If you are looking for a reason to get outdoors this week, consider celebrating at a national wildlife refuge during the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service’s National Wildlife Refuge Week.
The national system, which is 111 years old, includes more than 150 million acres in 562 refuges and 38 wetland management districts. More than 47 million people visited a refuge last year.
Nationwide, refuges support more than 35,000 jobs and pump $2.4 billion into local communities, according to a Fish and Wildlife Service report issued last year.
Here in Washington, there are 23 national wildlife refuges. They protect habitat for hundreds of species of birds, mammals and fish, and provide recreational opportunities from the scablands of Eastern Washington to the protected waters of Willapa Bay.
Here is a by-the-numbers look at some of the refuges in Washington: