As another National Wildlife Refuge week winds to a close, it is time to recognize some of the favorite Refuges around the country. Some are famous, and some are hidden gems, but all are wonderful testaments to America’s conservation heritage.
See some of the favorites below – and get out to your favorite Refuge, whether it is tomorrow or any time of year, and celebrate these special places. Or explore a new Refuge – many are within a 1-hour drive from a major metropolitan area.
Okefenokee National Wildlife Refuge
This famous Refuge, down along the Suwannee River in southern Georgia teems with wildlife and history. Visitors there this week have a good chance of seeing one of the Refuge’s famous black bears fattening up on fallen acorns, or marsh hawks silently gliding over the treetops – and of course the alligators that the troll the cypress swamps.
Arctic National Wildlife Refuge
The crown jewel of the National Wildlife Refuge System. This impressive habitat is one of the last pristine areas on earth, and home to polar bears, wolves, millions of songbirds and waterfowl, and the 100,000 plus Porcupine caribou herd. Unfortunately, the Arctic Refuge is still under siege from politicians in Washington trying to open this unique landscape to oil drilling. Take action to protect the Arctic Refuge!
Hart Mountain National Antelope Range
The pronghorn antelope is one of the fastest animals on earth. These speedy prairie-dwellers can hit a top speed of 55 mph, but can be spotted at the Hart National Antelope Range in southeastern Oregon. Even if you don’t see one of the quick pronghorn, visitors can still be treated by bighorn sheep, mule deer, sage grouse and redband trout.
Ding Darling Refuge
Many of the Refuges in the National Wildlife Refuge System wouldn’t exist without the creation of one man: Ding Darling and his brainchild the Federal Migratory Bird Hunting and Conservation Stamp, also known as the Duck Stamp. Sales of these stamps have generated more than $750 million for on the ground bird habitat conservation. This Refuge along the coast of the Gulf of Mexico is home to thousands of birds that call the Refuge home for the winter.