Visitor Services and Construction

Family birdwatching at Baskett Slough National Wildlife Refuge in Oregon
Family birdwatching at Baskett Slough National Wildlife Refuge in Oregon | USFWS

Located in every U.S. state and territory, and within an hour’s drive of nearly every major U.S. city, national wildlife refuges provide incredible opportunities for outdoor recreation. Refuges are often prime locations for hunting, fishing, birding, boating and photographing nature.

Refuges are some of America’s most important outdoor classrooms. Each year, approximately 750,000 students and teachers participate in formal environmental education programs sponsored by refuges across the nation.

To accommodate millions of visitors each year and to engage an increasingly diverse America, the Refuge System needs adequate funding to provide visitor services such as naturalists and interpretive specialists, and a construction budget that keeps refuges safe for visitors and teeming with native plants and animals.

What NWRA is Doing…

In 2009, NWRA helped get the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service a total of $290 million in the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act (ARRA). Of this amount, $201 million went directly to the Refuge System, and $10 million went indirectly through the Department of Transportation for roads on refuges.  The funds resulted in new visitor centers, numerous habitat restoration projects and updated roads and trails. Learn more about specific ARRA projects by the FWS.

Every year NWRA advocates for robust visitor services and construction accounts. Among other important priorities, these funds help ensure the continuation of programs for volunteers, who do approximately 20 percent of the work on refuges. And construction dollars translate into local jobs, habitat restoration, energy efficiency and enhanced public outreach capacity.

Permanent link to this article: http://refugeassociation.org/advocacy/funding/refuge-system/visitor-services/