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The Mountain-Prairie Region

NEWS RELEASE

U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service
134 Union Boulevard
Lakewood, Colorado 80228

 

Seedskadee National Wildlife Refuge
PO Box 700
Green River, WY 82935

Contact: Carol Damberg (307) 875-2187 ext. 12
March 15, 2004

SEEDSKADEE NATIONAL WILDLIFE REFUGE
TO MAKE CHANGES TO ROAD SYSTEM

Beginning in April, Seedskadee National Wildlife Refuge (NWR) will make changes to the designated Refuge road system. Some roads which were formerly open to vehicle travel will be seasonally or permanently closed and other roads that were formerly closed will be re-opened.

These changes to the Refuge road system are the result of a long term public planning process that concluded in April 2003 with the publication of the Seedskadee NWR Comprehensive Conservation Plan (CCP). The new Refuge road system is designed to maintain reasonable vehicle access while reducing damage to sensitive vegetation types, decreasing habitat fragmentation, reducing road safety concerns, providing a greater diversity of visitor experiences, and decreasing disturbance to wildlife.

The April 2003 CCP and its supporting documents outline a 10-15 year vision for the future management of the Refuge. The management of public access onto and through Refuge lands was one of the many issues addressed in the CCP. The plan is available for download or viewing on the Service’s website at: http://mountain-prairie.fws.gov/planning/ States/Wyoming /wyoming.htm.

Approximately 50 miles of road will remain open for vehicle travel after the new road system is implemented. Overall, there will be a net reduction of 7.5 miles of roads open to vehicle travel compared to the previous road layout. An additional 5.5 miles of road will be seasonally closed between November 15 and March 15. The seasonal road closure, located along the east side of the Green River and north of Highway 28, was established to provide a low disturbance zone and winter resting area for wildlife. All Refuge lands remain open to foot travel unless posted closed to protect sensitive wildlife or for safety purposes. The only area currently posted closed to foot travel is the Hawley Wetland Unit, which is closed between May and December to reduce disturbance to nesting and migrating water birds.

To make the transition to the new road system as easy as possible the Refuge will install new signs, gates, and establish additional parking areas. A new travel and information brochure, which contains the new Refuge road map, will also be available at the Refuge headquarters and at most Refuge entrances. Final on the ground changes to the Refuge road network should be completed by May 30. The Refuge staff encourages all visitors to pick up a new brochure and familiarize themselves with the new road system.

To inform the public about the new Refuge road system, Seedskadee NWR staff will host two informational open houses at which the public can learn more about changes in the road system by viewing road maps and talking with Refuge staff. The first informational open house will be Wednesday March 24, 2004 at the Green River Library from 6:30 p.m. to 9:00 p.m. The second open house will be Saturday March 27, 2004 at the Seedskadee NWR Headquarters from Noon to 3:00 p.m. If you have questions about the changes but cannot attend either of the open houses, please contact the Refuge during normal business hours (Monday-Friday 7:30 a.m.- 5:00 p.m.).

The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service is the principal Federal agency responsible for conserving, protecting and enhancing fish, wildlife and plants and their habitats for the continuing benefit of the American people. The Service manages the 95-million-acre National Wildlife Refuge System which encompasses nearly 540 national wildlife refuges, thousands of small wetlands and other special management areas. It also operates 70 national fish hatcheries, 64 fishery resource offices and 78 ecological services field stations. The agency enforces Federal wildlife laws, administers the Endangered Species Act, manages migratory bird populations, restores nationally significant fisheries, conserves and restores wildlife habitat such as wetlands, and helps foreign governments with their conservation efforts. It also oversees the Federal Aid program that distributes hundreds of millions of dollars in excise taxes on fishing and hunting equipment to state fish and wildlife agencies.

- FWS -

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