About the Refuge

The old fields, woods, streams, and wetlands found in the Johheronsn Heinz National Wildlife Refuge at Tinicumhad been, as recently as 1960, targeted for industrial expansion. Those plans were changed in 1972 when in response to intensive grassroots efforts by local citizens, Congress passed legislation which put the future of these lands into the hands of the U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service; these 1,200 acres would become a National Wildlife Refuge, and this refuge would become the nation’s very first National Environmental Center.

When Congress established it, they set three mandates by which the refuge should be managed:

  • Wherever possible, to restore wetlands;
  • To promote environmental education;
  • To provide wildlife-oriented recreation opportunities for visitors.We invite you to visit our refuge and to see for yourself just how well we have lived up to those Congressional mandates.
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