|Service Director Dan Ashe and U.S. Congressman James Langevin of Rhode Island at the Providence Parks Urban Wildlife Refuge Partnership designation. Credit: USFWS|
Happy National Wildlife Refuge Week! I'm a waterfowl hunter, so Refuge Week always sneaks up when I'm preparing (or at least thinking about preparing to prepare) for a new season, and crisp mornings and fresh hope for memorable days afield. As I think about the refuge system of today, I see the refuge system of yesterday and it is truly inspirational how far we have come. I've had the blessings to visit many refuges this past year, and those visits confirmed my confidence that we've come far. Sure, we have challenges. Land management is a challenging proposition. But we do it with a particular pride and professionalism, and it shows.
Last December, I had the distinct honor to visit Palmyra Atoll NWR. Up close and personal with sharks, manta rays, melon-headed whales, coconut crabs, and thousands-upon-thousands of boobies and petrels. Here in this remote corner of the world, our work was evident. Rats gone, and coral-killing shipwrecks being removed, we were making paradise even better. And the year is capped as President Obama expanded the Pacific Remote Islands Marine National Monument to become the world's largest fully protected marine conservation unit.