Nearly 90 percent of Deer Flat National Wildlife Refuge visitors who answered a survey gave consistently high marks to all facets of their refuge experience, the refuge announced.
The survey, commissioned by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service and conducted by researchers with the U.S. Geological Survey, evaluated responses from nearly 400 adult visitors surveyed at the Lake Lowell Unit of the refuge in July 2010. Deer Flat was one of 53 national wildlife refuges surveyed.
According to the survey, most visitors to Deer Flat National Wildlife Refuge live in the local area and visit multiple times each year. Surveyed visitors participated in a variety of activities during the previous 12 months. The most popular activities cited were fishing (41 percent of those surveyed), wildlife observation (40 percent), hiking (39 percent), and motorized boating (36 percent).
The refuge is in the midst of a Comprehensive Conservation Plan that will guide future uses at the refuge. In the works for more than two years, the planning process has stirred controversy among local officials and residents who love traditional uses on and around man-made Lake Lowell and fear those uses may be curtailed. The federal wildlife service is expected to release a draft version of the plan within the next few weeks coming weeks.
In the visitors survey results, released Friday:
* 90 percent reported satisfaction with recreational activities and opportunities;
* 85 percent reported satisfaction with information and education provided by the refuge;
* 87 percent reported satisfaction with services provided by refuge employees or volunteers; and
* 89 percent reported satisfaction with the refuges job of conserving fish, wildlife and their habitats.
When you visit a refuge and see for yourself the amazing web of life this natural landscape protects, its hard not to come away impressed, said U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service Director Dan Ashe. You begin to understand what a treasure we Americans have at our doorstep. For most people, that appreciation deepens when they learn what staff are doing to conserve their wildlife heritage.
Deer Flat National Wildlife Refuge was established in 1909 to serve as a refuge and breeding grounds for migratory birds and other wildlife. The Refuge includes 10,000 acre Lake Lowell and the land surrounding the irrigation reservoir, plus a string of islands scattered along 113 miles of the Snake River.