July 21st, 2015

Did you Know…..

U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service archaeologist Eugene Marino urges national wildlife refuges to look at cultural resources as opportunities to engage visitors and build relationships with local communities. National wildlife refuges present fascinating history along with outstanding wildlife.

“We run the gamut,” says Marino. There are rice plantations in the South, prehistoric fishing sites in the Northwest, a steamboat in the Missouri River, historic homesteads across the West, dinosaur fossils throughout Montana, World War II resources in the Pacific and Alaska, Native American burial sites across the continent. “It never ceases to impress me – the breadth of history that we have on refuges.”

Here’s a sampling:


  • There are 10 National Historic Landmarks, 110 National Register-listed properties, 384 paleontological sites, 1,815 historic structures and 15,441 archaeological sites within national wildlife refuges? The Refuge System also manages about 4.2 million museum artifacts.
  • John Hay National Wildlife Refuge in New Hampshire consists of the former estate of John Hay, who was private secretary to Abraham Lincoln, ambassador to Great Britain and Secretary of State under Presidents William McKinley and Theodore Roosevelt? The historic buildings and immediate grounds and gardens are managed through an agreement with a Friends group. The remainder of the 164-acre refuge is managed for migratory birds and resident wildlife by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service.


  • The oldest evidence of American Indian presence at what is now Presquile National Wildlife Refuge in Virginia dates to 3000 B.C.?


  •  Legend has it that Britain’s navy used the 14-foot rock jutting out of a bay at Target Rock National Wildlife Refuge on Long Island, NY, for target practice during the Revolutionary War and the War of 1812?


  • From 1880 to 1910, what is now Blackbeard Island National Wildlife Refuge in Georgia was a federal marine quarantine station for yellow fever? Ships bound for U.S. southern Atlantic ports were required to report to the island for inspection and, if necessary, disinfection. Once disinfected, the ships were allowed to continue to their destination.


  • Kenai National Wildlife Refuge in Alaska is home to a handful of restored historical cabins built by early residents of the Kenai Peninsula; cabins can be reserved by the public for rustic lodging?


  • The Pony Express established a station in the mid-1800s at what is today the Thomas Ranch Watchable Wildlife Area at Fish Springs National Wildlife Refuge in Utah?


  • The site that is now Fort Niobrara National Wildlife Refuge in Nebraska was a U.S. military reservation from 1879 to 1906? It was established to keep peace between settlers and the Sioux Indians and to control cattle rustlers and horse thieves. During those 27 years, soldiers fought no recorded battles. The Army closed the fort in 1906, but it was used to supply fresh horses for the U.S. Calvary until 1911.


  • Kofa National Wildlife Refuge in Arizona derives its name from a prominent gold mine that was established near the turn of the 20th century – the King of Arizona (KofA) mine.



  • The namesake bird of Attwater Prairie Chicken National Wildlife Refuge in Texas is named for Henry Philemon Attwater, a naturalist and conservationist who was born in England and immigrated Canada before moving to Texas in 1889?


  • Izembek National Wildlife Refuge in Alaska is named after Karl Izembek, a surgeon aboard a Russian sloop, the Moller, that wintered in Bechevin Bay during the first coastal explorations of the area by white men in the 1820s?


  • Aroostook National Wildlife Refuge in Maine is situated on part of the former Loring Air Force Base, which played a key role in the Cold War with the Soviet Union? The U.S. Strategic Air Command (SAC) was stationed at the base from 1950 to 1994, flying long-range bombers capable of delivering nuclear weapons.

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