Refuge AH-11 - History

Refuge AH-11 - History

Refuge

(AH-11: dp. 16,800; 1. 522'8"; b. 62'; dr. 26' (lim.); s. 11.5 k.;
cpl. 543)

The first Refuge (AH-ll), a hospital ship, was built in 1921 by New York Shipbuilding Corp., Camden, N.J., as SS President Madison for American President Lines. Acquired by the Navy from WSA 11 April 1942 for conversion to a troop transport, she was named Kenmore (AP-62), and commissioned at Baltimore, Md., 5 August 1942, Comdr. Myron T. Richardson in command.

Following Chesapeake Bay shakedown, Kenmore put in at Norfolk, Va., 6 September and embarked men and equipment of the 13th Marine Defense Battalion and the 18th and lOth Naval Construction Battalions. Departing the 19th, she touched at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, 24 September and steamed in convoy for the Pacific 4 October. Arriving off Noumea, New Caledonia, 11 Novemher, she deharked her troops and offloaded her cargo, then reported 19 November to Rear Adm. R. K. Turner, Commander, Amphibious Forces, South Pacific.

Kenmore departed Noumea 28 November as a unit of TF 62, arriving off the beach east of Togoma Point, Guadaleanal 3 December. There she offloaded troops and cargo for 2 days thence returned to Noumea ll December. She next steamed unescorted to San Francisco, arriving 5 January 1943 for overhaul at General Engineering & Drydock Co.

From 8 February until 27 May, Kenmore transported troops and cargo between San Francisco and the Hawaiian Islands. Departing San Francisco 13 June, she steamed for Noumea, arriving 6 July. A eall at Tenaru Beach, C'uadaleanal, 13 July was followed by a return to Noumea the 20th, with departure for the east coast of the United States 5 days later. She transited the Panama Canal 19 August, took on passengers at Cristobal, and steamed via Guantanamo for Norfolk, Va., arriving there 2 September. She then deeomluissiorled al Baltimore, Md., the 16th, for conversion to a hospital ship by the Maryland Drydock Co

Renamed Refuge and redesignated AH-11, the ship recommissioned at Baltimore 24 February 1944, Comdr. M. A. Jurkops in command. After partial fitting out at Baltimore she steamed 10 March for the Norfolk Navy Yard. Assigned to the Service Force, Atlantic, she commenced assisting in the transport of casualties from the war zones to the United States.

Departing Hampton Roads 20 April, Re.fuge embarked patients at Mers-el Kebir, Algeria, 6-8 May, and returned to Charleston, S.C., 24 May. From 1 June through 29 July 1944 she made two voyages to the British Isles, embarking patients at Belfast, Northern Ireland, Liverpool, England; and Milford Haven, Wales. These patients were returned to Newport News and Norfolk, Va.

Sailing again for the Mediterranean 2 August, she arrived Oran, Algeria the 17th, thence proceeded to the southern coast of France for operations between St. Tropez Bay and Naples, Italy. She departed Naples 16 Beptember with embarked patients, took on additional patients at Oran, then steamed for New York, arriving 6 October.

After overhaul at New York, Refuge departed l November for South Pacific duty with the Service Force, 7th Fleet. Touching at Humboldt Bay Duteh New Guinea, 16 December, she continued on 3 daysiater for the Philippines. Arriving San Pedro Bay, Leyte, on Christmas Eve, she commenced the embarkation of patients from small landing craft. By June 30th she had made six voyages from that area to deliver her casualties to either Hollandia New Guinea or Seeadler Harbor, Manus, the Admiralties. she departed Seeadler Harbor 1 July for Manila, where she received patients from various Fleet units through the end of August 194O.

Refuge departed Manila 31 August for Jinsen, Korea, arriving 8 September. She sailed on the 17th, embarked evacuees at Shanghai, China, thence steamed for Okinawa, arriving 2 October. She then made two voyages between Okinawa and Tsingtao, China through 20 October.

After embarking patients and troops for return to the United States, Refuge departed Okinawa 22 October, took on additional patients at Saipan, and arrived San Francisco 18 November. Overhaul took her through 9 December, and 2 days later she departed for Yokosuka, Japan, arriving 4 January 1946. After embarking Army troops for transportation to the United States, she departed 7 January and returned to Seattle, Wash., the 28th.

Refuge decommissioned at Seattle 2 April 1946. Her name was struck from the Navy list 8 May 1946 and she was delivered to the War Shipping Administration 29 June 1946. She was sold for scrap to Consolidated Builders 2 February

Refuge received one battle star for World War II service


USS Refuge (AH-11)

USS Refuge (AH-11), was a hospital ship of the United States Navy during World War II. The ship was built in 1921 by the New York Shipbuilding Corp., of Camden, New Jersey, as SS Blue Hen State, but was renamed President Garfield in 1923 and then SS President Madison in 1940 for service with American President Lines. Acquired by the Navy from the War Shipping Administration on 11 April 1942 the ship was commissioned as the transport USS Kenmore until conversion to a hospital ship.


Talk:USS Refuge (AH-11)

The section regarding the ship and its voyage from the Dutch East Indies, 21 December 1941 is misleading at best. The YouTube account, though not a legitimate reliable source, seems reasonable as far as a missionary's recollections. The unescorted voyage through the Indian Ocean and around to New York with subs and German raiders would have been—and was—a tense time. The 1939 NYT reference related to escaping submarines being the source of "Phantom ship" is baloney. The war in the Indo-Pacific was some time off, though Japan was offering to "protect" the Dutch colonies after war in Europe began. That "Phantom ship"—and the article is behind a pay wall—most likely applies to a period of layup during which a June 1, 1939 Vashon Island News-Record Summary states that "once proud S.S. President Madison (perhaps not even this one as the name changes were going on near that time) "has been dismantled and is deserted by all except two watchmen who are on duty alternate day and night shifts." Palmeira (talk) 00:35, 24 July 2015 (UTC)

The other two ships of this type covered as of 25 July 2015 mention a confusion between "502" Type and "522" Type. That seems to be a modern "confusion" and not supported by professional contemporary references. Contemporary industry references use "502" Type, the "502s" or the 502-foot class through the 1930s. This was in contrast to their larger "sisters" the "535" Type, the "535s" or the 535-foot class. Just a few references:


AP-62 KenmoreAH-11 Refuge

SS Blue Hen State [a nickname of Delaware] was laid down on 04 March 1920, for the Emergency Fleet Corp., under USSB Contract # 2591, at New York Shipbuilding Corp., Camden, N.J., assigned to the United States Mail Line. Launched on 23 February 1921, she was delivered, 6 July 1921 and laid up until March 1922. She was operated for the U.S. Shipping Board by U.S. Lines in North Atlantic service from 1921 to 1923. Renamed SS President Garfield in May 1922, she was transferred to the United States Lines in August 1922, and sold to the Dollar Line in August 1923. On 3 June 1938 the Dollar Steamship Line Inc. was suspended from operation. On 15 August 1938, the new Federal Maritime Commission took ownership of the Dollar line. On 1 November 1938, the company convened for the first time. At that meeting, the name of the company was changed to American President Lines Ltd. The American President Lines was owned by the US Government.

She was transferred to American President Lines in 1938, and renamed SS President Madison. SS President Madison was chartered by USN to bring the 2nd battalion, 4th regiment of "China Marines" from Shanghai to the Philippines during November 1941. On 27-28 November 1941 the 4th United States Marines were evacuated from Shanghai aboard SS PRESIDENT MADISON and SS PRESIDENT HARRISON, but six men failed to board and were left behind.

AP-62 Kenmore

Acquired by the Navy from WSA 11 April 1942 for conversion to a troop transport, she was named Kenmore (AP-62), and commissioned at Baltimore, Md., 5 August 1942, Comdr. Myron T. Richardson in command. Following Chesapeake Bay shakedown, Kenmore put in at Norfolk, Va., 6 September and embarked men and equipment of the 13th Marine Defense Battalion and the 18th and 19th Naval Construction Battalions. Departing the 19th, she touched at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, 24 September and steamed in convoy for the Pacific 4 October. Arriving off Noumea, New Caledonia, 11 November, she debarked her troops and offloaded her cargo, then reported 19 November to Rear Adm. R. K. Turner, Commander, Amphibious Forces, South Pacific.

Kenmore departed Noumea 28 November as a unit of TF 62, arriving off the beach east of Togoma Point, Guadalcanal, 3 December. There she offloaded troops and cargo for 2 days, thence returned to Noumea 11 December. She next steamed unescorted to San Francisco, arriving 5 January 1943 for overhaul at General Engineering & Drydock Co.

From 8 February until 27 May, Kenmore transported troops and cargo between San Francisco and the Hawaiian Islands. Departing San Francisco 13 June, she steamed for Noumea, arriving 6 July. A call at Tenaru Beach, Guadalcanal, 13 July was followed by a return to Noumea the 20th, with departure for the east coast of the United States 5 days later. She transited the Panama Canal 19 August, took on passengers at Cristobal, and steamed via Guantanamo for Norfolk, Va., arriving there 2 September. She then decommissioned at Baltimore, Md., the 16th, for conversion to a hospital ship by the Maryland Drydock Co.

AH-11 Refuge

[displacement 16,800 length 522'8" beam 62' draft 26' (limiting) speed 11.5 knots complement 543)]

Renamed Refuge and redesignated AH-11, the ship recommissioned at Baltimore 24 February 1944, Comdr. M. A. Jurkops in command. After partial fitting out at Baltimore, she steamed 10 March for the Norfolk Navy Yard. Assigned to the Service Force, Atlantic, she commenced assisting in the transport of casualties from the war zones to the United States.

Departing Hampton Roads 20 April, Refuge embarked patients at Mers-el-Kebir, Algeria, 6-8 May, and returned to Charleston, S.C., 24 May. From 1 June through 29 July 1944, she made two voyages to the British Isles, embarking patients at Belfast, Northern Ireland Liverpool, England and Milford Haven, Wales. These patients were returned to Newport News and Norfolk, Va.

Sailing again for the Mediterranean 2 August, she arrived Oran, Algeria the 17th, thence proceeded to the southern coast of France for operations between St. Tropez Bay and Naples, Italy. She departed Naples 16 September with embarked patients, took on additional patients at Oran, then steamed for New York, arriving 6 October.

After overhaul at New York, Refuge departed 1 November for South Pacific duty with the Service Force, 7th Fleet. Touching at Humboldt Bay, Dutch New Guinea, 16 December, she continued on 3 days later for the Philippines. Arriving San Pedro Bay, Leyte, on Christmas Eve, she commenced the embarkation of patients from small landing craft. By June 30th she had made six voyages from that area to deliver her casualties to either Hollandia, New Guinea or Seeadler Harbor, Manus, the Admiralties. She departed Seeadler Harbor 1 July for Manila, where she received patients from various Fleet units through the end of August 1945.

Refuge departed Manila 31 August for Jinsen, Korea, arriving 8 September. She sailed on the 17th, embarked evacuees at Shanghai, China, thence steamed for Okinawa, arriving 2 October. She then made two voyages between Okinawa and Tsingtao, China through 20 October. After embarking patients and troops for return to the United States, Refuge departed Okinawa 22 October, took on additional patients at Saipan, and arrived San Francisco 18 November. Overhaul took her through 9 December, and 2 days later she departed for Yokosuka, Japan, arriving 4 January 1946. After embarking Army troops for transportation to the United States, she departed 7 January and returned to Seattle, Wash., the 28th. Refuge decommissioned at Seattle 2 April 1946. Her name was struck from the Navy list 8 May 1946 and she was delivered to the War Shipping Administration 29 June 1946. She was sold for scrap to Consolidated Builders 2 February 1948. Refuge received one battle star for World War II service.


Refuge AH-11 - History

“Throw me to the wolves &
I'll return leading the pack”







Cree Howling, pastel by Wendy Hall


As we said goodbye to our wolf pack leader, Cree on April 5 th , 2020, it occured to us that his history is pretty much the history of the Adirondack Wildlife Refuge. Cree was born in early May of 2006, and came to us about a month later on June 9 th , a wolf hybrid pup of 75% gray wolf and 25% malamute. There had been a 2 year stretch since we last had wolves, and Cree lived with two adopted mutt brothers, Roscoe and Sammy, who were about 3 years old, and an older Pug named Rosie, who actually served as Cree’s surrogate mother.

We’ve owned the 60 acres which became the Adirondack Wildlife Refuge since January 2000, and lived up here since October 2002. The only structure on the property when we moved up here was the house we live in, Ausable Lodge, above, and our only dog was a wolf hybrid named Chino, who had returned from Alaska with us in 1990.


Chino was about the calmest, friendliest hybrid we'd ever met, hiked all over the High Peaks with me, and got along well with other dogs. We adopted a couple of mutt brothers, Sammie and Roscoe, both of whom had sweet dispositions, ran free, swimming in the west branch of the Ausable with Chino, and running around the property, which consisted mainly of red and white plantation pine, several drainage streams and sloughs, a few bogs and meadows, and plenty of wildlife. Chino died in 2004 when he was 14 years old.


We adopted Cree in 2006. Cree lived a fun filled, rough and tumble life with Roscoe and Sammy, who weighed about 60 pounds each, and even as a small pup, Cree never hesitated to scrap with the much larger brothers, as well as with our two female cats, Ruthie and Creamcheese, both of whom delighted in baiting and tormenting the hapless canids. Rosie the pug was always a close companion of Cree’s and seemed to mother him, but also never took any nonsense from him, barking and snapping at him when he’d bat her small pudgy body around.

Wolves are pretty much full grown within 9 months, as mammals are born in the Spring and better not be small when Winter returns, and Cree quickly outgrew his companions, and their roles reversed with Cree physically dominating the brothers, who grew to resent Cree’s ascendency. Cree, in turn, resented their unwillingness, with their roles reversed, to play rough, and when Cree was about six months old, it became clear, with deer, porcupine and coywolves fairly common on the property, he’d need his own enclosure.


He lived outside with Sammy for a few years, and as he became more acclimated to the sounds and smells of the Adirondacks, he became more reluctant to come inside the house. At the same time, it grew increasingly clear that he needed a companion to share his time and enclosure with. Sammie was worn out with having to live with the rough play of a wolf, and Cree had made friends with a raven we called Abie, who had come to us for rehab, and was in an enclosure near Cree’s, and we discovered them hanging out, performing duets with Cree howling and Abie doing those wonderfully diverse chortles ravens do.

In June 2009, we adopted four week old Zeebie, a pure gray wolf pup. Cree quickly fell into the role of surrogate father, but as he experienced what it was like for him to raise a wolf pup, he became much less aggressive in his play, and more protective of Zeebie, like going from being a carefree teen to a Dad with responsibilities.

Wendy and Alex and I were always exploring and hiking all over the property every day, and first Cree, Rosie, Roscoe and Sammy, and later Cree and Zeebie would accompany us. Photographer friends as well as visitors to the Refuge, would accompany us on what came to be called the “Wolf Walk”, and a tradition was born. Kiska, a young female wolf and the only survivor of a litter of five wolf pups, joined us in 2014, and the Wolf Walk, visitors following us with the wolves, who were on long chains, through the woods and meadows, and along the sloughs, became too popular and too crowded, and the DEC expressed their unease with visitors walking with wolves.

Meanwhile, Wendy was becoming more and more involved in rehabbing of wildlife, something which started out as a weekend hobby 35 years before. When you rehab wildlife, anywhere from 50 to 60% will recover and end up going back into their habitats. Maybe half of the remainder will die, and the other half will survive if we feed them, but their days of making a living in nature are basically over. This last group, of course, become the ambassador mammals and raptors visitors to the Wildlife Refuge get to view and learn about. There is important information, and many lessons learned from this process, and we built a dedicated cabin for Rehab, above.

The wolves and bears are captive bred animals, who aid us in teaching visitors about how nature works, wolves because they are what are called keystone predators, heavily involved in helping to maintain the balance of nature, and the bears because they are indicator species, whose health, knowing what they eat, teaches us about what is working in their habitats and what is not.


We've rehabbed and released wild bears for about 8 years, working with the NY Department of Environmental Conservation. We fix 'em, and they help us release them. Our most famous bear release was Barnabelle Bear, shown before and after in the 3 photos above to the right, who not only survived a terrible case of starvation and mange, but recovered enough to give birth to two cubs in January about four years ago. Bear sows have an interesting feature called delayed implantation, where they mate in the Summer, but don't get pregnant until November, and Barnabelle was released with her cubs the following May. We never let visitors meet wild bears, yet bears are a great introduction to how nature works, as they are an indicator species, meaning their challenges surviving often tell us what's lacking in their habitats. The green Bear Rehab building on the left is where we rehab bears, and that's off limits to visitors.


We adopted two bear cubs in January of 2017, to use as educational ambassador animals. Ahote and Luvey are the ones you meet when you visit the Wildlife Refuge. They famously escaped briefly in the Spring of 2018, making an amusing media splash. In a major anti-climax, Luvey followed me and Hanna home for 4 miles through the woods. Two days later, Ahote, who had become separated from Luvey, followed Hanna and Caroline home one mile through the woods . Our wandering bears had to live in the bear rehab building for a month, while we performed the necessary renovations to prevent future escapes.

Sylvia, above, one of our flightless bald eagles became key to Adirondack Wildlife Inc. becoming a non-profit, as U.S. Fish and Wildlife wouldn’t allow us to house eagles or use them for education purposes without becoming a non-profit. Adirondack Wildlife is actually two organizations. Adirondack Wildlife Inc. is the 501c3 non-profit. Adirondack Wildlife Refuge LLC is the "contractor" who does all the Rehab, Education, etc., and which turns over all donations to the non-profit. We had to set up this way, as everything the Refuge does is carried out on land owned by Wendy and Steve, which, if we were also the non-profit, would be a conflict of interest violation in the eyes of the IRS. This is why when you make a donation to Adirondack Wildlife, the acknowledging receipt comes from Adirondack Wildlife Inc.

Anyway, after months of work by board members and employees, and several go rounds with the IRS, we earned our non-profit status effective August 6 th , 2010, and there has been incredible growth at the Refuge since then. Recall that we are a tiny organization on a shoestring budget, lacking the millions of dollars in grants that larger orgs like zoos routinely garner. 80 to 90% of our income still comes from visitors making donations, so like all small companies struggling during the pandemic, it’s tough to make payroll.


Back to the wolves, we could see plainly that the wolves required a larger enclosure, which would allow us to do educational presentations for the much larger groups that were showing up to see the wolves and other animals. One of our former board members secured a grant from a family fund to build the new wolf enclosure, and the South Burlington Big Picture High School volunteered about twenty teachers and students (above) to stay with us for several days, helping us build the new enclosure, even returning in Spring of 2019 to help us renovate the newer black bear enclosure.

The idea of the wolves living up in their new, larger enclosure without human supervision and protection, seemed like a bad idea, as in the evening, while we're sleeping at Ausable Lodge on the river, 1/4 mile further down the driveway, anyone could drive down to the Public Fishing Access easement parking lot on our property. The fact that the wolves often howl in response to smells, sounds or sights in their habitat, or because they just feel the urge, sometimes draws curious travelers. To protect the wolves, we decided to install a pre-built, one room log cabin to serve as a place for an employee to spend the night, and later added a tool barn, which also included freezer and refrigerator for wolf and bear food. The "Public Fishing Access" has caused us some amount of confusion and conflict, as now and then, we get a visitor who mistakenly believes the easement makes the Refuge state owned land, while the easement legally pertains only for licensed fishermen to access the trail down to the Ausable River, which is on our land, and for which we reive no payment from New York State or the DEC.


Today, there are two miles of cobwebbed trails traversing the north half of the Refuge, bringing Refuge visitors hiking access to meadows, sloughs, bogs and the Ausable River. Snowshoeing and cross country skiing on the frozen Ausable River is a fun activity in Winter. Some hikers get lucky and see moose, black bear, beaver, porcupine, weasels, raptors and coywolf. Not to worry, the wild bears and coywolves you could see at the Refuge fear people because, while hunting is not permitted on Refuge Property, bears and coywolves fear people because of the hunting seasons, and the weapon of choice is the camera, but you better be quick as these animals flee. The few moose sightings were in the moose slough, and as long as you don't approach, moose tend to keep browsing, and occasionally just look at you.


In December of 2017, we began the construction of the Welcome Center, above, whose four wide plate glass windows fronted on the Wolf Enclosure, permitting visitors to see the wolves up close, even in cold or rainy weather. This was a huge step forward, as we could still exercise the wolves on the two miles of trails north of the Welcome Center and wolf enclosure, before visitors arrived in the morning for the wolf presentations, and we could accommodate much larger groups of visitors for the presentations, and starting two years ago, the bear presentations. We never allow visitors to meet wild bears in rehab, as they must remain frightened of humans if they are to have a successful release. The two bear sows visitors meet are captive bred bears, used strictly for education.


One of the most interesting things you discover when working with higher mammals like wolves and bears is that they’re exactly like people in the sense that they all have unique personalities, complete with different likes and dislikes, and different skills and liabilities. Cree raised Zeebie as though he was Zeebies’ alpha male, which can be another name for “Dad” in a wolf pack, and Zeebie in turn raised Kiska (above), a good thing, as Cree has never particularly liked Kiska, a complicated wolf who is harder to work with. At the same time, key handlers like myself, Alex, Hanna, Mike and John, spent a great deal of time with the wolves since they were days old, allowing the wolves to imprint on us and learn to trust us, important considerations when working with large animals which could conceivably hurt you.

It’s a system that works, as in 30 years of working with wolves and wolf hybrids, we’ve never suffered any injuries or dangerous confrontations. Cree, Zeebie and Kiska behaved very much like a small pack, with their handlers being alphas when they are present.

By two years ago, Cree was showing signs of arthritis, and we were seeing some bullying by the younger wolves. Cree had dominated the younger wolves for years without being obnoxious about it, and often, when the younger wolves wanted to rough house or steal food etc., Cree would bare his teeth and give a low growl which was persuasive enough to get the younger wolves to back down.

On the one hand, there are great similarities between the structure of a human family and a wolf pack. My book, “Wolves, Humans, Dogs and Civilization”, argues that creating dogs out of those wolves, probably omega wolves who found it easier to make a living by hanging around our ancestors camp fires and stealing food from us, to such an extent that for three quarters of our history with so-called “dogs”, they were just gray wolves.


During the Agricultural revolution, which began roughly fifteen to ten thousand years ago, we switched from being wandering nomads and became more tied to the land, our lives becoming much more complicated, and that meant not only did people have to learn new tricks, so did our wolves, and we began breeding wolves with specific skills to help us in our new roles as farmers and livestock keepers, and just as working with wolves gave homo sapiens a huge advantage over other humans who basically went extinct 30,000 years ago, during the Agricultural Revolution, tamed and trained wolves enabled humans to dominate and control other animals, and ultimately, dangerously today, nature itself. On the other hand, family politics in a wolf pack are a lot less subtle, and when you’re an alpha, there are times when you need to remind other pack members who the decision maker is, and who’s in charge, and that usually works.

The problem we faced with the three wolves was this: we always considered Zeebie our “wildest” wolf, slow to trust you and more anxious to maintain his distance. Cree, on the other hand, was like everyone’s favorite uncle, more accepting of other people, and uniformly pleasant and affectionate. Cree was always the town crier, alerting the other two wolves to the presence of dogs or other wildlife, by beginnng and ending howling, which is just more language. With Cree’s gradual descent into old age, we thought Zeebie might try to take over, but Zeebie is not a leader, and Kiska has figured out how to dominate Zeebie when there is something important at stake, such as access to food. What to do….

We decided to separate Cree out from the others in May 2018, but right next door in an adjoining enclosure, so that they could still interact, where the younger wolves would not be able to coerce or control Cree, unless the handlers were present, which of course immediately changes the power relationships anyway. So Cree continued to be walked with the other two wolves, who were quite respectful of Cree. In addition, when John is here from May through early November, he’d walk Cree by himself three days a week, so Cree was actually getting more exercise than the younger wolves, sometimes going out on the trails twice a day.

One difficulty with the new Welcome Center at the Refuge was that it was also supposed to serve as an education center where we’d give classes on wolves, bears, rehab etc., but last year 50,000 people visited the Wildlife Refuge, and it became impossible to do the classes in the wide open single room of the Welcome Center, where visitors are registering for a visit, or browsing through sweat shirts, photographs and coffee mugs.


One family’s tragedy led to a solution for the education center, when a brilliant and beautiful young graduate of SUNY ESF, the Ranger School, Kayla Hanczyk, died of bile duct cancer, and her shattered family decided to raise money on FaceBook for a memorial to their daughter, who was a wolf lover. They asked for $1,000 on FaceBook, and the Public responded with $20,000, to which Kayla’s employer Northline Utilities donated another $10,000. The Hanzcyks are one of these large, closely integrated families with lots of love, and everyone is so talented, they all built their own houses. They knew we needed a new Learning Center, and they decided to provide the labor, and working as a team, build the Kayla Hanzcyk Memorial Learning Center, a structure that will probably be ready by late May, located down by the ambassador Eagles enclosures, with a nice view of the mountains and river.

About two months ago, we noticed a fairly dramatic slow down in Cree’s mobility. A blood test added kidney failure to the arthritis, and by late March 2019, Cree would try to howl and could not do so, and about a week later, it became clear that he could no longer walk with us, and there was some evidence of vision failure, as he appeared to be trying to locate me with his nose, when I was standing right next to him. We all know death is inevitable, particularly in these scary times of pandemic. but even when the problem is that your old body is worn down, and there is no reverse, nothing to delay what is happening, our memories of good times keep us from letting go.

We all found ourselves individually weeping on and off, with Cree, always a gallant soul, trying to comfort each of us, placing his head in your lap, and trying to look at you, like he knew there was nothing to do other than wait for the end, which came at 5 PM on Friday, shortly after Alex arrived. Over his 14 years, Cree introduced thousands of visitors to the interesting world of a keystone predator, and how the role of wolves helps drive the balance of nature, and eventually led to man's best friend. We loved having so many of you meet Cree, and we're gratified that you have always supported the Adirondack Wildlife Refuge, and what we do.

We separated from the 501c3 Adirondack Wildlife Inc. on September 4th, 2020, with the intention of setting up our own non-profit.


Refuge AH-11 - History

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Jamaica Bay Wildlife Refuge Visitor Center: Explore the flora, fauna and history of Jamaica Bay. Restrooms are available.
Phone Number: (718) 318-4340. The visitor center is currently closed, but restrooms are open to the public.
Hiking Trails: You can walk completely around the West Pond. There are also short walking trails on the east pond. Bird blinds are on both of these paths.
Bike racks: Please park your bikes on the racks. Bikes are not allowed on the trails at the Wildlife Refuge.

  • Belt Parkway to Exit 17 S, Cross Bay Boulevard.
  • Proceed south on Cross Bay Boulevard across the Joseph Addabbo - North Channel Bridge.
  • The Visitor Contact Station is approximately 1.5 miles past the bridge on the right.
  • Turn right at traffic light for Visitor Contact Station parking.

From the South (and alternate route from other directions):

  • Beach Channel Drive to the Cross Bay - Veterans Memorial Bridge.
  • Cross the bridge toward Broad Channel.
  • Follow Cross Bay Boulevard through Broad Channel, about 1 mile.
  • Turn left at traffic light into the Visitor Contact Station parking lot.

The Slide Show

The Last Great Wilderness slide show was created by a group of amateur activists in the late 1980s. The music, images, and narration are a product of their time, but the show’s message and content seem surprisingly fresh and relevant today. Indeed, the show broke from conventional portrayals of the “last great wilderness” to present the Arctic Refuge in a broader frame. Beginning with the simple evocation of nature scenes, it becomes steadily more complex and wide-ranging to encompass wildlife migrations, Indigenous rights, and the need to transition to a more sustainable energy system. The show played a vital role in building alliances between environmentalists and the Gwich’in Nation and in fostering grassroots action to keep oil drills out of the Arctic Refuge.

Timeline & Sources

Events & Writing

Book & Author

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Funding for this website project provided by the Symons Trust Fund for Canadian Studies (Trent University) and an
internal SSHRC Exchange Grant—Knowledge Mobilization Activities (Trent University) .

Project Management and Content Development by Elisabeth Balster Dabney. Design by Frolic Design.

Photographs on this page by Subhankar Banerjee and Peter Mather (book cover image).


2011 also saw the arrival of Executive Director Nina Simon. When she took the reigns, we were struggling to recover from the economic downturn. Once again, we saw a way to turn a crisis into a creative opportunity. We realized that we could do more than right the ship, but instead sail into uncharted waters and fundamentally change how we connect with and serve Santa Cruz County.

We changed our museum by changing its purpose: from being a place for art and history to a place that uses art and history to build community. Nina came to the MAH having helped hundreds of cultural organizations become more relevant and connected to their communities. Here in Santa Cruz County—a place full of creative, courageous dreamers—she knew that vision could reach its full potential.

Nina’s realization was that in order to remain relevant, a local museum needs to be a place that truly reflects the diversity of its community. It must be a place where local partners drive the creation of exhibitions and events. The MAH is now a shining example of this vision at work, and a leader around the world for our dedication to being of, by, and for our community.


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In Comanche County in southwestern Oklahoma, the Wichita Mountains National Wildlife Refuge, Oklahoma's largest wildlife refuge, contains more than 59,000 acres. In 1901, prior to the Kiowa-Comanche-Apache Opening, Pres. William McKinley proclaimed a portion of the mountains as the Wichita Forest Reserve, assigned to the Forestry Division of the General Land Office of the U.S. Department of the Interior. In 1905 the reserve was transferred to the Bureau of Forestry under the U.S. Department of Agriculture. Later that year, after Congress passed a bill authorizing a federal wildlife refuge, Pres. Theodore Roosevelt issued a proclamation creating the Wichita Forest and Game Preserve as the nation's first big-game animal (and other native wildlife) refuge. Earlier, Roosevelt had established several national bird sanctuaries. In 1906 Roosevelt issued a second proclamation, adding 3,680 acres to the refuge. In 1907 the park became the Wichita National Forest and Game Preserve when all forest reserves were reclassified as National Forests. In 1936 Congress renamed the area the Wichita Mountains National Wildlife Refuge and transferred it to the Bureau of Biological Survey. In 1939 federal refuges moved back to Department of Interior control. In 1940 the Biological Survey and the Bureau of Fisheries combined to become the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, which continued to administer the Wichita refuge into the twenty-first century.

The establishment of a national preserve in southwestern Oklahoma culminated a regional movement to protect the shrinking bison population and to gain a national park for the imminent state. The Oklahoma City Commercial Club, one of the early and more influential groups, campaigned locally and nationally for the park. In 1905 the New York Zoological Park (later the Bronx Zoo) offered the federal government fifteen buffalo (American bison) to begin a herd for the refuge, if it agreed to fence the range. In 1907, after an eventful and delayed train trek across the country, the animals arrived to great fanfare. An American Indian contingent led by Quanah Parker greeted the newly arrived bison, and many of the elderly Comanche emotionally related stories of their experiences with the wild animals prior to their near extermination. Later the preserve successfully relocated elk, wild turkey, and a herd of Texas longhorn cattle to its prairie environment. The 1927 addition of longhorns to the "wildlife" refuge was made for their historical and cultural importance. More unsuccessful programs involved the addition of the American pronghorn antelope, bighorn sheep, and the prairie chicken. Native deer also flourish on parkland. Other mammals that can be seen at the refuge include prairie dogs, raccoons, bobcats, coyotes, and rabbits. The number of lakes and water features attract migratory birds, and eagles sometimes can be seen in the fall and winter. Annual auctions for the buffalo and longhorns help keep the herds at a set number, while controlled hunts of elk and deer check their populations.

The physical environment includes mixed prairie grasslands, with buffalo and grama short-grasses and bluestems, Indian grass, and switch-grass tallgrasses. Several mountains and rock features appear within the refuge, with Mount Scott as the highest point (2,464 feet above sea level), followed by Mount Pinchot (2,461 feet). There are numerous artificial lakes. The first, Lost Lake, was completed in 1926. Most were created during the 1930s under the Civilian Conservation Corps (CCC) or the Works Progress Administration (WPA). WPA workers also constructed the Holy City of the Wichitas, where an annual Easter pageant is performed. In 1938 a road to Mount Scott's peak officially opened. It was a joint project of the Public Works Administration, a private firm, and the WPA. The refuge is divided into a public use area and a special use area. The park also has two wilderness areas, the North Mountain Unit, with limited access, and the Charon's Garden unit, which allows photography, hiking, and camping.

By the twenty-first century more than one million visitors traveled to the park each year. Hiking trails include Dog Run Hollow, Elk Mountain Trail, Little Baldy Mountain Trail, and the Environmental Education Trail. Rock climbing and rappelling are popular activities. Also available is fishing, picnicking, and camping. There are periodic guided public tours of different aspects relating to the national preserve. The many roads allow excellent opportunity to view and photograph wildlife. In 1997 the refuge's visitor center opened, offering exhibits, artwork, and taxidermy, as well as a 112-seat auditorium.

Bibliography

S. Matthew DeSpain, "For Society's Sake: The Wichita Mountains, Wildlife, and Identity in Oklahoma's Early Environmental History," The Chronicles of Oklahoma 78 (Winter 2000–2001).

Jack Haley, "A History of the Establishment of the Wichita National Forest and Game Preserve, 1901–1908" (M.A. thesis, University of Oklahoma, 1973).

Jack Haley, "The Wichita Mountains: The Struggle to Preserve a Wilderness, Part I," Great Plains Journal 13 (Fall 1973).

Jack Haley, "The Wichita Mountains: The Struggle to Preserve a Wilderness, Part II," Great Plains Journal 13 (Spring 1974).

Cora Miley, "Through Oklahoma's National Playground," Harlow's Weekly 21 (21 October 1922).

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Larry O'Dell, &ldquoWichita Mountains National Wildlife Refuge,&rdquo The Encyclopedia of Oklahoma History and Culture, https://www.okhistory.org/publications/enc/entry.php?entry=WI003.

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