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National Wildlife Refuge Week Oct. 14-20

Visit Your National Wildlife Refuges: October 14-20, 2012

Harris Neck NWR has about ninety thousand visitors each year. These young bicyclists were off to visit Woody Pond for a peak at the alligators that call the refuge home. Visitors of all ages enjoy the diversity of wildlife and scenic beauty found at Harris Neck NWR throughout the year. | Sharon Lindsay

Treat yourself with a visit to a national wildlife refuge during National Wildlife Refuge Week, from October 14-20. Celebrate America’s wildlife heritage, and see what refuges are doing to conserve it.

“National wildlife refuges play a crucial role in conserving America’s wildlife legacy,” says U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service Director Dan Ashe. “Refuges also play important roles in human communities. By providing healthy habitats for wildlife, refuges improve the air we breathe and the water we drink, improve soil quality and give protection against flooding in flood-prone areas. Jobs and businesses in local communities rely on refuges – and the visitors they attract. Refuges offer glorious and protected places to hunt, fish, hike and share the outdoors with a new generation.”

Visitors to refuges like what they find there, according to a study this year by the U.S. Geological Survey. About 90 percent of the survey’s 10,000 adult participants reported satisfaction with refuge recreation, information and education, public service and conservation. “Nowhere else do I feel such a deep sense of connection with the land, the plants, and the wildlife,” offered one respondent. “Visiting a refuge is truly a spiritual experience.”

Among the most popular activities for 45 million refuge visitors last year were wildlife viewing, bird watching, photography, hiking and auto-tour-route driving.

Since Theodore Roosevelt established the first national wildlife refuge in 1903, the National Wildlife Refuge System has become the nation’s premier habitat conservation network, encompassing 150 million acres in 556 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.

National wildlife 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.

Check the special events calendar for Refuge Week events in your community.  Follow news about the Refuge System online at:  http://www.fws.gov/refuges/

Join the NWRA conversation about wildlife refuges by ‘liking’ us on Facebook at facebook.com/RefugeAssociation.

Permanent link to this article: http://refugeassociation.org/2012/09/2012refugeweek/