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Hackmatack National Wildlife Refuge has evolved through partnerships. It began with local citizens concerned with conserving natural areas in northeastern Illinois and southeastern Wisconsin. Those citizens talked to others and partnerships formed. A group called the Friends of Hackmatack coalesced around the idea of establishing a national wildlife refuge to complement existing conservation lands in the area. The number of partners grew to over 40 organizations sharing this common goal of establishing a refuge. Through the efforts of these partners, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service agreed to study the feasibility and benefits of establishing a refuge in the area. After two years of planning and public involvement, the Service concluded that a refuge would contribute to its mission.


Partnerships with landowners, neighbors, conservation organizations, and local, county, state, and other federal government agencies are a crucial component of a successful Hackmatack Refuge. Public and private partnerships will be essential to the success of the future management of the refuge.