National Wildlife Refuges

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The National Wildlife Refuge System is the largest land and water system in the world dedicated to wildlife conservation.  With 556 refuges on more than 150 million acres across the country and several U.S. territories, the Refuge System is vital to protecting America’s wildlife.  

There is a refuge in every state and within an hour’s drive of most major American cities.  Visited by about 45 million people each year, our national wildlife refuges are economic engines, generating nearly $4 billion and more than 32,500 jobs to regional economies.  Despite its crucial role as an anchor for America’s wildlife conservation, outdoor recreation opportunities and economic activity, the Refuge System has long been plagued by chronic and severe funding shortfalls. 

As part of the Cooperative Alliance for Refuge Enhancement (CARE), Defenders of Wildlife works to help the Refuge System fight a serious funding crisis.  CARE is a diverse coalition of 22 conservation, sporting, recreation, and scientific organizations that represent more than 15 million members.  Defenders of Wildlife has been an active member of the coalition since its inception in 1995.  We also oppose legislation, including proposals to drill in the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge, that would damage the Refuge System.

Related Links

Restoring America’s Wildlife Refuges 2011

Restoring America’s Wildlife Refuges 2010

Shortchanging America’s Wildlife

Additional state fact sheets are available at CARE’s website: http://www.fundrefuges.org/care/StateFunding.html

Arctic Drilling in Transportation Reauthorization Bill Fact Sheet