Market Lake WMA supports a diverse array of wildlife species. WMA staff recently recorded 19,000 visitors per year on the WMA for hunting, wildlife watching, tour groups and other recreation. Waterfowl hunters use the WMA every day during the waterfowl season until the marshes freeze up. A wildlife viewing blind is popular with wildlife watchers, who make up the largest group of visitors to enjoy the trails and waterways of the WMA.
Market Lake was once a 12-square mile flood plain. Vast flocks of migrating waterfowl attracted “market” hunters who harvested the birds and gave the area its name. A small portion of the original lake is now the Market Lake WMA.
The main purpose of Market Lake WMA is stopover habitat for migrating waterfowl and shorebirds. In addition to migration many species nest on the WMA. Trumpeter swans nest in the marshes and food plots support many during the winter. The WMA also provides habitat for 250 wildlife species, from small mammals to moose.
The original Market Lake was a large flood plain adjacent to the Snake River. Only 30 acres of the original wetlands remained in 1956 when federal dollars from the Pittman-Robertson Act were used to purchase the first parcel and establish the Market Lake WMA. Over the years, additional purchases has helped restore nearly 20% of the original flood plain to waterfowl habitat.