America's Great Outdoors: A Vision for the Future of the National Wildlife Refuge System

Read about the future plans for the Wildlife Refuge System, and find out how you can help shape the vision of these conservation efforts.


| February 28, 2011



wildlife refuge oystercatcher

The new vision document for the future of the Refuge System, Conserving the Future: Wildlife Refuges and the Next Generation, provides over 100 recommendations to protect and improve national conservation lands, such as the Cape May National Wildlife Refuge where this stunning oystercatcher helps its young.


PHOTO: FISH AND WILDLIFE SERVICE/STEVE GREER

Secretary of the Interior Ken Salazar today announced a draft vision plan to guide the growth and management of the National Wildlife Refuge System. The draft document, developed by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service and National Wildlife Refuge Association, articulates a 10-year vision for the Refuge System.

The vision document, entitled Conserving the Future: Wildlife Refuges and the Next Generation, offers nearly 100 draft recommendations to protect and improve the world's premier system of public lands and water set aside to conserve America's fish, wildlife and plants for the continuing benefit of the American people. Starting today, the draft document will be available for public comment until Earth Day, April 22, 2011. 

The Conserving the Future process comes on the heels of President Obama's America's Great Outdoors initiative to develop a conservation and outdoor recreation agenda for the 21st century. The process to develop a new vision for the Refuge System goes hand-in-hand with many of the priorities identified through the America's Great Outdoors national dialogue, including greater access to recreation and connecting a new generation of conservationists to the outdoors.

“The National Wildlife Refuge System is one of the crown jewels of our conservation efforts and we must ensure that the System has the tools and vision to meet the challenges of tomorrow," Salazar said. “I encourage all Americans to participate in the Conserving the Future process and to voice their bold ideas about the future priorities and management of our national wildlife refuges."

There are 553 national wildlife refuges with at least one in every state and U.S. territory. Spanning more than 150 million acres of land and water, the Refuge System conserves wildlife habitat for hundreds of animal and plant species and includes more than 20 million acres of designated wilderness. The last time a vision statement was articulated for the System was 1999.

Among the draft vision's recommendations are:





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