Phil has been active with this group as a leader and past President for the past 20 years.  He currently serves as Vice-President.   The Friends of the Refuge launched a letter writing and mass campaign to save the Refuge from being closed over the past two years.  It has been a successful pursuit.  The place is still open to the public and the friends of the Refuge have become a crucial element in keeping the place open and viable for tourism and those seeking a diversion from the busy character of life in urban environments.

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In theory, the Feds have a responsibility to fund and run refuges and parks for the benefit of all the public, but behind the scenes there are agendas which favor major preserves over minor ones.  Where most National Parks are well funded and not under any threat of closure, the minor public lands can easily find themselves targets of spending cuts, or suffering from a lack of increased funding as inflation silently erodes the level of available services.  Phil told us that when the Feds intended to close Eastern Neck they had 13 additional places in mind to discontinue funding also in mind.  After the campaign to preserve Eastern Neck, the other 13 places were closed.  Only Eastern Neck was saved for the enjoyment of the public.  Even so, without the efforts and funding provided by this private, not for profit entity, Eastern Neck would have virtually no staff and maintenance.  It is sort of a bittersweet win, but it is thankfully, not a loss.  Some things are worth preserving.  Some things are worth paying for.  The Eastern Neck National Wildlife Refuge is among those things that have real value not only to our natural world, but to the people who visit there.
 

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