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Regional Director Tom Melius with former Congressman John Dingell Jr. and Refuge Manager John Hartig. Photo by Garrett Peterson/USFWS.

Regional Director Tom Melius with former Congressman John Dingell Jr. and Refuge Manager John Hartig. Photo by Garrett Peterson/USFWS.

Detroit River International Wildlife Refuge Visitor Center
named in honor of John Dingell

On January 14, 2017 Regional Director Tom Melius announced that the new visitor center at Detroit River International Wildlife Refuge will be named after former Congressman John D. Dingell Jr.

“Congressman Dingell made huge advances for conservation on a continental scale. I’m honored to dedicate this building as the John D. Dingell Jr. Visitor Center. For generations to come, it will help us share your love of nature with America’s families and children,” said Regional Director Tom Melius.

This announcement came at a ceremony at the new building, which is still under construction. Family and friends gathered to honor Dingell’s conservation legacy. Conservation partners from across North America joined in the celebration, with Canadian Consul General Douglas George and U.S. Chairperson to the International Joint Commission Lana Pollack joining Congresswoman Debbie Dingell in the celebration.

“Nearly two decades ago, John Dingell and members of the community had a vision for an international wildlife refuge that would be a place to gather, learn and protect the wildlife and natural resources that make our region unique. This has been John’s passion since before I met him, and the visitor center will be a place for the community to enjoy the outdoors just as he has. As the author of many of the nation’s most important environmental laws, there could not be a more fitting tribute. We are truly touched by this celebration of his accomplishments,” said Congresswoman Debbie Dingell.

For nearly six decades, Dingell represented the people of southeast Michigan in the United States Congress. During that time he championed many conservation causes and legislation. He authored or sponsored several major pieces of legislation, including the Clean Water Act, the Endangered Species Act, the National Environmental Policy Act and the Marine Mammal Protection Act.

From 1965 to 2014 Dingell served on the Migratory Bird Conservation Commission. The Commission On the Commission, where he championed the protection, enhancement, restoration, and management of nearly 14 million acres of migratory bird habitat.

“It is hard to find words to express how grateful I am to the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, staff at the refuge, and all those responsible for this incredible honor. Many years ago, we all came together to set aside this pristine land for future generations to enjoy, and soon people throughout the state will be able to come to a state-of-the-art visitor center to learn more about the natural beauty that surrounds them here in Southeast Michigan. It is impossible to thank all of the people who were responsible for the establishment and development of the refuge but they all have my deepest respect and thanks. I am blessed to be with so many good friends today.”

Given Congressman Dingell’s commitment to Detroit River International Wildlife Refuge, we could not think of a more fitting name for the new visitor center.

Learn more about Detroit River International Wildlife Refuge: https://www.fws.gov/refuge/detroit_river/

By Tina Shaw
Regional Office - External Affairs

Last updated: February 9, 2017