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Mountain-Prairie Region

News Release

Explore Your National Wildlife Refuges: October 13-19, 2013

For Immediate Release

September 10, 2013

Jump for joy at a National Wildlife Refuge near you. Credit: USFWS

Explore your world. Visit a national wildlife refuge during National Wildlife Refuge Week (October 13-19). See what refuges are doing to conserve your wildlife heritage.

Even if you’ve never been to a refuge before, refuges enrich your life. These precious places help protect wildlife, generate jobs, clean our air and water, reduce flooding, teach children about nature and offer protected places to fish and hike and be outdoors.

“From the Everglades in Florida to the wilderness of northern Alaska, our national wildlife refuges include many of America's most treasured landscapes,” said Secretary of the Interior Sally Jewell. “National Wildlife Refuge Week is a great time to discover these untamed lands: to hike, to fish, to kayak, or to simply enjoy wild places and wild creatures. I encourage all Americans to visit a refuge in their state, especially those with children who have an opportunity to open up young eyes and hearts to the wonders of the great outdoors.”

This year’s Refuge Week celebrations share a wilderness theme as refuges look ahead to the 50th anniversary of the Wilderness Act in 2014. The 1964 law created the National Wilderness Preservation System, which protects nearly 110 million acres of wilderness nationwide. Twenty million of those acres are on refuge land. Wilderness is wild land – largely undeveloped and unmanaged – that can offer outstanding opportunities for solitude, wildlife observation and non-motorized recreation.

“With the establishment of Pelican Island in 1903 by Theodore Roosevelt – the first national wildlife refuge – the simple promise of wildlife protection was born,” said Service Director Dan Ashe. “It is my hope that citizens across the country will take advantage of this weeklong celebration to experience wildlife in their natural habitats, and play a firsthand role in conservation by participating in special events and programs.”

More than 45 million people visit a refuge each year, with refuge visitors reporting high satisfaction, found a 2012 study by the U.S. Geological Survey. “Nowhere else do I feel such a deep sense of connection with the land, the plants, and the wildlife,” offered one respondent.

The National Wildlife Refuge System has become the nation’s premier habitat conservation network, encompassing more than 150 million acres in 561 refuges and 38 wetland management districts. Every state has at least one national wildlife refuge. There is a national wildlife refuge within an hour’s drive of most major cities.

Refuges also offer world-class recreation, from fishing, hunting and wildlife observation along 2,500 miles of land and water trails to photography and environmental education.

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National Wildlife Refuge Week Highlights
Check the special events calendar for Refuge Week events. Among events planned:

Saturday, October 12:

Halloween Adventure, Audubon National Wildlife Refuge, ND
5:30 to 7:30 p.m.
Enjoy a free supper and a Halloween craft, followed by a hayride along the scenic shoreline of Lake Audubon. Pre-registration is required by Oct. 9: 701-442-5474 ext. 117. Space is limited. Meet at visitor center

The National Wildlife Refuge System protects wildlife and wildlife habitat on more than 150 million acres of land and water from the Caribbean to the Pacific, Maine to Alaska. Refuges also improve human health, provide outdoor recreation and support local economies. Visit our homepage at www.fws.gov/refuges. Follow us on Facebook and Twitter.

The mission of the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service is working with others to conserve, protect, and enhance fish, wildlife, plants, and their habitats for the continuing benefit of the American people. We are both a leader and trusted partner in fish and wildlife conservation, known for our scientific excellence, stewardship of lands and natural resources, dedicated professionals, and commitment to public service. For more information on our work and the people who make it happen, visit www.fws.gov. Connect with our Facebook page, follow our tweets, watch our YouTube Channel, download photos from our Flickr page, and visit our Podcast Central page.

U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service

Office of External Affairs

4401 N. Fairfax Drive, MS-330

Arlington, Virginia 20003

(703) 358-2220

(703) 358-1930 FAX



Vanessa Kauffman

Martha Nudel

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The mission of the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service is working with Others to conserve, protect, and enhance fish, wildlife, plants and their habitats for the continuing benefit of the American People.
Last modified: September 10, 2013
All Images Credit to and Courtesy of the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service Unless Specified Otherwise.
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