Heyburn State Park encompasses the shoreline and water areas of Benewah and Chatcolet Lakes, at the southern end of Coeur d?Alene Lake in the Idaho Panhandle. The habitat consists of wetlands and mixed-conifer forest. Hiking trails, boat ramps, campgrounds, rental cabins, and picnic areas are very popular with the public.
A Great Blue Heron rookery with 35-50 pairs of breeding herons can be found at Heyburn State Park. During the summer, Osprey, Wood Ducks, and Canada Geese use artificial nest structures, which have been monitored for 10-25 years. Red-necked grebes and Soras nest here as well. At least 5,000-10,000 waterfowl use this site as a staging area from October to freeze-up. Most abundant species are American Wigeon, Mallards, and Canada Geese. There have been several records of vagrant birds here including Eurasian Wigeon, Swamp Sparrow, White-throated Sparrow, Bewick?s Wren, Greater Scaup, and even a record of an Ancient Murrelet.
Western White Pine within the park, particularly old growth, have been affected by an introduced white pine blister rust. In addition, recreational power boating in summer, and waterfowl hunting in fall, results in months of constant disruption of waterbird activities. Prescribed burning has been proposed to maintain Ponderosa Pine, and the University of Idaho is drafting a Natural Resource Management Plan for the park.
Heyburn State Park is heavily influenced by the maritime climate, receiving 35? of precipitation annually. The predominant habitat types are marshes, lakes, and cedar and hemlock forest. Other secondary habitats include Douglas Fir, Ponderosa Pine, riparian habitat, cliffs and rocky outcrops.
Heyburn is a very popular state park. It is used by local schools for a ?Wonder of Wetlands? program, and the University of Idaho ornithology class makes regular visits.