Hackmatack National Wildlife Refuge was established on November 6, 2012 with the donation of a 12 acre. The easement was purchased for the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service by Openlands through a donation from the Friends of Hackmatack and the McHenry County Conservation Foundation.
Hackmatack National Wildlife Refuge will connect the dots of conserved land in southeast Wisconsin and northeast Illinois. Refuge lands and conservation easements will link lands conserved by local, county and state agencies and private organizations.
Working with our partners, the refuge will ultimately improve or restore more than 11,000 acres of drained wetland basins, historic prairie and forest habitats. Habitat is restored by purchasing lands and easements from willing sellers, helping landowners restore their land and working with partners.
The mission of the National Wildlife Refuge System is to administer a national network of lands and waters for the conservation, management and, where appropriate, restoration of the fish, wildlife and plant resources and their habitats within the United States for the benefit of present and future generations of Americans.
Every national wildlife refuge was created for a special purpose. Some were created to protect migratory birds, others to protect threatened or endangered species or unique habitats, while others fulfill another special purpose. All activities allowed on refuges must be evaluated to make sure each activity will not conflict with the reason the refuge was founded.
The purpose of the refuge is to contribute to the mission and goals of the National Wildlife Refuge System by:
Protecting and enhancing habitats for federal trust species and species of management concern, with special emphasis on migratory birds and species listed under the federal Endangered Species Act of 1973
Conserving wetlands in order to maintain the public benefits they provide and the help fulfill international obligations contained in various migratory bird treaties and conventions indicated in the Emergency Wetlands Resource Act of 1986
Creating opportunities for hunting, fishing, wildlife observation, photography, environmental education and interpretation, while promoting activities that complement the purposes of the refuge and other protected lands in the region
Promoting science, education and research through partnerships to inform land management decisions and encourage continued responsible stewardship of the natural resources of the region
July 10, 2012 - U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service authorizes the establishment of Hackmatack National Wildlife Refuge in McHenry County, Illinois and Walworth County, Wisconsin.
November 6, 2012 - The 11,200 acre refuge was formally established through the transfer of ato the Service. The easement was purchased for the Service by Openlands through a donation from the Friends of Hackmatack and the McHenry County Conservation Foundation.
June 5, 2018 - The refuge and partners celebrated a gift of 86 acres in Wisconsin from Ducks Unlimited.
October, 2018 - Hiring of first refuge employee (refuge manager).