is a gem for birdwatchers. Nesting ponds and wildlife viewing blinds have been developed in conjunction with Wyoming Wildlife Worth the Watching Program.

Habitat

The majority of the habitat is comprised of semi-desert shrubland (53%) while lowland riparian (45%) and open water (2%) are within the site?s boundaries. The area is within the historic floodplain, and therefore is situated on level ground, in a riparian cottonwood habitat adjacent to the river. Sagebrush combined with grasslands make up the habitat a short distance away from the river, outside the floodplain area. Park features include: beach areas, a boat ramp, drinking water, a fishing pier, group picnic shelters, historic features, playground, restrooms, trails, and telephone access.

Land Use

The area is extensively used during the summer and on weekends and holidays. Management practices include:
There is a problem with dogs off leashes even though there is a $45 fine
- Heavy use in picnic area although is confined to one 5 acre area (approximately)
- Snags and slash are left in walk-in areas only
- Two good habitat ponds
- We feel charging an entry fee (daily use fee or annual daily use permit) did the most in so far as preventing habitat damage
There is a need for some more trees due to natural attrition of native cottonwoods.

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