Adirondack Wildlife Refuge is OPEN!

To the editor:

Driving into Keene Valley last summer, I passed what looked like an injured cat in the middle of the road. In an attempt to help, I pulled over and jumped out of my truck, only to realize I was staring at a beaver! As anyone would, I decided the most reasonable thing to do was try and catch him, as he was still very much alive, though badly injured. My plan backfired when he bit me, but I was undeterred and called the only people I could think of who might be able to help. I called the Adirondack Wildlife Refuge.

It wasn’t the first time I’d called the Adirondack Wildlife Refuge over a critter in need. Be it an unfortunate deer in the middle of the road or a lonely bear cub up a tree in the middle of town, it was AWR I always sought for help. And each time I’d get the same response: “Have you called DEC (Department of Environmental Conservation) yet?” Despite how annoying I found that question to be (as AWR staff was always quick to respond and eager to help, unlike an overwhelmed and understaffed state agency), I now realize it’s part of the protocol they must follow in order to serve our community while maintaining compliance.

The Adirondack Wildlife Refuge enriches our region through its rehabilitative and educational services, not to mention the incredible economic engine it has become. We all know how frustrating paperwork and regulations can be – especially this time of year – and many can relate to mistakes made even while trying one’s best to comply with state and federal agencies. Still, AWR acknowledges that certain permits for rehabilitation were not renewed in a timely fashion or amended when additional animals were brought to the refuge.

However, the welfare of the animals at AWR was NEVER in question. The refuge has an outstanding record of rehabilitating hundreds of birds and mammals and releasing them back into the wild, like the emaciated and mange-infested bear cubs that were successfully rehabbed and released – in coordination with DEC – over the past few years.

That said, the refuge is very much OPEN, and the AWR staff is working diligently to comply with all requirements moving forward. I know this as a board member of Adirondack Wildlife Inc., a nonprofit sponsoring organization of the Adirondack Wildlife Refuge.

The Adirondack Wildlife Refuge was built from the ground up with true North Country grit and determination. As many know, it’s a very colorful and unique local gem. Please help spread the word to friends and neighbors that the refuge is open for business and its future is bright. While you’re at it, feel free to call the DEC’s Wildlife Bureau at 518-402-8920 or send an email to wildlife@dec.ny.gov to express your support for the Adirondack Wildlife Refuge.


Katie Wilson


Member of the Board of Directors of Adirondack Wildlife Inc.