Conserving the Nature of America
Press Release
Trump Administration announces new public access at the Refuge Gateway

September 29, 2020


Susan White, Wildlife Refuge Manager, 808-372-8898,
Tina Shaw, Public Affairs Specialist, 612-713-5331,

TRENTON, MI – Today, the Trump Administration announced that a 44-acre site at the Refuge Gateway of Detroit River International Wildlife Refuge will be opening for the first time to the public for recreation on Thursday, October 1, 2020.

“Decades-long partnerships and the community vision of the Detroit River International Wildlife Refuge are a model for the Service’s urban refuge program, and they are paying off,” said U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service Director Aurelia Skipwith.

Today is Urban National Wildlife Refuge Day, and in recognition of this, the Trump Administration also announced that both Detroit River International Wildlife Refuge and Twin Cities-based Minnesota Valley National Wildlife Refuge have been awarded $1 million in additional funding to bolster their urban refuge programs.

“Today, the Trump Administration is excited to announce we are able to open the Refuge Gateway and place this additional $1 million dollar investment at Detroit River and Minnesota Valley refuges -- two urban conservation gems from America’s Midwest.” said Director Skipwith. “Meeting people where they live and providing opportunities for residents to enjoy the outdoors and take part in wildlife habitat conservation has been a Trump Administration priority and is a win-win for everybody. Detroit River International Wildlife Refuge and Minnesota Valley National Wildlife Refuge offer unparalleled recreational opportunities for the millions of Americans who live close to these refuges.”

The Administration is pleased to announce that beginning October 1 the lands and waters of the Refuge Gateway – a collaborative partnership that is owned and co-managed by Wayne County and the Service - will open to the public every Thursday through Sunday, during daylight hours. This includes access to on-site parking, the 700-foot fishing pier, portions of Humbug Marsh Orange and Green Trails, Humbug Observation deck, Monguagon Boardwalk, picnic tables, bike trails and limited porta potties. Please note that the visitor center will remain closed due to concerns related to public safety and COVID-19. Visitors are encouraged to adhere to Centers for Disease Control and Prevention COVID-19 safety guidelines throughout the site.

Detroit River International Wildlife Refuge and Minnesota Valley National Wildlife Refuge are two of more than a dozen priority urban refuges. They were identified because they have tremendous potential to provide outstanding recreational opportunities in these large metropolitan areas. These urban partnerships are long-term, place-based collaborations that engage communities in conservation both on and off National Wildlife Refuge System lands.

“We understand there isn’t a one-size-fits-all solution to fish and wildlife conservation. To inspire current and future outdoor enthusiasts, we’re maximizing activities and partnerships that welcome new visitors and remove barriers for people who want to get outside and have fun,” said Great Lakes Regional Chief of Refuges Suzanne Baird.

Learn more about America's only international wildlife refuge

Located along the lower Detroit River and western Lake Erie, Detroit River International Wildlife Refuge extends from southwest Detroit to the Ohio border and has six million people within a 45-minute drive. Since it was established almost 20 years ago, the refuge has become a national leader in using public-private partnerships to make nature part of everyday urban life. The refuge was established in 2001 as a result of binational efforts from politicians, conservation leaders and local communities to build a sustainable future for the Detroit River and western Lake Erie ecosystems.

Learn more about Minnesota’s urban oasis in the heart of the Twin Cities

Nestled between the Minneapolis-St. Paul International Airport and the Mall of America in Bloomington, Minn., Minnesota Valley National Wildlife Refuge offers a slice of wild and nearby nature to 3.5 million people. Established in 1976 by motivated residents, the refuge preserved wildlife resources threatened by commercial and industrial development. Today, the refuge spans more than 14,000 acres and serves as a thriving urban refuge where nature connects people, communities and wildlife. The refuge is an ideal location in the Twin Cities community for environmental education and diverse outdoor recreational opportunities.

To celebrate the importance of national wildlife refuges as vital places for outdoor recreation in cities, the Department of the Interior designated today, Sept. 29, 2020 as Urban National Wildlife Refuge Day. Across the country, there are 101 urban refuges that host more than 11.7 million people a year - making it easy to find one near you.

Learn more about the Urban Wildlife Conservation Program.

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

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