Fish & Wildlife Service Header

Center for the Sounds to Hold Grand Opening


May 21, 2002

Howard Phillips, 252-796-3004 Jim Rothschild, 404-679-7291

COLUMBIA, NC - A Grand Opening ceremony for the Walter B. Jones Sr. Center for the Sounds will beheld here on Friday, May 31, beginning at 10:30 a.m. The public is invited to the ceremony, which will include appearances by several dignitaries, including Congressman Walter B. Jones, Jr.

Located on the Scuppernong River waterfront, the Center for the Sounds is the newest of several sites in the Columbia area highlighting eco-tourism. In addition to serving as headquarters for the Pocosin Lakes National Wildlife Refuge (NWR), the Center has environmental education facilities and exhibits that are open to the public and describe the wildlife and habitats of the refuge. There is also a gift shop carrying items relating to wildlife and the environment.

The Center is named for Rep. Walter B. Jones Sr., who served as Congressman from North Carolinaís First District from 1966-1992 and served as the Chairman of the House Merchant Marine and Fisheries Committee. The building honors Rep. Jones for his efforts in promoting protection of fish and wildlife resources. It also pays tribute to his support for establishing the Pocosin Lakes NWR and for legislation to study and protect the Albemarle-Pamlico estuarine system.

The Pocosin Lakes NWR covers over 100,000 acres in Tyrrell, Washington, and Hyde counties. It encompasses an area where vast forests were logged a century ago and a network of canals was dug to drain the land for farming in the 1960s and 1970s. In the 1980s a large tract lying within the three counties was donated for conservation purposes and was combined the existing Pungo refuge to form Pocosin Lakes NWR in 1990. Management goals of the refuge are to restore natural water flow, re-establish Atlantic white cedar forests, and promote a variety of activities that will enhance habitat for indigenous wildlife.

Rep. Walter B. Jones Jr., son of the Centerís namesake and the current representative of North Carolinaís Third District, will be among guests at the Grand Opening. Attending for the USFWS will be Dan Ashe, Chief of the National Wildlife Refuge System and Sam Hamilton, Southeast Regional Director. Entertainment will be provided by local musicians. Refreshments are planned on the centerís breezeway.

The Grand Opening is being sponsored by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service and the Partnership for the Sounds. The Partnership operates the centerís gift shop and has cooperative agreements with the USFWS at several other environmental education facilities in the Albemarle-Pamlico region.

The Center for the Sounds is located next to the Tyrrell County Visitorís Center in Columbia, just off US 64.

The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service is the principal Federal agency responsible for conserving, protecting, and enhancing fish, wildlife and plants and their habitats for the continuing benefit of the American people. The Service manages the 93-million-acre National Wildlife Refuge System of more than 520 national wildlife refuges, thousands of small wetlands, and other special management areas. It also operates 66 national fish hatcheries, 64 fishery resource offices and 78 ecological services field stations. The agency enforces Federal wildlife laws, administers the Endangered Species Act, manages migratory bird populations, restores nationally significant fisheries, conserves and restores wildlife habitat such as wetlands, and helps foreign governments with their conservation efforts. It also oversees the Federal Aid program that distributes hundreds of millions of dollars in excise taxes on fishing and hunting equipment to state wildlife agencies.

NOTE: You can view our releases or subscribe to receive them -- via e-mail -- at the Service's Southeast Regional home page at Our national home page is at:

Atlanta, GA 30345

Phone: 404/679-7289 Fax: 404/679-7286

2001 News Releases

| Home | Privacy Information | Site Map | Contact Site Administration | Got Fish & Wildlife Questions?