The Minnesota Valley National Wildlife Refuge is less than 10 mi. (16 km) from downtown Minneapolis. It is one of only a handful of urban national wildlife refuges in the U.S. It is 14,000 acres (5,666 hec), and stretches 50 mi. (80 km) west along the Minnesota River from its mouth at the Mississippi River.
The refuge was established by the U.S. Congress in 1976 to provide habitat for migratory waterfowl, fish, and other wildlife threatened by commercial and industrial development. The National Wildlife Refuge System contains over 540 national wildlife refuges, encompassing over 93,000,000 acres (24,086,889,426 hec).
The Refuge offers a variety of free primitive and natural outdoor recreational experiences. Its recreation uses include: Wildlife observation, wildlife photography, hunting and fishing. The refuge also has two Education & Visitors Centers, with the main Center located 1 mile (1.6 km) east of the Mall of America.
Minnesota National Wildlife Refuge