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A Talk on the Wild Side.

Your Public Lands Want You -- to Visit!

   people fishingThe 12th Annual Catch a Smile Senior Fishing Derby at Wolf Creek National Fish Hatchery. Photo by USFWS

Looking for something awesome to do this weekend? There’s never been a better time to visit your public lands. You can thrill to the heart-pounding excitement of nature, delight in the peace of the outdoors, and work up a sweat as you help make your lands shine.

Saturday is National Hunting and Fishing Day and National Public Lands Day.

Hunters and anglers have long been some of our Nation’s most passionate conservationists. In addition, both groups financially support conservation through an excise tax on hunting, shooting and fishing equipment and boat fuel.  Those funds are administered by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service’s Wildlife and Sport Fish Restoration (WSFR) Program and distributed to the states for conservation projects, many of which provide access for outdoor recreation.  When those funds are combined with the state license and tag sales sportsmen and women pay each year, it constitutes the majority of funding for wildlife conservation in North America.

   man and boy both in camo sit in fieldA father and his son hunt at Charles M. Russell National Wildlife Refuge. Photo by Brett Billings/USFWS

Earlier this year, Sport Fish and Wildlife Restoration funds distributed by the Service totaled more than $1 billion for this purpose.

RELATED: Learn More About Hunting and Fishing 

Hunting opportunities are available on 381 units in the Service’s National Wildlife Refuge System and fishing on 316. Some lands in the National Fish Hatchery System also offer hunting and/or sport fishing.

For instance, this weekend:

   woman girl and man in reflective vests with bags of trash

National Public Lands Day is your chance to join hundreds of thousands of other volunteers in making your public lands better, whether by picking up trash (at left: last year at Blackwater National Wildlife Refuge) or planting trees.

Making this year extra-special: Valle de Oro National Wildlife Refuge was named a highlighted site by the organization that runs National Public Lands Day.

Since it was established in 2012, Valle de Oro Refuge has been “a refuge established, designed and built by the community for the community.” 

It continues that tradition Saturday with a  Build Your Refuge Day event.

There are many other events around the country. Check with your local refuge or hatchery or visit the National Public Lands Day website to find them.

If that weren’t enough, Sunday is Urban National Wildlife Refuge Day, which recognizes urban national wildlife refuges for enriching the lives of Americans and their communities.  

Many refuges are holding Urban Refuge Day events, such as San Diego Bay National Wildlife Refuge’s Fun Day on the Bay, on Saturday.

All of these celebrations and events will help you get the most out of the outdoors. But there is never a bad time to visit a National Wildlife Refuge, National Fish Hatchery or any of your public lands any time of year. Check them out!

P.S. National Wildlife Refuge Week is coming up October 13-19, 2019!

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