Celebrate National Wildlife Refuge Week Oct. 12-18

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:

2000: On June 9 that year, President Bill Clinton signed legislation creating the 197,000-acre Hanford Reach National Monument/Saddle Mountain National Wildlife Refuge. It was the first of its kind in the lower 48 states managed by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service.

870: The number of islands, rocks and reefs along the 100-plus miles of Pacific Coast contained within the Quillayute Needles National Wildlife Refuge.

70: The percentage of Washington’s seabirds that nest in habitat protected by three coastal refuges.

5.5: The length, in miles, of the Dungeness Spit, which is within the Dungeness National Wildlife Refuge.

300: The approximate number of Columbian white-tailed deer that live within the Julia Butler Hansen Refuge along the Columbia River.

81: The number of islands, islets, rocks and reefs that have been designated as wilderness within the San Juan Islands National Wildlife Refuge.

275: The number of bird species that use the Nisqually National Wildlife Refuge as a migration stop, wintering area or breeding location.

30: The approximate number of active bald eagle nest sites in the Lewis and Clark National Wildlife Refuge near the mouth of the Columbia River.

1 million: The approximate number of shorebirds that stop at the Grays Harbor National Wildlife Refuge in the spring and fall.

8: The number of units in Washington and Oregon that make up the Mid-Columbia River National Wildlife Refuge Complex. They include the Columbia and McNary refuges.

41,568: The size, in acres, of Little Pend Orielle National Wildlife Refuge in Northeast Washington. It is the only mountainous, mixed-conifer forest refuge in the lower 48 states.

165,000: The estimated number of annual visitors to Ridgefield National Wildlife Refuge. The refuge contains the historic native American townsite of Cathlapotle, visited by the Lewis and Clark Expedition in 1806.