State refuges see record visitors in 2010

Posted: Wednesday, February 16, 2011

ANCHORAGE — Wildlife officials say record numbers of people visited Alaska’s state refuges in 2010.

Joe Meehan of the Alaska Department of Fish and game says more than a million visits were recorded.

Destinations such as Potter Marsh in Anchorage and Creamer’s Field in Fairbanks reported 12 to 17 percent more visits than in 2009.

Alaska’s state refuge program began in 1960 when the Legislature created the Walrus Islands State Game Sanctuary in Bristol Bay. Today there are 32 refuges, sanctuaries and critical habitat areas with 3.2 million acres of fish and wildlife habitat.

They include sites such as the McNeil River and Stan Price sanctuaries, the Mendenhall Wetlands in Juneau, the Palmer Hay Flats, Goose Bay, and Minto Flats refuges, and the Beluga Wetlands in the Homer Airport Critical Habitat Area.

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