Refuge plans to celebrate

Published 12:00 am Thursday, February 27, 2003

The National Wildlife Refuge System is celebrating its 100th birthday on Friday, March 14 – and the Great Dismal Swamp and Wildlife Refuge will be honoring the event with special programs throughout this year and next.

The Great Dismal, like most federally-owned refuges across the country, will be kicking off the centennial celebration with an invitation-only event in early March, said Julie Rowland, a visitors services specialist at the swamp.

A big public event is going to be held in September, setting the stage for another year of recognition as the Great Dismal celebrates its 30th anniversary in 2004, Rowland said.


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&uot;We want tried to get it close to the date of the establishment of the refuge,&uot; she said. &uot;We thought it would be a good way to kick off our 30th anniversary.&uot;

The refuge was established on Aug. 24, 1974.

&uot;We also thought it would be a neat way to let people know we are here and open to the public,&uot; Rowland continued. &uot;We want people to realize what a great place this is just to get away and enjoy the outdoors for a day.&uot;

Members of the Great Dismal Swamp Coalition, as well as Lunette Brugeman, the city’s tourism director, and administrators representing Chesapeake and Gates and Camden counties in North Carolina, have been meeting for the refuge officials to help plan events for the past several months, Rowland said.

Plans call for offering special educational programs on the first Saturday of each month this summer.