Holt Collier National Wildlife Refuge
Southeast Region
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Welcome to Holt Collier National Wildlife Refuge

Blue Heron. Credit USFWS

Blue Heron. Credit USFWS

One of two new national wildlife refuges in the Theodore Roosevelt National Wildlife Refuge Complex. In January, 2004, legislation sponsored by Senator Thad Cochran and Congressman Bennie Thompson established the Holt Collier National Wildlife Refuge. The legislation provided the following:

  • Included provisions to design and construct the Holt Collier Environmental Education and Interpretation Center at a location in the south Delta region
  • Established two new refuges: Holt Collier and Theodore Roosevelt National Wildlife Refuges
  • Changed the name of Central Mississippi Refuges Complex to Theodore Roosevelt National Wildlife Refuge Complex

The refuge is located on Holt Collier’s historic hunting grounds near Darlove, Mississippi, about 29 miles southeast of Greenville. Holt Collier National Wildlife Refuge is the first refuge named to honor an African-American. Who would have dreamed that the 1902 President Theodore Roosevelt and Holt Collier bear hunt near Onward, Mississippi would become famous and spawn the birth of the Teddy Bear?

Born a native Mississippian in 1848 to a slave family, Holt Collier led an extraordinary life. He fought in the Civil War as a Confederate soldier and later became famous throughout Texas, Mississippi, Louisiana, and Arkansas as a legendary bear hunter and sportsman. Although the Louisiana black bear is now on the endangered species list, during his lifetime black bears were plentiful. Collier died in 1936 and is buried in Greenville, Mississippi.

In addition to the 1,400 acres of refuge lands designated in Senator Cochran and Congressman Thompson’s legislation, Holt Collier National Wildlife Refuge will soon grow to 2,033 acres thanks to a donation of 633 acres of mitigation lands from the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers. This expansion was made possible by partnerships between the U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service and the Corps of Engineers, and is a good example of the Refuge System's “conservation in action” initiative.

Last updated: August 19, 2008