Fish And Wildlife Service Applauded for Creating Urban Refuges

Two new national wildlife refuges which The Trust for Public Land helped create in urban areas were among a group of seven refuges honored today by Interior Secretary Ken Salazar at Pelican Island National Wildlife Refuge.

The Valle de Oro refuge in Albuquerque, N.M., and the Hackmatack refuge in southeastern Wisconsin and northern Illinois were named as part of a commemorative plank ceremony at Pelican, the nation’s original wildlife refuge.

“At The Trust for Public Land, we are always working to provide close-to-home chances for people to get outside and enjoy the outdoors,” said Will Rogers, President of The Trust for Public Land. “We’ve partnered with the Fish and Wildlife Service to establish two new refuges in urban areas – Valle de Oro NWR in Albuquerque, and the Hackmatack NWR near Chicago. We appreciate Secretary Salazar’s leadership as well as that of Fish and Wildlife Service Director Dan Ashe to make our wonderful system of national wildlife refuges as accessible to as many Americans as possible.”

The ceremony honored a total of six new refuges, along with one more which was renamed. The Trust for Public Land joined Secretary Salazar at the event to lay the new refuge commemorative planks on the Pelican Island boardwalk.

The Valle de Oro National Wildlife Refuge is on the Rio Grande River in southern Albuquerque, and within a 30-minute drive of half the state’s population. It was created when The Trust for Public Land acquired 390 acres of the former Price’s dairy, a long-term operation on the site. The Hackmatack National Wildlife Refuge includes an estimated 3.5 million people who live nearby, including the cities of Chicago and Milwaukee. Plans for the refuge call for expanded recreation and environmental education. The Trust for Public Land partnered with a variety of local partners on the project, chiefly Friends of the Hackmatack, a group of local residents whose work was the impetus for the refuge; Openlands; and the Illinois chapter of the Sierra Club.

Founded in 1972, The Trust for Public Land is the leading nonprofit working to conserve land for people. Operating from more than 30 offices nationwide, The Trust for Public Land has protected more than three million acres from the inner city to the wilderness and helped generate more than $34 billion in public funds for conservation. Nearly ten million people live within a ten-minute walk of a Trust for Public Land park, garden, or natural area, and millions more visit these sites every year.