Archive for the ‘National Park Service’ Category

Record Visits to National Parks Generates $34.9 Billion, 318,000 Jobs for US Economy in 2016

April 19, 2017
CA-Yosemite-Tena_041517_505e2(c) Karen Rubin-MistTrail

Hiking up the Mist Trail alongside Vernal Falls in Yosemite Park during National Parks Week 2017. In 2016, America’s 417 National Park Service sites drew 331 million visitors and contributed $34.9 billion to the US economy © 2017 Karen Rubin/goingplacesfarandnear.com

SAN FRANCISCO – Today, during National Park Week, U.S. Secretary of the Interior Ryan Zinke announced that 2016’s record visitation of 331 million visitors at America’s 417 National Park Service sites contributed $34.9 billion to the U.S. economy in 2016 – a $2.9 billion increase from 2015. Zinke made his announcement while visiting the historic Presidio of San Francisco at Golden Gate National Recreation Area. Zinke marked National Park Week by also visiting Yosemite, Sequoia and Kings Canyon, and Channel Islands national parks.

According to the annual peer-reviewed economics report, 2016 National Park Visitor Spending Effects, the strong economic output is attributed to record visitation and visitor spending in “gateway” communities near national park entrances. The report also found visitor spending supported 318,000 jobs in 2016, with the vast majority of them defined as local jobs, including those in the hospitality, retail, transportation, and recreation industries.

“National Parks are America’s treasure which provide magnificent outdoor recreation opportunities and serve as economic engines for local communities. In my own hometown of Whitefish, Montana, I saw how the popularity of Glacier National Park led to growth of the local outdoor rec and eco-tourism industry. And while traveling to Sequoia and Kings Canyon last week it was exciting to see tourism towns dotting the road to the park,” Zinke said. “This report is a testament to the tangible economic benefits our parks bring to communities across the nation. Visitation numbers continue to rise because people want to experience these majestic public lands.”

Zinke continued, “With continued record visitation it’s time to start thinking about accessibility and infrastructure. Last week, it was great to see the team at Yosemite opening up areas with new wheelchair accessible trails. In the coming years, we will look at ways to make innovative investments in our parks to enhance visitor experiences and improve our aging infrastructure. To ensure visitors continue to have great experiences, we will remain focused on increasing access and addressing the maintenance backlog to ensure we are on the right track for generations to come.”

More than 270,000 of the jobs supported by visitor spending in 2016 exist in the communities that lie within 60 miles of a park. These range from big parks like Great Smoky Mountains National Park in Tennessee and North Carolina, which attracted 11.3 million people and supported more than 14,600 jobs, to smaller parks like Saint-Gaudens National Historic Site in New Hampshire that attracted more than 42,000 visitors and supported 34 jobs.

CA-SF-MuirWoods_041317_755e2(c) Karen Rubin

A view of San Francisco’s iconic Golden Gate Bridge from the ruins of battlements of historic Presidio of San Francisco at Golden Gate National Recration Area.. Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke visited there to announce that 2016’s record visitation of 331 million visitors at America’s 417 National Park Service sites and a $2.9 billion gain in the contribution to the US economy from 2015. © 2017 Karen Rubin/goingplacesfarandnear.com

“National parks like Yellowstone, Zion, and Gettysburg connect us with nature and help tell America’s story,” said Michael T. Reynolds, acting director of the National Park Service. “They are also a vital part of our nation’s economy, drawing hundreds of millions of visitors every year who fill the hotels and restaurants, hire the outfitters and rely on other local businesses that help drive a vibrant tourism and outdoor recreation industry.”

Visitor spending in 2016 supported 318,000 jobs, provided $12.0 billion in labor income, $19.9 billion in value added, and $34.9 billion in economic output to the U.S. economy. The lodging sector provided the highest direct contributions with $5.7 billion in economic output to local gateway economies and 56,000 jobs. The restaurants and bars sector provided the next greatest direct contributions with $3.7 billion in economic output to local gateway economies and 71,000 jobs.

According to the 2016 report, most park visitor spending was for lodging (31.2 percent) followed by food and beverages (27.2 percent), gas and oil (11.7 percent), admissions and fees (10.2 percent), souvenirs and other expenses (9.7 percent), local transportation (7.4 percent), and camping fees (2.5%).

The report was prepared by economists Catherine Cullinane Thomas of the U.S. Geological Survey and Lynne Koontz of the National Park Service. It includes information by park and by state on visitor spending, the number of jobs supported by visitor spending and other statistics.

Report authors also produced an interactive tool to present data in full color circle and bar graphs. Users can explore visitor spending, jobs, labor income, value added, and output effects by sector for national, state, and local economies. Users can also view year-by-year trend data. The interactive tool and report are available at the NPS Social Science Program webpage: https://www.nps.gov/subjects/socialscience/vse.htm.

National Park visitation grew by 7.7 percent from 2015 to 2016, the centennial year of the National Park Service celebrated with the Find Your Park campaign and promoted visits with such programs as admitting families with fourth graders for free.

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Ellis Island Immigration Museum to Reopen, One year after Superstorm Sandy; Repair Work Continues

October 24, 2013
Ellis Island Immigration Museum pays homage to the millions of immigrants from all over the world who have made the United States of  America © 2013 Karen Rubin/news-photos-features.com

Ellis Island Immigration Museum pays homage to the millions of immigrants from all over the world who have made the United States of America © 2013 Karen Rubin/news-photos-features.com

Ellis Island Immigration Museum, part of Statue of Liberty National Monument, will reopen  to the public on Monday, October 28 for the first time since Hurricane Sandy submerged the island a year ago.

“We are delighted to be able to share Ellis Island’s uniquely American story with the world once more,” said Superintendent David Luchsinger. “I can think of no better way to celebrate Lady Liberty’s 127th birthday than to welcome visitors back to the place where those ‘huddled masses yearning to breathe free’ first came to our shores.”

Visitors will once again walk the halls of the immigration station where 12 million people began life in America. Open areas on the first and second floors include the Great Hall, where immigrants were inspected, and Journeys: The Peopling of America 1550-1890. This first-floor exhibit, developed with the support of The Statue of Liberty-Ellis Island Foundation, tells the story of American immigration prior to Ellis Island’s years of operation. Visitors can pick up a free audio tour, join a ranger program and watch an introductory film. Outside, visitors can stroll to the popular American Immigrant Wall of Honor and take in fabulous views of Manhattan.

Ellis Island Immigration Museum will remain a work in progress at least through the spring. Repairs to the water and sewage systems have already taken place. An entirely new electrical system will be installed along with a new air conditioning system for climate control of the park’s million documents and artifacts. Elevator access to the Great Hall on the second floor is not yet available, but should be restored by early next year. Because of the storm, most of the museum collection is currently stored in a climate-controlled facility in Maryland. A temporary ventilation system will be replaced by permanent equipment later this year.

When Hurricane Sandy hit New York Harbor on October 29, 2012, Ellis Island was completely covered by water. The storm surge destroyed electrical, communications, heating and cooling systems. After the Statue reopened on July 4, the park shifted its efforts from repairs at Liberty Island to planning the more complex task of reopening an historic structure that preserves a delicate museum collection.

Ellis Island was the former federal immigration processing station which processed over 12 million immigrants between 1892 and 1954. A 1965 presidential proclamation added the island to the National Park Service as part of Statue of Liberty National Monument. After years of neglect, major restoration work on the Main Building took place in the 1980s, opening as the Ellis Island Immigration Museum in 1990. The National Park Service works with its partner organizations, The Statue of Liberty – Ellis Island Foundation and Save Ellis Island, to improve and enhance operations at the park.

To visit Ellis Island and the Statue of Liberty, purchase tickets at www.statuecruises.com. Statue Cruises is the business that owns and runs the ferries that take visitors to the park. The website contains information about ferry ticket prices. (877-LADY-TIX or (201) 604-2800,  www.statuecruises.com).

For more info on visiting the Statue, see http://www.nps.gov/stli/planyourvisit/index.htm.

See also:

Ellis Island Immigration Museum: Where Everyman is Hero

Statue of Liberty invites visitors to her Crown: Only 240 tickets available each day

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Statue of Liberty Reopens; NYS Funds Daily Cost During Federal Shutdown

October 13, 2013
The Statue of Liberty has reopened to the public under an agreement where New York State is paying the daily cost while the federal government shutdown continues © 2013 Karen Rubin/news-photos-features.com

The Statue of Liberty has reopened to the public under an agreement where New York State is paying the daily cost while the federal government shutdown continues © 2013 Karen Rubin/news-photos-features.com

The Statue of Liberty reopened today, Sunday, Oct. 13, under an agreement reached by New York State with the federal government on Friday, October 11. Under the agreement, New York State will fully fund National Park Service personnel at the daily cost of $61,600 to keep Liberty Island National Park open to visitors as the federal government shutdown continues.

“While the federal government shutdown remains at a standstill, we in New York will not let this international symbol of freedom and democracy remain closed,” Governor Andrew Cuomo stated during a reopening ceremony. “The Statue of Liberty attracts thousands of visits every day, generating economic activity and supporting jobs that we cannot afford to lose. So today, we are back in business and Lady Liberty is ready to welcome New Yorkers and visitors.”

As a result of the federal government shutdown, the U.S. Department of the Interior closed all national parks across the country last week and furloughed more than 20,000 National Park Service employees. In response to the economic impacts that park closures have on local communities, the Department is considering agreements with Governors who indicate an interest and ability to fully fund National Park Service personnel to reopen national parks in their states. These payments will not be reimbursed unless Congress passes a law to provide refunds to individual states.

Under Governor Cuomo’s agreement with Department of the Interior Secretary Sally Jewell, the State will pay for the first four days of reopening the park, with funding coming from the State’s tourism budget. To keep the park open, the State must give the Department two days’ notice for every additional two days. The park will be fully open and functioning as usual. The State will pay the federal government $61,600 for each day that the park is open.

Liberty Island National Park has a major impact on the New York State economy. According to a 2012 annual report by the National Park Service, 3.7 million people visited Liberty Island in 2011, generating $174 million in economic activity and supporting 2,218 jobs. Every visitor spends an average of about $35 for the ferry, food and souvenirs at Liberty Island and Ellis Island. Additional expenditures outside the park are estimated to be as high as $100 with each visit. The park generates more than $15 million in revenue from concessioner and franchise fees for the federal government, as well as $3.2 million in license fees to New York City parks plus sales taxes.

As a result of the shutdown – which has denied access to more than 10,000 visitors to the park daily – more than 400 direct jobs have been lost at the Statue of Liberty and Ellis Island, including with the National Park Service and Evelyn Hill, Inc. Statue Cruises which provides ferry rides to the island has seen its daily ridership drop 50-70 percent, and the company now has 180 jobs at risk. In addition, the federal government itself is losing $50,000 per day in concessioner fees.

This shutdown also follows an 8-month closure of Liberty Island due to Superstorm Sandy. Ellis Island remains closed to the public.

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Fee-free Day at Parks, September 29th, National Public Lands Day

August 24, 2012

National Public Lands Day (NPLD),September 29, is a fee-free entrance day at many federal public lands including national parks. It’s a great opportunity to help a local or favorite public land near you and spend the rest of the day recreating or relaxing on the land. With free admission, feel free to bring a friend or make it a family outing, and enjoy the experience.

National Public Lands Day also partners with five federal land management agencies to provide a special thank-you to their volunteers. Each volunteer who participates in National Public Lands Day at Bureau of Land Management, National Park Service, U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service or U.S. Forest Service public lands may receive a fee-free coupon.

Read more about the details on how fee-free days and fee-free coupons work on NPLD’s website: http://www.publiclandsday.org/highlights/fee-free-day-and-coupons

To locate an NPLD event near you, search by state or zip code here: http://www.publiclandsday.org/npld-sites. More than 1,200 of the 2,000 sites are already listed online.

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National Park Service 96th Birthday Celebration Set for August 25 With Coast-to-Coast Festivities

August 8, 2012

On August 25, the National Park Service turns 96 years old and everyone is invited, especially children, to join in the festivities taking place coast-to-coast © 2012 Karen Rubin/news-photos-features.com.

On August 25, the National Park Service turns 96 years old and everyone is invited, especially children, to join in the festivities taking place coast-to-coast. If you want to share birthday wishes or stories, pictures, or video from your trip to a park, NPS friends at the National Park Foundation have created a birthday website www.NPSbirthday.org to get the celebration going!

“National parks belong to all Americans and we invite everyone to join us on this special day,” said National Park Service Director Jonathan B. Jarvis. “There are hundreds of events planned. Take the kids on a snorkel adventure, bike ride, kayak tour, hike, or archeological dig. See a blacksmith demo, living history encampment, or Native American concert. Or join me and thousands of children at Rocky Mountain National Park’s big BioBlitz.”

The 6th annual BioBlitz, presented by the National Park Service and National Geographic, is a 24-hour event where teams of volunteer scientists, families, students, teachers, and others explore the park and identify species of plants, animals, microbes, fungi, and other organisms. Kids can go on discovery expeditions, take fun, hands-on “classes” at the Biodiversity University, and enjoy music, live animals, and science demonstrations at the Biodiversity Festival.

“Like so many park lovers, the National Park Foundation is grateful to the National Park Service for the exceptional work they do every day to protect and preserve our country’s 397 national parks,” said Neil Mulholland, President and CEO. “This month we are excited to celebrate their 96th birthday and extend our thanks to them.”

You can choose the park you would like to visit by location or by event at www.nps.gov. If you can’t make it to a park for the big day, remember the mission of the National Park Service extends beyond park boundaries into communities across the country. NPS works with partners to help preserve local history and create close-to-home recreational opportunities that revitalize neighborhoods and enhance the quality of life. Go to www.nps.gov/communities/states.htm to see what the Park Service does in your community. For more information, visit www.nps.gov.

About the National Park Service. More than 20,000 National Park Service employees care for America’s 397 national parks and work with communities across the nation to help preserve local history and create close-to-home recreational opportunities. Learn more at www.nps.gov.

About the National Park Foundation. You are the owner of 84 million acres of the world’s most treasured memorials, landscapes, ecosystems, and historic sites — all protected in America’s nearly 400 national parks. Chartered by Congress, the National Park Foundation is the official charity of America’s national parks. We work hand in hand with the National Park Service to connect you and all Americans to the parks, and to make sure that they are preserved for the generations who will follow. Join us in supporting your national parks — this is your land. http://www.nationalparks.org.

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National Wildlife Refuge System Birthday March 14 Celebrates Nation’s Conservation Legacy

March 7, 2012

Roseate spoonbills at Ding Darling National Wildlife Refuge, Sanibel Island, Florida © 2012 Karen Rubin/news-photos-features.com.

 

 

Americans won’t have to look far to celebrate their proud conservation heritage this month. Many national wildlife refuges around the country will host open houses and public celebrations in honor of the 109th birthday of the National Wildlife Refuge System on March 14; hundreds will offer great opportunities for wildlife viewing.

On this date in 1903, President Teddy Roosevelt established the first national wildlife refuge on Florida’s Pelican Island to protect wild birds from bounty hunters. Today, the Refuge System’s 556 national wildlife refuges and 38 wetland management districts make up the nation’s premier network of public lands, providing vital habitat for thousands of animal and plant species.

Americans reap added benefits in improved human health and recreation, such as fishing, hiking, photography and wildlife watching. Refuges also support local communities, attracting tourist dollars, generating jobs and supplementing the educational programs of many school systems.

Last year, 45 million people visited a national wildlife refuge. According to an October 2011 report commissioned by the National Fish and Wildlife Foundation, a nonprofit conservation organization, refuges and other natural lands managed by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service generated about $4.2 billion in economic activity and supported more than 32,000 jobs.

“National wildlife refuges are national treasures that play a critical role in preserving America’s rich wildlife legacy,” says U.S Fish and Wildlife Service Director Dan Ashe. “Without refuges’ important conservation work, the country would lose many species of plants and animals that help clean our air, filter our water, pollinate our crops and boost our understanding of our place in the natural world.”

Refuge celebrations this month include:

  • Refuge System Birthday Bash!
    Saturday, March 10, 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. — Patuxent Research Refuge, MD
    This free festival includes refuge tram tours, live animals, children’s crafts, music and entertainment. Enjoy live performances at 11:30 a.m. and 1:30 p.m. by Billy B, the Natural Science Song and Dance Man. Hear a talk about wildlife artist Bob Hines at 1 p.m.
  • Happy Birthday Times Two
    Saturday, March 10, 9 a.m. to noon — Alligator River National Wildlife Refuge, NC
    Take a free tram tour to celebrate the 28th birthday of the Alligator River National Wildlife Refuge and the 109th birthday of the Refuge System. Learn about the history of the area before the establishment of the refuge. Look for black bear, bald eagles and other wildlife.
  • Birding and Wildlife Tour
    Wednesday, March 14, 9:30 a.m. — J.N. “Ding Darling” National Wildlife Refuge, FL
    Join a free naturalist-guided car caravan through the refuge to celebrate the birthday of the Refuge System! Meet at the flagpole. Learn about the history of the Refuge System and of this refuge. Choose from more than 30 free programs a week at the refuge through March.
  • 20th Annual Pelican Island Wildlife Festival
    Saturday, March 17, 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. — Riverview Park, Sebastian, FL
    Celebrate the 109th birthday of Pelican Island National Wildlife Refuge and the National Wildlife Refuge System. Enjoy exhibits, wildlife shows, discounted boat tours to Pelican Island, live music and kids’ activities. Learn more about the festival.
  • Birthday Celebration
    Saturday, March 17, 1 p.m. to 3 p.m. — Eastern Neck National Wildlife Refuge. MD
    Celebrate 109th birthday of National Wildlife Refuge System. Meet at refuge office.

Refuges are managed by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service. Every state has at least one national wildlife refuge. There is a national wildlife refuge within an hour’s drive of most major cities.

Use the “Find Your Refuge” feature on the Refuge System homepage to see if your local refuge has an event scheduled.

VIDEO: Visit National Wildlife Refuges!

CALENDAR: Spring 2012 events

 

Friendship of Salem Embarks Upon a Youth Journey on the High Seas: Salem, MA to New York

July 27, 2011

The NPS tall ship Friendship will depart from Salem, MA for New York, NY on Sunday, August 7 with a crew of volunteers, NPS staff and youth from across Massachusetts. The National Park Service and Essex Heritage are inviting the public to wish the crew and their young volunteers a “Bon Voyage” on Sunday on August 7 at 4:30 p.m. as they depart from Derby Wharf at the Salem Maritime National Historic Site, 193 Derby Street, Salem, MA. © 2011 Karen Rubin/news-photos-features.com

The National Park Service, in partnership with the Essex National Heritage Commission, invites you to attend the Bon Voyage for the Friendship

The National Park Service, in partnership with the Essex National Heritage Commission, announces its Friendship Sails! A Youth Journey on the High Seas. The NPS tall ship Friendship will depart from Salem, MA for New York, NY on Sunday, August 7 with a crew of volunteers, NPS staff and youth from across Massachusetts. They are spending 2-3 days at sea, sailing to New York City where the young people will join a Youth Summit with their peers from New York City and Baltimore, MD.

 

The National Park Service and Essex Heritage cordially invite the public to wish the crew and their young volunteers a “Bon Voyage” on Sunday on August 7 at 4:30 p.m. as they depart from Derby Wharf at the Salem Maritime National Historic Site, 193 Derby Street, Salem, MA.

The National Park Service and Essex Heritage are committed to engaging the youth of this region – and especially those from urban and diverse communities – in the heritage and natural resources which are often seemingly “inaccessible” to urban youth. Starting with Friendship Sails! events to Newburyport and Lynn, the new Ship’s Mate Junior Ranger Program, and educational programs like Salem Sets Sail, the National Park Service with the assistance of Essex Heritage has reached more than 15,000 students and their families via the tall ship Friendship. “And this is just the beginning,” said Annie C. Harris, Executive Director of the Essex National Heritage Commission.

“It is such a thrill to see the reaction of these young people when they get out on the ocean. Many live only blocks away from the water but they have not had the opportunity to experience it – until now.” And she adds, “once they do, most of them become really engaged and this so important for our region’s future.”

Five college-aged interns who are currently enrolled in the NPS Massachusetts Parks Student Career Intake Program (SCIP) will assist in preparing the Friendship for her departure, and will participate in every aspect of the sail to New York and back. Participants on the August 7-10 sail to NYC are: Kimberley Brunner of the John F. Kennedy National Historic Site, Suki Jo Chiu of the Boston Harbor Islands National Recreation Area, Manny Cruz and Ryan McMahon both with the Salem Maritime National Historic Site and Victoria Vann of the Lowell National Historical Park.

Students on the return voyage of August 14-16 are: Rich Hansen and Saoran Roeuth both with the Lowell National Historical Park, Sarah Martin of the New Bedford Whaling National Historical Park, Nickson Monteiro at the Salem Maritime National Historic Site and Rubby Wuabu with the John H. Chafee Blackstone River Valley National Heritage Corridor.

“We are extremely pleased to bring maritime history alive for the young people of our region through our sail aboard Friendship,” said Rita Hennessy, Acting NPS Superintendent of the Salem Maritime and Saugus Iron Works National Historic Sites. “This is an extraordinary, once in a life time opportunity for these young participants to sail on a tall ship. They will experience the adventure of sailing while learning about teamwork, service and leadership.”

The youth will be under the guidance of the NPS crew, Friendship volunteers, and the captain. The students will be chronicling their journey via real time blogs and twitter. Follow the journey at: Friendshipnps.wordpress.com.

The Friendship of Salem is a full-size replica of the original ship constructed by the renowned shipbuilder Enos Briggs in Salem in 1797. She is a 171-foot three-masted “East Indiaman” – the type of merchant ship that made Salem a leader in the opening of international trade with the Far East, Europe and Russia in the years immediately following the American Revolution. The Friendship is the largest wooden, Coast Guard certified, sailing vessel to be built in New England in more than a century. The original Friendship made 15 voyages around the world before being captured by the British during the war of 1812. The new Friendship is part of the National Park Service’s Salem Maritime National Historic Site which includes the last remaining intact complex of colonial era wharves, the 1819 Custom House where author Nathaniel Hawthorne worked and several related maritime structures and Federal Era houses. Friendship is a fully operational sailing vessel. She is permanently berthed at Derby Wharf in Salem but, on special occasions, she sails to ports along the New England coast. This trip to New York City will be her furthest sail to date, but plans are being made to sail to Baltimore, MD to commemorate the War of 1812 next year. Friendship’s keel was laid in 1996 and she was certified by the US Coast Guard as a passenger carrying vessel in 2010.

The Friendship will depart Salem, MA on Sunday, August 7 for New York City and is expected to arrive at the Dennis Connor’s North Cove Marina on the Hudson River in Lower Manhattan on August 10. There the youth aboard will be joined by their peers from the NPS Gateway National Recreation Area and from Fort McHenry National Historic Site along with other students from New York City, Lowell, Massachusetts and Baltimore, Maryland. In total, nearly 100 urban youth will engage in the 3 day youth summit. The ship returns on August 16 to Salem.

About the Essex National Heritage Commission

The Essex National Heritage Commission (Essex Heritage) is the non-profit management entity for Essex National Heritage Area, one of forty-nine heritage partnership parks of the National Park Service. Working in collaboration with the National Park Service, Essex Heritage promotes public/private partnerships and develops and implements programs that enhance, preserve and encourage regional awareness of the unique historic, cultural and natural resources found within the Area. For more information, visit www.essexheritage.org or call (978) 740-0444.

About Salem Maritime National Historic Site

Salem Maritime National Historic Site was designated in 1937, the first National Historic Site in the National Park Service system. The nine acre site includes the homes of merchants and mariners, the Salem Custom House in which the famous author Nathaniel Hawthorne worked, and a replica of the three-masted cargo vessel Friendship. Today, the rangers and volunteers of Salem Maritime NHS continue to inform and inspire visitors with the maritime history of New England and the United States. For more information, visit www.nps.gov/sama or call (978) 740-1650.

See also:

Salem: America`s Spellbinding Seaport City

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June Begins a Summer Full of Fun In the National Wildlife Refuge System

May 26, 2011

Roseate spoonbills at Ding Darling National Wildlife Refuge, Sanibel Island, Florida, The National Wildlife Refuge system hosts wonderful events throughout the summer. © 2011 Karen Rubin/news-photos-features.com

Enjoy a summer of fun in the National Wildlife Refuge system.

National Fishing and Boating Week
What better time to teach a child to fish than on National Fishing and Boating Week, and what better place than a national wildlife refuge? Many refuges will host youth fishing derbies and other public events in June to mark this yearly celebration of fishing and boating, sponsored by the Recreational Boating and Fishing Foundation.

Refuge Events Calendar
Summer, glorious summer, ushers in a rush of family events on national wildlife refuges. Paddle trips, fishing rodeos, butterfly counts and scavenger hunts in the night sky are just some of the adventures planned. Come see why it’s always a good time to visit a national wildlife refuge.

The mission of the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service is working with others to conserve, protect and enhance fish, wildlife, plants and their habitats for the continuing benefit of the American people. We are both a leader and trusted partner in fish and wildlife conservation, known for our scientific excellence, stewardship of lands and natural resources, dedicated professionals and commitment to public service. For more information on our work and the people who make it happen, visit www.fws.gov.

See:

THE NATURAL WONDERS OF FLORIDA’S LEE COUNTY
From Ding Darling Wildlife Refuge on Sanibel Island to Manatee Park

Where to Be Wild in Palm Beach County and slideshow

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Happy Birthday, National Wildife Refuge System

March 11, 2011
Birthday Events at National Wildlife Refuges

San Diego National Wildlife Refuge manager Jill Terp helps children explore nature at a public event at the refuge. Many refuges will hold open houses to celebrate the Refuge System's 108th birthday on March 14 (photo credit: USFWS).

Scores of national wildlife refuges will be holding open houses and other special events to celebrate the Refuge System’s 108th birthday on March 14, 2011.

On March 14, 1903, President Teddy Roosevelt established the first national wildlife refuge on Florida’s Pelican Island to protect wild birds from bounty hunters. In the proclamation, President Roosevelt said: “Wild beasts and birds are by right not the property merely of the people who are alive today, but the property of unknown generations, whose belongings we have no right to squander.” He would go on to protect 52 more areas as wildlife sanctuaries before leaving office.

The President’s America’s Great Outdoors: A Promise to Future Generations, initiative is the result of a national conversation affirming America’s commitment to conserving and connecting with our outdoor heritage. Our national wildlife refuges provide opportunities for families to share time together and Americans to fish, hike, hunt and pass on proud outdoor traditions to our children.

Today, the Refuge System’s 553 national wildlife refuges and 38 wetland management districts support at least 700 species of birds, 220 mammals, 250 reptiles and amphibians, more than 1,000 species of fish and countless invertebrates and plants.

Just a few examples of refuge celebrations to be held on or around the birthday date follow. To find out if your local refuge has an event scheduled, use the “Find Your Refuge” feature on the Refuge System homepage. Or go to the Visitors tab on the yellow bar at the top of the page, and click on Special Events in the pull-down menu. Click on “Display All Events.” All events are listed chronologically.

  • Attend the Refuge System Birthday Bash!

Saturday, March 12, 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. — Patuxent Research Refuge, MD
Celebrate the birthday of the National Wildlife Refuge System. See animals close up and enjoy performances by Reptile World. Includes wildlife habitat tram tours and children’s activities and crafts. Learn more about Patuxent Refuge.

  • Enjoy an Open House in Honor of the Refuge System Birthday

Saturday, March 12, 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. — William L. Finley National Wildlife Refuge, OR
Celebrate the Refuge System’s birthday by taking part in free family events at the refuge. Take a free two-hour guided “behind the scenes” tour with refuge managers at 10 a.m. or 1 p.m. Advance registration is required. To reserve, call 541-757-7236. Take part in activities on prescribed fire, local wildlife and plants, law enforcement, wildlife photography and historic structures. Learn more about William L. Finley Refuge.

  • Attend a Family Event in Honor of the Refuge System Anniversary

Saturday, March 12, 1 p.m. to 4 p.m. — Black Bayou Lake National Wildlife Refuge, LA
An anniversary celebration, called “Walk Where the Wildlife Walks,” emphasizes refuge trails. Take a guided trail walk, try mystery geocaching or test yourself with challenge trail activities. Canoe the refuge’s expanded canoe loop trail. Learn more about Black Bayou Lake Refuge.

  • Attend a Birthday Event

Saturday, March 12, 9 a.m. to noon — Alligator River National Wildlife Refuge, NC
Enjoy a free tram tour, and learn why it’s important to preserve these and other public lands for generations to come. Learn more about the event. Learn more about Alligator River Refuge.

  • Attend the 19th Annual Pelican Island Wildlife Festival

Saturday, March 19, 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. — Riverview Park, Sebastian, FL
Celebrate the 108th birthday of Pelican Island National Wildlife Refuge and the National Wildlife Refuge System. Enjoy exhibits, wildlife shows, boat tours to Pelican Island, live music and kids’ activities. Learn more about the festival. Learn more about Pelican Island Refuge.

  • Hear an Anniversary Talk

Saturday, March 19, 10 a.m. to 11 a.m. —Eastern Neck National Wildlife Refuge, MD
Meet at the visitor contact station to hear an interpretive talk. Learn more about Eastern Neck Refuge at http://www.fws.gov/northeast/easternneck

  • Enjoy Sense of Wonder Day

Saturday, March 26, 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. — Bear River Migratory Bird Refuge, UT
In honor of the Refuge System’s birthday and the amazing work and life of Rachel Carson, there will be movies and lectures, crafts and activities, and outdoor fun for the whole family. Learn more about Bear River Refuge.

  • Enjoy a Refuge Open House

Saturday, March 26, 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. — St. Vincent National Wildlife Refuge, FL
Enjoy exhibits, hikes, nature trails, music, historical narratives, photo ops and more. Learn more about St. Vincent Refuge.

Other upcoming events at the National Wildife Refuge System:

Clean a Refuge for Earth Day
Earth Day, April 22, has been set aside since 1970 to celebrate the earth’s richness, recognize its fragility and educate people about protecting the planet. Many refuges will host public events.

Celebrate National Fishing and Boating Week
Many refuges will host public events in June to mark this annual celebration of fishing and boating, sponsored by the Recreational Boating and Fishing Foundation.

Focus on a Bird Festival
With so many national wildlife refuges located near one of the nation’s four major flyways, it’s no wonder refuges are favorite bird festival sites. Many festivals occur in April and May to coincide with spring migration and International Migratory Bird Day.

Celebrate National Wildlife Refuge Week
Plan ahead. National Wildlife Refuge Week, observed the second week in October, celebrates the important conservation work of America’s 553 national wildlife refuges.

Refuge Events Calendar
There is a National Wildlife Refuge within an hour’s drive of most major U.S. cities. Here is a sampling of upcoming refuge events.

For more information ,visit http://www.fws.gov.

See also:

Where to be wild in Palm Beach County, Florida and see slideshow

National Park Service Urges Visitors to Fire Island National Seashore to take measures against West Nile Virus-Carrying Mosquitoes

September 1, 2010

Fire Island National Seashore announced today that a sample of mosquitoes
infected with West Nile virus (WNV) has been found on Fire Island.  The
National Park Service collected the mosquitoes on August 20 from a light
trap at the Watch Hill employee housing area.

Residents, visitors and staff are advised to avoid being outside when
mosquitoes are most active (1 hour before sunset through midnight). Wear
protective clothing (shoes, socks, long pants, long-sleeved shirt and a
hat) and use an effective insect repellent, such as one containing at least
30% DEET. Non-DEET repellents (e.g. herbal-based sprays) are also
effective. (Use much less repellent for children; DEET should only be used
with extreme caution on children under age 3.)  People most at risk of
becoming ill from West Nile virus are those over 50 years of age or whose
immune system is impaired.  Such people are advised to stay away from areas with mosquitoes.

The WNV-infected mosquitoes were from a trap set by the Park as part of its
weekly monitoring program.  Testing was done by the New York State
Department of Health, Arthropod-Borne Disease Program, in Albany.  This
program is a collaborative effort between the Park and Suffolk County
Department of Health Services, which announced the positive results on
August 31.  The freshwater Culex species of mosquitoes in the pool that
tested positive for WNV is not thought to generate a major human health
concern, although this species does potentially bite people, and several
human cases of WNV have been documented in Nassau and Suffolk counties this year. No WNV-infected dead birds have been found this year in Fire Island National Seashore.

The National Park Service works closely with the Centers for Disease
Control (CDC), the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC), Suffolk County Vector Control, and local Fire Island and Long Island municipalities to determine the best course of action to protect residents, visitors and employees of the Seashore.  When threats to human health (such as the presence of West Nile virus) occur, actions to protect the public may include control methods such as applying larvicide or spraying.

The public will be notified 24 hours in advance of any spray event.

Information on the date and exact location of any spraying can be found on
the Suffolk County web site at http://www.suffolkcountyny.gov/health or by calling
631-852-4939.  Suffolk County Vector Control is currently authorized to
spray within the Fire Island communities using ultra low volume backpack or
truck-mounted sprayers.

The park is continuing its surveillance program to monitor the severity and
extent of West Nile virus in the Seashore. As per the Park’s standard
operation procedures, there will be an amplified surveillance in the area
where West Nile virus has been detected.

Mosquitoes can transmit both West Nile virus (WNV) and Eastern Equine
Encephalitis (EEE) from an infected bird to humans and other animals.
However, mosquitoes are a natural part of a healthy salt marsh ecology. The
larvae and adults provide food for many kinds of wildlife, including other
insects, fish, birds, and bats. Some measures taken to control mosquitoes,
such as spraying insecticides, can adversely affect non-target organisms,
possibly affecting fish and other species living in the wetlands.

Therefore, any actions taken to protect human health through the control of
mosquitoes must be weighed very heavily. Suffolk County Vector Control
reports that the materials and techniques they use are thoroughly reviewed
by the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), New York State Department of Environmental Conservation (NYS DEC) and Suffolk County in order to
minimize adverse impacts on fish and wildlife species or groundwater.

For general information on West Nile virus, contact your local
health department.  Information can also be obtained from the CDC, New York State or Suffolk County WNV web sites, or one of the park visitor centers.

For more information about Fire Island National Seashore’s mosquito
monitoring program, visit the park’s web site: www.nps.gov/fiis.