On September 24, the U.S. Senate passed a non-binding, bipartisan resolution designating October 10-16, 2010, as National Wildlife Refuge Week. The resolution, introduced by Sen. Ted Kaufman of Delaware, demonstrates the value of the National Wildlife Refuge System to the American people, showcases the remarkable lands and waters of the Refuge System, and emphasizes their value to local communities and the vital support provided by refuge Friends groups and volunteers.
The Refuge System has celebrated National Wildlife Refuge Week during the second week of October since 1996. This year’s National Wildlife Refuge Week is focusing on wilderness lands — the most pristine and undeveloped category of natural lands — particularly those in the 19.3-million-acre Arctic National Wildlife Refuge, which is celebrating its 50th anniversary this year.
The National Wildlife Refuge System, managed by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, is dedicated to the conservation of fish and wildlife and their habitats. The nation’s 552 national wildlife refuges and 38 wetland management districts also offer a wide range of wildlife-dependent recreation — from fishing, boating, hunting and hiking to wildlife observation and photography, nature interpretation and environmental education. The Refuge System includes more than 2,500 miles of land and water trails. There is at least one national wildlife refuge in every state and one within an hour’s drive of most major cities.
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