Conserving the Nature of America
Press Release
Celebrate National Wildlife Refuge Week October 10-16

October 7, 2021


Vanessa Kauffman


Take a walk in nature and get connected to the natural world during National Wildlife Refuge Week, October 10-16, 2021. Celebrate your access to a wide range of outdoor recreation opportunities on the nation’s largest network of public lands dedicated to wildlife conservation, the National Wildlife Refuge System, managed by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service.

“Conservation stewardship and increasing equitable access to public lands is an essential component of the Biden-Harris administration’s America the Beautiful initiative, a decade-long, locally-led and voluntary campaign to conserve, connect and restore 30 percent of our lands and waters by 2030,” said Service Principal Deputy Director Martha Williams. “National Wildlife Refuge Week encourages all Americans to visit national wildlife refuges and discover a range of world-class recreation opportunities and take pride in our rich wildlife heritage.”

National Wildlife Refuge Week is observed each year during the second full week of October. The first day – October 10 this year – is fee-free at wildlife refuges that normally charge an entrance fee. Nearly 500 wildlife refuges and wetland management districts offer free admission year-round.

The Refuge System offers many outdoor activities including walking, fishing, wildlife viewing and hunting while providing vital habitat for thousands of wildlife species, including sandhill cranes, American alligators, bison and sea turtles.

Findings of a major study show Americans from all backgrounds understand that thriving wildlife populations and places dedicated to their conservation help them and their families live happier, healthier lives. Spending time in nature promotes mental and physical well-being.

As part of this year’s Refuge Week, the Service is encouraging people to get out in nature for good health and to help wildlife thrive. Free, self-guided 5K “Walk for the Wild” events around the country will highlight national wildlife refuges.

Founded in 1903, national wildlife refuges offer access to a host of popular activities while providing vital habitat for thousands of wildlife species. Nearly 60 million people visit refuges each year. You can find at least one refuge in every state and every U.S. territory and within an hour drive of most major cities.

National wildlife refuges contribute $3.2 billion per year into local economies and support more than 41,000 jobs, according to the Service’s report Banking on Nature. National wildlife refuges also make life better by conserving wildlife, protecting against erosion and flooding and purifying our air and water.

More than 101 million Americans – 40 percent of the U.S. population age 16 and older – pursue wildlife-related recreation, including hunting, fishing and wildlife watching.

Learn more about this year’s celebration, including virtual and in-person events by visiting:

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

For more information on our work and the people who make it happen, visit Connect with our Facebook page, follow our tweets, watch our YouTube Channel and download photos from our Flickr page.