The National Wildlife Federation Urges Americans to Stand Up for Wildlife Refuge, Buy a Duck Stamp

As the standoff at Malheur National Wildlife Refuge in Oregon continues, the National Wildlife Federation and its state affiliates are urging Americans to show their support for protecting wildlife habitats and public lands by buying Federal Duck Stamps.
“Whether a hunter, angler, birder, hiker, or wildlife enthusiast, every American benefits from the amazing public lands that have been protected for generations for the benefit of all Americans,” said Collin O’Mara, president and chief executive officer of the National Wildlife Federation. “By purchasing Federal Duck Stamps, we can show our strong support for conserving wildlife, enhancing wildlife refuges, and ensuring that America’s public lands remain accessible to all Americans.”

The Malheur National Wildlife Refuge is home to over 320 species of birds like snow geese and sandhill cranes, 58 species of mammals including mule deer, pronghorn, and bobcats, fish like native redband trout, and amphibians and reptiles such as Western rattlesnakes. Established in 1908 by President Theodore Roosevelt, the Refuge spans 187,000 acres (292 square miles) and is home to one of the largest freshwater marsh ecosystems in the western United States.

The occupation of the Malheur National Wildlife Refuge follows multiple unsuccessful state-level and Congressional efforts to privatize public lands, which are currently accessible to all Americans. These efforts have failed to gain traction in state legislatures across the West because, according to research by Colorado College, more than 95 percent of Western voters support keeping public lands in public hands.

“Our fishing and hunting privileges are carried by our investment in habitat. Investments in conservation programs such as the duck stamp only serve to grow our opportunities for sportsmen and women and now is the time to financially demonstrate the value of our wildlife refuges,” said Bob Rees, executive director of the Association of Northwest Steelheaders, the National Wildlife Federation’s Oregon state affiliate.

Duck Stamps were created in 1934 after President Franklin Delano Roosevelt signed the Migratory Bird Hunting Stamp Act into law.  The first stamp was illustrated by Jay Norwood “Ding” Darling, Director of the Biologic Survey (precursor to the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service), founder of the National Wildlife Federation, and famed political cartoonist. Since Darling’s time, the importance of conserving habitat and wildlife has only grown, as our population and the demands on our lands and resources have grown.

Today, ninety-eight cents of every dollar spent on Federal Duck Stamps go directly to restore waterfowl habitat or purchase vital habitat or acquire conservation easements for protection in the National Wildlife Refuge System, according to the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service. Every duck hunter in the U.S. must buy one every year as a contribution to wildlife conservation in America and other outdoor enthusiasts buy them to support wildlife and habitat. You can buy a Federal Duck Stamp at National Wildlife Refuges, select post offices, and many major sporting goods stores, or buy an Electronic Duck Stamp online.

Since 1934, more than 300 national wildlife refuges, including at least one in every state, were created or have been expanded using Federal Duck Stamp revenue, totaling more than 6.5 million acres.

“America’s National Wildlife Refuges support birds and other wildlife across North America, prized by the millions of hunters, birdwatchers, anglers, hikers and other outdoor enthusiasts, fueling local economies and drawing visitors from around the world,” said Dave Chadwick, executive director of the Montana Wildlife Federation, the National Wildlife Federation’s Montana affiliate. “Buying a Federal Duck Stamp is one simple but meaningful way we can show our support for keeping public lands in public hands.”

Sportsmen and women nationwide are speaking out for the importance of public lands and wildlife.

“National Wildlife Refuges are the cornerstone of public lands and wildlife conservation in America,” said Tim Gestwicki, CEO of the North Carolina Wildlife Federation, the National Wildlife Federation’s North Carolina affiliate. “The duck stamps that we sportsmen and wildlife enthusiasts purchase give us access to the public lands we cherish. And right now it’s prime duck hunting and peak migratory bird observations, so we value these special places that belong to all citizens all the more.”

National Wildlife Federation state affiliates are urging Americans to show their support for our national wildlife refuge system by buying Federal Duck Stamps.

"The vast majority of Americans highly value and support our public lands. Our national refuge system and other public lands are so vital to our wildlife, places that also contribute to our own wellbeing. This program is a great way to show your support. Buy a Duck Stamp," said Chamois Andersen, executive director of the Wyoming Wildlife Federation, the National Wildlife Federation’s Wyoming affiliate.

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