SENEY, Mich. (WJMN) – Seney National Wildlife Refuge Manager, Sara Siekierski says there are four major projects the refuge will be working on.

  • – Bridges/Water Control Structures Repair
  • – Show Pool Site Rehabilitation
  • -Pine Ridge Nature Trail Improvement
  • -Visitor Center Replacement and Enhancement

As demolition has begun, that will be one of the biggest projects.

“That’s going to be located on the side of the current visitor’s center and so we just started this fall on the demolition of the existing visitor’s center,” said Siekierski. “So that we can start to make room for the new building that will go on that same site that will also hold our office facilities that currently are in a separate building in that same general area. So, we’ll be reconfiguring the parking lot, making sure we can continue to grow with our visitor needs and better providing parking and recreational access to the trails.”

Siekierski says these infrastructure projects are being made possible through the Great American Outdoor Act.

“That was a passed which was some bipartisan legislation and so we got funding through that opportunity.,” said Siekierski. “And then, we also used some federal highway dollars for parts of the projects. Between the federal highway and the GAOA funding, is about $12.5 million for all four initiative projects.”

While this is a chance to continue the refuge for years to come, Siekierski says she wants people to know that they are making efforts to make this a smooth transition for the wildlife there and preserve the history that has been there since the refuge began in 1935.

“We’re looking at energy efficiency,” said Siekierski. “We’re looking at bird-friendly windows. We’re looking at certification for dark skies. Trying to protect when we get parking lot lights that we make sure that they are not ruining our night sky opportunity which I think the U.P. is well known for. As well as how that can affect and influence wildlife. And also just so folks understand that we’re trying to honor our past and there is sentimental attachment to all of these buildings and infrastructure and we don’t want to lose a piece of that history.”