Kofa National Wildlife Refuge was established in 1939 for the protection of desert bighorn sheep and other native wildlife following a 1936 campaign by the Arizona Boy Scouts.
Originally designated Kofa Game Range, the refuge was managed jointly by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service and the Bureau of Land Management for decades. In 1976, control of the refuge was awarded to the U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service, and it was renamed Kofa National Wildlife Refuge. The refuge's name was derived from an acronym for one of the area’s most notable mines, the King of Arizona gold mine.
Designated in 1990
The Wilderness Act of 1964 created the National Wilderness Preservation System "in order to assure that an increasing population, accompanied by expanding settlement and growing mechanization, does not occupy and modify all areas in the United States, and its possession, leaving no lands designated for preservation and protection in their natural condition..."
Congress designated 547,719 acres or over 80 percent of Kofa National Wildlife Refuge as wilderness through the 1990 Arizona Desert Wilderness Act. Along with the Kofa Wilderness, the New Water Mountains Wilderness was designated at the same time on 24,600 acres on the north boundary of the Kofa Wilderness.
For more information about Kofa Wilderness please visit: wilderness.net
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.
Everywas 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. Refuges are special places where wildlife comes first. All activities allowed on refuges must be evaluated to make sure each activity will not conflict with the reason the refuge was founded.
January 25, 1939 – The refuge is established by Executive Order 8039 for the protection of desert bighorn sheep.
February 27, 1976 – The refuge is no longer jointly managed with the Bureau of Land Management and was renamed Kofa National Wildlife Refuge.
November 28, 1990 – Congress designates 547,719 acres of the refuge as wilderness through the 1990 Arizona Desert Wilderness Act.
Other Facilities in this Complex
Kofa National Wildlife Refuge is part of the Southwest Arizona National Wildlife Refuge Complex. The refuge complex consists of Cibola, Imperial, and Kofa National Wildlife Refuges.