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First Annual White River Wildlife Festival & Grand Opening Ceremony White River National Wildlife Refuge Office and Visitor Center


October 1, 2003

Ray Paterra, 870-282-8249

Who: Public is invited to this free celebration.

What: First Annual White River Wildlife Festival
Grand opening ceremony for the new $2 million White River National Wildlife Refuge Office and Visitor Center.

Where: Visitor Center, St. Charles, AR
15 miles northeast of DeWitt, AR, along Highway 1

When: Saturday, October 11, 2003
Grand Opening - 10 a.m.
Wildlife Festival - Noon to 5:00 p.m.

White River National Wildlife Refuge offers one of the largest remaining bottomland hardwood forests in the Mississippi River Valley. With more than 160,000 acres, including 90 protected river miles and 300 lakes, it is home to the largest concentration of wintering mallard ducks in the Mississippi Flyway and is also designated as a Wetland of International Importance.

“If you live in Arkansas, Tennessee or Mississippi, and haven’t visited White River National Wildlife Refuge, this is your best chance,” said Larry Mallard, Refuge Manager. “Every tradition starts somehow, and starting the White River Wildlife Festival is the start of a great tradition for the entire area.”
The Refuge has long been known as some of the finest hunting and fishing lands in the lower Mississippi River Valley. Visitors to the refuge generate more than $3.75 million in expenditures annually. White River National Wildlife Refuge offers many other recreational opportunities, such as bird watching, canoeing and kayaking, hiking, and environmental education. The new White River National Wildlife Refuge Visitor Center will allow the refuge to enhance these public recreational opportunities.

White River National Wildlife Refuge’s celebration is part of a year-long celebration of the 100th anniversary of America’s National Wildlife Refuge System. President Theodore Roosevelt established the Refuge System in 1903 at Pelican Island, Florida. Today, the Refuge System includes 542 national wildlife refuges and protects nearly 100 million acres of America’s best fish and wildlife habitat. President Franklin D. Roosevelt established White River National Wildlife Refuge in 1935. It is one of 10 national wildlife refuges in Arkansas.

Saturday, October 11, 2003

10 a.m. -- Centennial Celebration and Visitor Center Dedication Ceremony

  • Ribbon cutting for the new $2 million Visitor Center and Office Complex.
  • Burial of a time capsule, to be opened in 2103.

Noon to 5:00 p.m. -- 1st Annual White River Wildlife Festival

  • Free Boat tours of the White River
  • Little Rock Zoo Birds of Prey and Reptile and Amphibian Show
  • Performances by an impressionist of President Theodore Roosevelt, founder of the National Wildlife Refuge System
  • Monster Bucks of Arkansas Display
  • Kids Activity Area - Birdhouse and birdfeeder building, T-shirt making, face painting, and more!
  • Wildlife Seminars - Wildlife experts will talk about waterfowl biology, wildlife photography, and black bear relocation at White River National Wildlife Refuge
  • Guided Walks - Expert guides will provide walks to showcase the birds, forest management, and plants of the White River – bring your binoculars!
  • Exhibit Hall - Wildlife Conservation in Arkansas and the Lower Mississippi River Ecosystem
  • Food Area - to benefit Friends of White River National Wildlife Refuge
  • United States Postal Service - Special Collectible Cancellation Station of the Pelican Island NWR Commemorative Stamp and the 2003 Federal Duck Stamp
  • 2003 Arkansas Jr. Duck Stamp Art Contest Display

Free parking and free activities!

For a detailed schedule of activities or more information about White River National Wildlife Refuge, visit or call 870/946-1468.

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 95-million-acre National Wildlife Refuge System which encompasses more than 542 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 fish and wildlife agencies.

For more information about the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, visit our home page at or

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

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