Document Type

Conference Paper

Publication Date


Publication Title

Proceedings of the Back Bay Ecological Symposium



Conference Name

Back Bay Ecological Symposium


The Back Bay National Wildlife Refuge was established on June 6, 1938, " ... as a refuge and breeding ground for migratory birds and other wildlife." During its first 30 years, the Refuge was managed similar to other areas of the National Wildlife Refuge System. Dikes were constructed, facilities were built, and wildlife management programs were initiated. In the late 1960's, the emphasis of the area changed, as increasing numbers of beach oriented visitors, primarily using 4 wheel drive vehicles, began using the area. By 1971 public use reached 348,000 visits per year. Throughout the 1970's and early 1980's Refuge Management focused primarily on administration of a Motor Vehicle Access Permit Program that was designed to control this use and preserve wildlife habitat. By the mid-1980's the vehicle access situation was brought under control, and the Refuge began to turn its attention to more traditional management activities. From 1986-1990 major strides were made in the areas of environmental education, impoundment rehabilitation, fire management, land acquisition, and cooperation with other agencies and private groups. As the 1990's begin, the Refuge is committed to providing leadership in habitat protection, progressive land management, environmental education, restoration of the Back Bay watershed, and establishing and continuing partnerships between the public and private sectors.