The refuge provides us with an outstanding opportunity for our future generations to have hands on exposure to nature that many children around the country do not get.
Relocation of the headquarters building makes sense economically, environmentally and socially. Currently the refuge has to keep equipment at several locations because of space limitations. Having the headquarters and a visitors area is equivalent to adding another visitors center to the peninsula, an addition onto our schools, and an additional tourist attraction! Nature activities such as bird watching are bringing in millions of dollars nationally per year and studies have shown that kids exposed to nature do better in school. The refuge provides a free place for teachers to add valuable skills and learning opportunities not found in the state curriculum.
The refuge is required by law to manage for the long-term health of the wildlife and habitat that supports that wildlife. This does not include single species management. When ecosystems are managed for one or two species there are dozens of species that are left out. It is important to remember that although we love to see the big animals, it is often the unseen components of an ecosystem that are the true indicators of health.
Will elk be pushed onto private lands? Is this really more likely to happen because of habitat restoration or because of an increase in development? The refuge provides land for the elk, and any other species, but development along the bay pushes wildlife closer.