Kofa National Wildlife Refuge is located in southwestern Arizona between the city of Yuma and the town of Quartzsite in La Paz and Yuma counties. Shortly after the United States entered World War II, 4 million acres of public land was acquired by the Department of the Army from the Department of the Interior in the state of Arizona. The land became the Laguna Maneuver Area portion of the California-Arizona Maneuver Area.
From 1942 to 1944, the California-Arizona Maneuver Area was used for training infantry and mechanized units to live and fight in the desert; test and develop suitable equipment; and develop tactical doctrine, techniques, and training methods for desert warfare. The 13-week training program at the California-Arizona Maneuver Area familiarized soldiers with weapons such as small arms, mortars, grenades, artillery, rockets, booby traps and land mines.
The Kofa National Wildlife Refuge, comprising 668,161 acres of land, was located within the Laguna Maneuver Area portion of the California-Arizona Maneuver Area. When the California-Arizona Maneuver Area was declared surplus in 1944, most of the land was returned to the Department of the Interior including Kofa National Wildlife Refuge.
Today, the property is managed by the U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service as the Kofa National Wildlife Refuge. According to the U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service website, more than 80 percent of the refuge is designated as wilderness. It offers visitors the opportunity to enjoy wildlife watching, photography, hiking, camping and limited hunting.
The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers began investigating the Kofa National Wildlife Refuge in 1993 through the Formerly Used Defense Sites, or FUDS, Program. Since that time the Corps of Engineers has been investigating the property for munitions that may remain from previous military training activities. The Kofa National Wildlife Refuge FUDS property has been divided into eight projects. This website provides information on the following projects: Restricted Areas, Castle Dome Mountain Ordnance Area, King Valley Impact Area, Maneuver Area/Vehicular Access, Hidden Valley Practice Landmine Area, Southeastern Impact Area, McPherson Pass Practice Landmine Area and Maneuver Area/Small Arms.