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The Billy Frank Jr. Nisqually National Wildlife Refuge is free for service members, their dependents, veterans and Gold Star families

Use the boardwalks to explore the Billy Frank Jr. Nisqually National Wildlife Refuge. Photo credit: Billy Frank Jr. Nisqually National Wildlife Refuge

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The Billy Frank Jr. Nisqually National Wildlife Refuge, located off of I-5's Exit 114, is a living testament to Billy Frank Jr.'s dedication to nature and culture. Established in 1974, it serves as a crucial habitat for various bird species, including the bald eagle, peregrine falcon, and great blue heron.

The refuge encompasses 3,000 acres of diverse wetlands, forests, and estuary habitats. These habitats are essential for countless species, providing breeding grounds, migratory stopovers, and wintering areas.

Billy Frank Jr. Nisqually National Wildlife Refuge has quickly become an increasingly important place for wildlife, especially migratory birds. Birds on their north and south migrations use the refuge as a stopover to feed and rest before continuing on their journey.

For others, it's the end of their flight and a place to spend winter. Songbirds arriving in the spring find places to nest and raise their young, and for resident birds, it's a year-round home. The refuge has recorded at least 250 species of birds, 95 species of fish, seven species of amphibians, and 60 insect species. 

The refuge is not only a sanctuary for wildlife but also a place of learning and engagement. It offers various educational programs and events that invite people of all ages to connect with nature and appreciate its value. Visitors can explore the visitor center, walk along boardwalks and trails, and participate in ranger-led programs that shed light on the importance of preserving natural habitats.

Visit your federal public lands for free with the America the Beautiful Pass. Active duty U.S. military members and their dependents are eligible for a free annual pass to enter federal lands.  Pass recipients must show a valid Department of Defense ID card in order to receive a pass. U.S. military veterans with a valid, veteran ID and Gold Star Family members with a Gold Star Family voucher are also eligible for a free lifetime pass. 

These passes can be picked up at the refuge office and visitor center from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. every day (including weekends), except federal holidays.

BILLY FRANK JR. NISQUALLY NATIONAL WILDLIFE REFUGE, open daily 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. (excluding federal holidays), 100 Brown Farm Rd. NE, Olympia,

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