Review: America’s National Wildlife Refuges

America’s National Wildlife Refuges: A Compete Guide
by Russel D. Butcher
2003, First Edition

nwr complete guideAt the time of writing just over 530 units of the National Wildlife Refuge System with more than 93 million acres were included in this edition.

Author’s Note, foreward, prelude etc
Chapter 1 America’s Vanishing Wetlands
Chapter 2 A Brief History of the National Wildlife Refuge System
Chapter 3 Second Nature No More: The National Wildlife Refuge System Comes of Age
Chapter 4 The National Wildlife Refuge System (Descriptions Arranged Alphabetically by State)
Chapter 5 Friends and Other Refuge Support Organizations
Appendix, Index, etc

The bulk of this book is located in chapter four from pages 34-678. Entries are descriptive and list common birds, mammals, a bit about the flora and ecology. It does include type of access for instance autotour or hiking, facilities, and nearby towns. The one on Idaho’s Camas refuge starts on page 227 and ends a few lines over into 228. Images are restricted to sets of full color plates in sections separate from the text. There is no cross referencing from the text entries to the photos and does there does not seem to be a photo from every refuge. No maps are provided excepting one from 1919 in the America’s Vanishing Wetlands section.

This is a great comprehensive directory of National Wildlife Refuges (NWRs). I’m concerned that it is out of date and that there have been both additions and possible subtractions from the system. I would definitely buy and use this book if one of my life goals was to visit every (or almost every) NWR.

According to a reviewer on Amazon the second edition has fewer pages. To quote:
“Well, I live in Utah so it took but a minute to find out that while the first edition describes our two large refuges in 6-1/2 pages, Utah now lists just one refuge. The largest at 74,000 acres, Bear River Migratory Bird Refuge, is no longer even mentioned and the Fish Springs refuge at 18,000 acres has shrunk from 3-1/2 pages to less than 1/2 page. I have to assume the remaining 296+ missing pages suffered the same unfortunate fate as the missing 6 pages from Utah — deemed unimportant.” — JimFeet

If you’re going to buy this guide, definitely buy the first edition. And I recommend it for anyone doing extensive road tripping.

— Jenny

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