There is a lot of news about our National Wildlife Refuge System this week!
(Bison graze on the prairie at Neal Smith National Wildlife Refuge in Iowa. Photo: USFWS)
Rise in Activity
For instance, did you know that participation in wildlife-associated recreation has increased in 28 states since 2006?
According to our latest National Survey of Fishing, Hunting, and Wildlife-Associated Recreation State Overview Report, 38 percent of all Americans 16 years of age and older participated in wildlife-related recreation in 2011.
That's an increase of 2.6 million people when compared to 2006!
The survey is conducted every five years and is one of our most important sources of information on fish and wildlife recreation in the United States.
More Hunting Allowed
We've also just announced new opportunities for hunting at several Refuges across the country.
For the first time, the Detroit River International Wildlife Refuge in Michigan to migratory bird hunting, upland game hunting and big game hunting.
In all, hunting activities have expanded at 16 Refuges in 14 states.
Hunting is not allowed on every Refuge, however, and sometimes we have to eliminate hunting opportunities at certain Refuges, as is the case now with Hakalau Forest National Wildlife Refuge in Hawaii.
Under the National Wildlife Refuge System Improvement Act of 1997, the Service can permit hunting and fishing along with four other types of wildlife-dependent recreational uses where they are compatible with refuge purpose and mission. Hunting, within specified limits, is permitted on more than 300 national wildlife refuges. Fishing is permitted on more than 270 national wildlife refuges.
Get Ready for Refuge Week!
It's that time of year again - National Wildlife Refuge Week!
This year, Refuge Week occurs between October 14 - 20.
We have a bunch of exciting activities planned at various Refuges across the country. Check out our Events Calendar for details - and get out to a Refuge near you!