The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service is working to expand free or affordable transportation routes to Service lands, in keeping with Standard of Excellence 6: Providing Equitable Access of the Urban Wildlife Conservation Program. This effort is called the Urban Transportation Connection Study.

The first stage of the study focuses on these urban wildlife refuges — Detroit River International (MI), Bayou Sauvage (LA), Occoquan Bay (VA), Rocky Mountain Arsenal (CO), San Pablo Bay (CA), Santa Ana (TX), Steigerwald Lake (WA) and Pierce (WA).

Refuge access plans developed for these refuges help project leaders choose transportation options best able to expand access to green spaces in those urban areas.   

Each plan includes an outline of a refuge’s history and vision, a community demographic analysis, and a stakeholder engagement process, used to create a prioritized project list.

Transportation projects cited in refuge plans often include:  

  • capital improvements for transportation assets (such as trail construction, bicycle amenities, non-motorized boat launch)
  • safety and signage issues,
  • participation in regional transportation project initiatives (for example, a plan to expand bus service to a refuge visitor center),
  • coalition building,
  • marketing campaigns, and
  • special transportation-oriented events.

Once a refuge creates a refuge action plan, the Service region and headquarters track the refuge’s progress, providing resources and technical assistance, as needed.  

Over time, the Service aims to extend the transportation analysis to the rest of the 101 urban refuges in the Urban Wildlife Conservation Program. Identifying and prioritizing these transportation projects will expand recreational access and conservation experiences for the American people.