To learn more about the experiences of visitors to national wildlife refuges, the Human Dimensions Branch of the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service partnered with a team of social science researchers from the School of Environment and Natural Resources at The Ohio State University and staff from the American Conservation Experience (ACE).

The goal of this national visitor survey is to provide managers, planners, visitor services specialists, and others, including the public, with reliable baseline data about refuge visitors and their experiences at national wildlife refuges (NWRs). Survey results can inform the management and planning of visitor services, facilities, and experiences from a field station to national level. In particular, the results of this effort can inform site-specific management and planning efforts, decisions related to Comprehensive Conservation Plans (CCPs), associated step-down plans, and transportation plans, as well as national-level planning efforts and initiatives.

Results of this work reflect myriad recreation activities, trip characteristics, contributions to local economies, and beliefs about the importance and satisfaction of vital aspects of the National Wildlife Refuge System. More than 6,000 visitors have told us about their experiences at refuges nationwide, and we are excited to share those results with you!

Check out results for refuges sampled during 2018 and 2019, and explore which refuges were the focus of 2020 survey efforts before the COVID-19 pandemic. We are very excited to announce we will be back on-the-ground sampling at refuges during 2022!