Hackmatack National Wildlife Refuge Viability Study

Less than two hours by car from both the growing urban centers of Chicago and Milwaukee, this region faces steady development pressure. The State Wildlife Action Plans for both Wisconsin and Illinois cite fragmentation as a leading threat to the integrity of this region's habitats. While this area has a strong conservation heritage and an excellent base of conserved lands, these conserved habitats are at risk of becoming islands in a rising sea of development. As these wildlands become increasingly fragmented and degraded, the wildlife and plants that depend on this habitat mosaic continue to decline, as do the opportunities for experiencing these wild places.

For years, conservation organizations across the greater Chicago metropolitan area have worked to identify key lands for conservation, open space, and greenways and create a new wildlife refuge. This report addresses the question of whether the idea of creating Hackmatack National Wildlife Refuge make sense ecologically, economically, and socially.