Date of Award:


Document Type:


Degree Name:

Master of Science (MS)


Wildland Resources

Committee Chair(s)

Lawrence Royer


Lawrence Royer


Jessop B. Low


Perry J. Brown


Since its inception, the National Wildlife Refuge System has been administered for management and restoration of habitat essential to the propagation and welfare of resident and wintering wildlife species. Acquisition of additional System units has been primarily directed to the benefit of the migratory bird resource. As of July 1, 1968 about 250 of the 321 refuge units were managed for the waterfowl resource (U. S. Department of Interior, 1968a). However, this growth of the System has been accompanied by an increase in recreational use of the refuges. In 1962, Public Law 87-714, the Refuge Recreation Act, was passed to provide direction for recreational development. The Act recognized that recreation must be limited in type and scope to avoid conflict with the primary wildlife management objectives. Although the primary function of the Refuge System is to meet the needs of wildlife, the entire System is based on the philosophical precept that the wildlife on these refuges is for the enjoyment of the public. It thus follows that refuges should provide for some public use. In recent analyses of America's resource picture, the fastest rising curves and projection are those of travel and the recreational use of wildlands (Clawson, 1963). Attendance records at our wildlife Refuges have grown at a rate of 12 percent annually. Except for boating and fishing at reservoir sites, the fastest growth in outdoor recreation since World War II has been in the use of National Wildlife Refuges (Clement, 1964).