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.