What We Do
The President’s Management Agenda identifies the National Wildlife Refuge System as a high-impact service provider. Visitor services professionals work to maintain a high level of customer satisfaction by operating visitor centers; designing, installing and maintaining accessible trails; constructing viewing blinds; issuing special use permits; contracting with private concessions and leveraging low recreation fees for facility improvements.
Through a national visitor survey, the Refuge System monitors visitor satisfaction. The survey is conducted every five years on a rotating basis on refuges that have at least 50,000 visits a year.
The National Wildlife Refuge System Improvement Act of 1997 identifies six priority recreational uses (hunting, fishing, wildlife observation and photography, environmental education and interpretation). These activities are priorities on every refuge, if found compatible with the refuge’s statutory purposes.
There is at least one refuge in every state and territory and within an hour’s drive of most major cities. This accessibility makes it easy for communities to enjoy their wildlife heritage. Visitors access refuges by car, by boat, by bike and by plane. The Service works to ensure that the roads, trails and parking areas are welcoming and safe for visitors of all abilities.