Conserving the Future: Wildlife Refuges and the Next Generation is a national effort to craft a renewed vision for the National Wildlife Refuge System. The work of five core teams of U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service employees has been consolidated into this single, draft vision document for your comment and review until Earth Day – April 22, 2011. Click here to learn more about the vision process.

Download a copy (.pdf) of the draft vision. Please consider the environment before printing this document. You can also download a copy of the draft recommendations.

Start reading, reviewing and commenting with Chapter 1: Introduction or anywhere you want in the table of contents. Comments can also be emailed to

The transparency and collaborative spirit of this process has been possible through the power of partnership. The National Wildlife Refuge Association (NWRA) developed this interactive website as one means to openly engage diverse audiences to take part in lively conversations about the core teams’ focal areas, even as the core teams were writing their draft recommendations. The Association of Fish and Wildlife Agencies (AFWA) is an organization of State fish and wildlife agencies that promotes sound management and conservation. They speak with a collective voice on important fish and wildlife issues and they agreed to have the Chair of their Federal and Tribal Relations Committee serve on the Steering Committee for Conserving the Future along with the National Wildlife Refuge Association.

This draft vision document begins in Chapter 1 with a look back at the Refuge System’s history of dealing with urgent conservation challenges through innovation, perseverance and leadership. It goes on to describe how the challenges of a changing planet and America affect the Refuge System’s conservation work and mission. Chapter 2 explains the vision for planning, designing, and delivering strategic conservation in the future. Chapter 3 focuses on the importance of conservation science in managing the Refuge System. Chapter 4 – called Human – Nature – recommends how the Refuge System can connect people with America’s great outdoors and engage them in the stewardship of their Refuge System. Chapter 5 lays out recommendations for organizational excellence, and Chapter 6 addresses the need to ensure that leadership development keeps pace with the challenges facing the Service. The draft vision does not include a conclusion. A final chapter summarizing our collective call to action will be written only after the critical input from reviewers like you when the revised draft vision is published in July of 2011.


Read a final message related to the draft vision: “Not Yet a Conclusion“- comments can be left at the bottom of the pages of the draft vision document or emailed to

General comments are also welcome at the bottom of this page, particularly on overall issues of the document’s structure.