Explore your world. Visit a national wildlife refuge during National Wildlife Refuge Week (October 13-19). See what refuges are doing to conserve your wildlife heritage.
Even if you’ve never been to a refuge before, refuges enrich your life.
These precious places help protect wildlife, generate jobs, clean our air and water, reduce flooding, teach children about nature and offer protected places to fish and hike and be outdoors.
“From the Everglades in Florida to the wilderness of northern Alaska, our national wildlife refuges include many of America’s most treasured landscapes,” said Secretary of the Interior Sally Jewell. “National Wildlife Refuge Week is a great time to discover these untamed lands: to hike, to fish, to kayak, or to simply enjoy wild places and wild creatures.
I encourage all Americans to visit a refuge in their state, especially those with children who have an opportunity to open up young eyes and hearts to the wonders of the great outdoors.”
This year’s Refuge Week celebrations share a wilderness theme as refuges look ahead to the 50th anniversary of the Wilderness Act in 2014. The 1964 law created the National Wilderness Preservation System, which protects nearly 110 million acres of wilderness nationwide. Twenty million of those acres are on refuge land. Wilderness is wild land – largely undeveloped and unmanaged – that can offer outstanding opportunities for solitude, wildlife observation and non-motorized recreation.
“With the establishment of Pelican Island in 1903 by Theodore Roosevelt – the first national wildlife refuge – the simple promise of wildlife protection was born,” said Service Director Dan Ashe. “It is my hope that citizens across the country will take advantage of this weeklong celebration to experience wildlife in their natural habitats, and play a firsthand role in conservation by participating in special events and programs.”
More than 45 million people visit a refuge each year, with refuge visitors reporting high satisfaction, found a 2012 study by the U.S. Geological Survey. “Nowhere else do I feel such a deep sense of connection with the land, the plants, and the wildlife,” offered one respondent.
The National Wildlife Refuge System has become the nation’s premier habitat conservation network, encompassing more than 150 million acres in 561 refuges and 38 wetland management districts. Every state has at least one national wildlife refuge. There is a national wildlife refuge within an hour’s drive of most major cities.
Refuges also offer world-class recreation, from fishing, hunting and wildlife observation along 2,500 miles of land and water trails to photography and environmental education.
*National Wildlife Refuge Week Highlights
Check the special events calendar for Refuge Week events.
Logo courtesy U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service