Visit wildlife refuges for free during National Wildlife Refuge Week, Oct. 14-20

A group of puffins at Maine Coastal Islands National Wildlife Refuge.

Credit: USFWS

You can kick off National Wildlife Refuge Week on Sunday, Oct. 14 by visiting a refuge in your state for free.

America’s National Wildlife Refuges encompass more than 150 million acres of plant and animal habitat in over 500 refuges. There is at least one national wildlife refuge in every state, and most major cities are within an hour’s drive of one.

If you visit during National Wildlife Refuge Week, Oct. 14-20, you can also participate in special activities and events, like butterfly walks, night hikes and science demonstrations. Of course you can also enjoy all of the incredible recreation opportunities that are always available, including:

Need help finding a wildlife refuge? Check out the Fish and Wildlife Service's wildlife refuge locator

Oct. 14 is also a day in which you can participate inThe Big Sit,” an annual, noncompetitive birding event held worldwide. 

The week is a celebration of the importance of national wildlife refuges for offering these recreational opportunities, preserving America’s hunting and fishing heritage, caring for native wildlife diversity, as well as contributing to local economies.

Refuges are the primary lands that offer habitat for waterfowl. There have already been more than 30 million visits to refuges this year for wildlife observation. For every one dollar spent on operating these lands, there are four dollars generated in economic activity, contributing nearly $1.7 billion annually to local economies.

With so many reasons - and so many ways - to celebrate, it’s no wonder there’s a whole week dedicated to America’s National Wildlife Refuges.