Sunday, March 22, 2015

My Fave National Wildlife Refuges

Not much wildlife made it into "Wild," the Reese Witherspoon movie based on Cheryl Strayed's solo, thousand-some-mile trek along the Pacific Crest Trail. That is, unless you count some of the shady people her character meets along the way. In real life, it's the four-legged, winged and finned creatures in our nation's wild places that provide treasured experiences for ourselves and our children -- whether it's prowling for owls, digging for crabs, learning to photograph flocks of cranes, or following the tracks of a bobcat. In America, wildlife links us with our past and provides a gift we can offer future generations. We can thank President Theodor Roosevelt for establishing the first national wildlife refuge -- Florida's Pelican Island -- in 1903. But the idea of protecting America's fish and wildlife, and the plants and waters they depend on dates to the mid-1800s, when reporters and explorers in the West documented how animals were being wiped out. The public came to the realization that America's heritage is intimately tied to its wildlife that require safe and healthy havens to thrive. Every U.S. state plus its territories has at least one refuge, all managed by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Serve. I recently wrote about six stand-out national wildlife refuges for National Geographic Traveler - Intelligent Travel. 


credit: Ward Feurt/USFWS


credit: Colin Hackley

credit: Steve Hillebrand/USFWS


10 comments:

Brette said...

Great piece. I've only been to Chincoteague but the others sound wonderful too.

Sheryl said...

It's comforting and heartening to know that every state offers protection for its precious wildlife. Love the photos!

Roxanne said...

I've been to more National Parks than refuges, but these look great.

ruth pennebaker said...

More places to go! These sound wonderful.

Jane Louise Boursaw said...

With all the dangers of wildlife parks in the news lately (animals attacking people), I would imagine/hope that better rules are set in place for tourists. We can't forget we're trekking in the animals' terrain!

Jeanine Barone said...

Hi Brette, I've never found a wildlife refuge that I didn't fall in love with.

Jeanine Barone said...

Hi Sheryl, I think so many people take our National Park system for granted. But without the protection of these resources, we will have lost what was around at the time of the Native Americans.

Jeanine Barone said...

Hi Roxanne, When I queried my friends and colleagues, few of them knew what a national wildlife refuge was.

Jeanine Barone said...

Hi Ruth, It was hard for me to narrow down the list of refuges. It was much longer originally.

Jeanine Barone said...

Hi Jane Louise, I've done a lot of exploring in wildlife refuges and never had any trouble with people or animals. But it's always good to be cautious.