Denver – The U.S. Senate unanimously passed a resolution introduced by Colorado U.S. Senators Michael Bennet (D) and Cory Gardner (R) designating September 29, 2020 as National Urban Wildlife Refuge Day.
“I’m excited to see our resolution designating National Urban Wildlife Refuge Day pass the Senate,” said Bennet. “Coloradans understand the importance of protecting wildlife and accessing the outdoors, and places like the Rocky Mountain Arsenal Wildlife Refuge provide opportunities for hiking and wildlife viewing just outside of Denver. This resolution celebrates our commitment to conserving these places for future generations.”
“Urban wildlife refuges are essential to ensure people in urban areas are able to enjoy nature and the great outdoors,” said Gardner. “In Colorado, we are fortunate to have the Rocky Mountain Arsenal National Wildlife Refuge, the Two Ponds National Wildlife Refuge, and the Rocky Flats National Wildlife Refuge around our largest urban area. The Great American Outdoors Act, my landmark conservation legislation which was signed into law, will provide funding for maintenance needs at these refuges to further enhance the visitor experience. I was proud to work with Senator Bennet on this resolution to encourage Americans everywhere to enjoy the wildlife and outdoor recreation opportunities these refuges provide, and I’m pleased the Senate passed it unanimously.”
This resolution builds on Bennet and Gardner’s previous efforts to promote and fund wildlife refuges. The Great American Outdoors Act, which was signed into law in August with Bennet and Gardner’s support, provides full and permanent funding for the Land and Water Conservation Fund (LWCF) at a level of $900 million every year and billions of dollars to address the approximately $20 billion maintenance backlog on federal public lands, including wildlife refuges in Colorado.
The text of the resolution is available HERE and below.
Whereas over 80 percent of people in the United States live in or near cities, which typically have limited opportunities for residents to access nature and experience outdoor recreation;
Whereas the National Wildlife Refuge System under the United States Fish and Wildlife Service manages 568 national wildlife refuges that constitute a national network of land and water managed for the conservation of fish, wildlife, and plants in the United States;
Whereas national wildlife refuges provide opportunities for people to discover and appreciate nature;
Whereas there is a refuge located within a 1-hour drive of every metropolitan area in the United States;
Whereas the Urban Wildlife Conservation Program under the United States Fish and Wildlife Service—
(1) focuses on introducing people living in densely populated areas to the more than 100 national wildlife refuges near urban areas; and
(2) promotes wildlife conservation and the enjoyment of hunting, fishing, and other wildlife-dependent recreational activities close to where people live;
Whereas the Urban Wildlife Conservation Program focuses on public-private partnerships—
(1) to improve wildlife conservation; and
(2) to promote access to recreation on and off national wildlife refuges, including recreational activities such as hunting and fishing; and
Whereas by exploring community-centered approaches to ad- dress local needs, engaging the next generation of anglers and hunters, and providing infrastructure and safe access, the Urban Wildlife Conservation Program helps local organizations, cities, and towns across the United States engage in conservation activities: Now, therefore, be it
Resolved, That the Senate—
(1) designates September 29, 2020, as ‘‘National Urban Wildlife Refuge Day’’;
(2) encourages the United States Fish and Wildlife Service to increase access to outdoor recreational opportunities for urban communities; and