More than 800 rocks, reefs and small islands off the Washington coast make up Quillayute Needles National Wildlife Refuge. The refuge was set aside by Teddy Roosevelt in 1907 to protect habitat for struggling seabird populations. Today the islands swell with raucous flocks of migrating seabirds in excess of a million during fall and spring migrations. With a 200-yard buffer zone around each island to protect the wildlife, this refuge is best enjoyed from the beach with spectacular views like this one. Photo by Melissa Hahn. From the Department of the Interior’s blog.
At only 315,000 acres (492 square miles), Izembek National Wildlife Refuge is the smallest refuge in Alaska. But as this little fox can show, you don’t have to be large to be special. Famous for its numerous and diverse inhabitants, wildlife at Izembek includes foxes, wolverines, caribou, moose, brown bears, shorebirds, seabirds and an incredible array of waterfowl. The waters offshore are home to salmon, sea lions, seals, otters, walruses, and whales. Getting here isn’t easy, but the reward is great. Photo by Kristine Sowl, USFWS. Photo from the US Department of the Interior’s blog.