United States Department of the Interior 

                                      FISH AND WILDLIFE SERVICE   
                                               Washington, D.C. 20240

Effective: March 25, 1996
Expires: Indefinite

SUBJECT: Executive Order 12996 - Management and General Public Use of the
                    National Wildlife Refuge System

A. MISSION: The mission of the National Wildlife Refuge System is to preserve a national network of lands and waters for the conservation and management of fish, wildlife and plant resources of the United States for the benefit of present and future generations.


1. Public Use. The Refuge System provides important opportunities for compatible wildlife- dependent recreational activities involving hunting, fishing, wildlife observation and photography, and environmental education and interpretation.

2. Habitat. Fish and wildlife will not prosper without high-quality habitat, and without fish and wildlife, traditional uses of refuges cannot be sustained. The Refuge System will continue
to conserve and enhance the quality and diversity of fish and wildlife habitat within refuges.

3. Partnerships. America's sportsmen and women were the first partners who insisted on protecting valuable wildlife habitat within wildlife refuges. Conservation partnerships with other Federal agencies, State agencies, Tribes, organizations, industry, and the general public can make significant contributions to the growth and management of the Refuge System.

4. Public Involvement. The public should be given a full and open opportunity to participate in decisions regarding acquisition and management of our National Wildlife Refuges.

C. IMPLEMENTATION: The Executive Order provides ten directives to the Secretary of the Interior in carrying out his trustee and stewardship responsibilities for the Refuge System.

D. INCORPORATION: In order to assure that the provisions of the Executive Order (Appendix) are known throughout the Service, it is hereby incorporated in the National Policy
Issuance system. The Executive Order was signed by the President on March 25, 1996.

Date: December 30, 1996                                                     Bruce Blanchard
                                                                                             Deputy Director - Staff

This appendix is available as a separate PDF file.  Click here ->  to open file.
PDF files can be downloaded and read using Adobe Acrobat Reader.
This software is free. If you do not have this software installed on your computer, it is available from the Adobe Inc. site at http://www.adobe.com/prodindex/acrobat/readstep.html#reader.
Adobe Acrobat Reader program will ask - "What do you want to do with this file?"
To view and/or print this file, you should "Open it".  It is not necessary to "Save it to disk".

For additional information regarding this Web page, contact Krista Bibb, in the Division of Policy and Directives Management, at Krista_Bibb@fws.gov 
Return to the NPI Home Page

Visit the Division of PDM Directives Home Page
Visit the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service Home Page