The wetlands at Ball Creek Preserve provide a refuge for wildlife
Wetlands at Ball Creek The wetlands at Ball Creek Preserve provide a refuge for wildlife © The Nature Conservancy (Megan Grover-Cereda)

Places We Protect

Ball Creek Preserve


Wetlands provide a refuge for waterfowl—and a place for you to enjoy the beauty of the North Idaho.

"Build it and they will come."

In 2002, The Nature Conservancy began a 500-acre restoration project on Ball Creek  Preserve, a 2300-acre nature preserve located 12 miles north of Bonners Ferry.

The wetland project aimed to restore habitat that had been missing from the Kootenai River Valley for decades, part of an effort to provide more habitat for ducks, geese and other wildlife throughout this special area.

The Conservancy balances the wetlands with a working farm that operates on two-thirds of the preserve.

In addition, the Conservancy has a 350-acre conservation easement on adjacent timberland owned by the Molpus Woodlands Group.  

When the wetland was first constructed, the Conservancy's Steve Grourke remarked, "Build it and they will come." It did not take long for his prediction to become reality. In the fall, flocks of ducks and geese flock to the preserve before continuing their migration. Dozens of other bird species have been spotted on the preserve and nearby Kootenai National Wildlife Refuge. Visitors should keep an eye out for moose, elk, otter, beaver, bald eagle and even black bear.

We hope you can visit our beautiful wetlands soon.

Enjoy bird and wildlife watching, hiking, canoeing and kayaking, fly-fishing, snowshoeing and cross-country skiing at Ball Creek from sunrise to sunset year-round.

Special notes:

  • Dogs and horses are allowed. This is habitat for sensitive wildlife. Please keep dogs under close control and at a safe distance from wildlife to prevent conflicts.
  • Motorized vehicles are not permitted. 
  • Bird hunting is permitted on Wednesdays, Saturdays and Sundays during the season.

Facilities: There are no public restroom facilities on-site.

For the latest on access, please contact Kennon McClintock, North Idaho watershed manager, at (208) 267-8999 or