The National Wildlife Refuge System
150 million acres nationwide
The National Wildlife Refuge System, administered by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, is the nation’s premiere network of public lands and waters that provide habitat for wildlife and unparalleled outdoor experiences for the public. There are more than 560 refuges nationwide and at least one within an hour’s drive of most major cities.
Why a Blue Goose?
The blue goose has been the symbol of the National Wildlife Refuge System since it first was drawn more than 80 years ago by Pulitzer Prize-winning cartoonist and noted conservationist, J.N. “Ding” Darling. That drawing was based on a real blue goose, once thought to be a separate species but now recognized as a dark form, or “morph,” of the snow goose.
The first official use of the blue goose took place circa 1934, but today the icon is featured prominently at wildlife refuges across the country.
Benefits to Wildlife
National Wildlife Refuges provide habitat for more than 700 species of birds, 220 species of mammals, 250 reptile and amphibian species, and more than 1,000 species of fish. More than 380 threatened or endangered plants and animals find sanctuary on wildlife refuges.
Each year, millions of migrating birds use refuges as rest areas as they fly thousands of miles between their summer and winter homes.
Benefits to People
The Refuge System plays a major role in providing Americans with clean air and water. It also provides world-class recreational opportunities. These include - when compatible with the goals of the refuge in question - hunting, fishing, photography, wildlife watching, hiking, canoeing, kayaking, environmental education, and more!
Whatever activity tickles your outdoor fancy, National Wildlife Refuges offer something for everyone. So, join the 47 million people who visit refuges each year and Get Your Goose On today!