Both the the Alligator River National Wildlife Refuge in North Carolina and the agency it falls under, the National Wildlife Refuge System, shared a birthday this week, with the former celebrating its 33rd year and the latter celebrating its 114th.
The Alligator River refuge was created on March 14, 1984 in Dare and Hyde Counties to protect 152,000 acres of pocosin, a type of forested wetland. According to the North Carolina Department of Natural and Cultural Resources, in the 1970s, wetlands were rapidly declining in the state due to draining, logging and farming, and scientists became alarmed, prompting the protection.
In 1986, the Red Wolf Recovery Project was initiated in the refuge to bring back the species’ declining populations. The park is open year-round to the public.
The National Wildlife Refuge System was also established on March 14, but in 1903, with the goal of conserving lands for fish, wildlife and plants under President Theodore Roosevelt.
The system today protects more than 850 million acres, five marine national monuments, 566 wildlife refuges and 38 wetland management districts.
- Read about the Alligator River National Wildlife Refuge
- More information on the 114th birthday of the National Wildlife Refuge System