Visitor Activities

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We are land stewards, guided by Aldo Leopold's teachings that land is a community of life and that love and respect for the land is an extension of ethics. We seek to reflect that land ethic in our stewardship and to instill it in others.

  • Hunting

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    Hunting is an important wildlife management tool that we recognize as a healthy, traditional outdoor pastime, deeply rooted in America’s heritage.  Hunting can instill a unique understanding and appreciate of wildlife, their behavior, and their habitat needs.

    As practiced on refuges, hunting, trapping and fishing do not pose a threat to wildlife populations, and in some instances are necessary for sound wildlife management.  For example, because their natural predators are gone, deer populations will often grow too large for the refuge habitat to support.

    Hunting programs can promote understanding and appreciation of natural resources and their management on lands and waters in the Refuge System.

    To find out more about hunting opportunities, seasons and regulations on Lee Metcalf NWR, read the refuge Hunting & Fishing Brochure

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  • Fishing

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    In addition to the conservation of wildlife and habitat, the Refuge System offers a wide variety of quality fishing opportunities.  Fishing programs promote understanding and appreciation of natural resources and their management on all lands and waters in the Refuge System.  Every year, about 7 million anglers visit national wildlife refuges, where knowledgeable staff and thousands of volunteers help them have a wonderful fishing experience.

    Quality fishing opportunities are available on more than 270 national wildlife refuges.  Visitors can experience virtually type of sport fishing on the continent.  From inconnu and grayling in remote Alaska, to snook hovering by mangroves in Florida’s Ten Thousand Islands, national wildlife refuges offer anglers adventure and diversity.

    For a great place to reconnect with a favorite childhood activity or to try it for the first time, make plans to fish at a national wildlife refuge soon.  Find more information with our on-line Guide to Fishing on National Wildlife Refuge.

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  • Wildlife Observation

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    If you enjoy getting outdoors and looking for wildlife, consider a visit to your nearest national wildlife refuge!  From birding to whale watching, from viewing speedy pronghorn antelope or slow-moving box turtles, wildlife observation is the most popular activity for refuge visitors.

    From every state and all parts of the globe, about 40 million people visit each year, especially for the chance to see concentrations of wildlife and birds.  The National Wildlife Refuge System’s extensive trail system, boardwalks, observation decks, hunting and photography blinds, fishing piers and boat launches encourage visitors to discover America’s best wildlife spectacles.  The USFWS home page has links for wildlife observation opportunity at all Refuges. 

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  • Photography

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    Perhaps the fastest growing activity on national wildlife refuges in the past ten years has been wildlife photography. That's not surprising - the digital camera population explosion and cell phones with ever-improving picture-taking abilities are increasing the number of nature photographers at a rapid rate. You don't need to purchase expensive equipment or have any experience to get started. A small camera or basic cell phone will do just fine for most visitors.
    Nearly 12 million people visit outdoor habitats each year to photograph wildlife, and National Wildlife Refuges naturally are at the top of the list. Refuges provide enhanced opportunities to photograph wildlife in natural habitats by providing platforms, trails, viewing areas, and tour routes. Wildlife photography is a high-priority activity in the Refuge System.

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  • Environmental Education

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    National Wildlife Refuges serve many purposes, and one of our most important roles is as outdoor classrooms to teach about wildlife and natural resources.  Many refuges offer environmental education programs for a variety of audiences.  Refuges provide unique and exciting outdoor environments – excellent locations for hands-on learning activities.  Thousands of youth and adult groups visit every year to learn about a specific topic on wildlife, habitat, or ecological processes.

    Is your school, youth, environmental or other group interested in learning more about the wildlife, plants, habitats and ecology of our Refuge?  Refuges are wild places, and we want to teach you more about them!

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  • Interpretation

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    "Do not try to satisfy your vanity by teaching a great many things. Awaken people's curiosity. It is enough to open minds; do not overload them. Put there just a spark. If there is some good inflammable stuff, it will catch fire."   Anatole France (1844 - 1924)
    Interpretation cohesively develops an idea or ideas. Interpretive theme statements express meaning, link a tangible resource to its intangible meanings, and organize interpretive programs. By providing opportunities to connect to the resource, interpretation provokes participation in resource stewardship. It helps refuge visitors understand their relationships to, and impacts on, those resources.
    Well-designed interpretive programs can be effective resource management tools. For many visitors, taking part in an interpretive program may be their primary contact with a refuge, the Refuge System, and the Service. It is their chance to find out about refuge resource management objectives and could be their first contact with conservation and wildlife. Through these contacts, we have the opportunity to influence visitor attitudes about natural resources, refuges, the Refuge System, and the Service and to influence visitor behavior when visiting units of the Refuge System.

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  • Trails/Public Use Areas

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    Opportunities for wildlife-dependent recreation are located at or along the following places: (1) the Wildlife Viewing Area; (2) Refuge Visitor Center area (3) Kenai Nature Trail; and (4) Wildfowl Lane, a county road that runs through the refuge. Visitors must follow refuge regulations to protect wildlife and their habitats while enjoying the opportunity to view and photograph them. If your recreation includes dog walking, the Wildlife Viewing Trail is the place for this activity using a leash.