Date: Wednesday, May 4, 2022
DETROIT — Secretary of the Interior Deb Haaland visited Detroit, Michigan, today where she toured the Detroit River International Wildlife Refuge and highlighted the Department’s efforts to increase equitable public access to outdoor spaces. Increasing equitable access to the outdoors is part of the Department of the Interior's equity plan.
Secretary Haaland was joined by Congresswoman Debbie Dingell at the refuge and heard from U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service staff about their ongoing work to nurture partnerships within local communities and develop place-based collaborations that engage residents with conservation, both on and off refuge lands. Secretary Haaland and Congresswoman Dingell also participated in a ribbon-cutting ceremony to celebrate the reopening of the John D. Dingell, Jr. Visitor Center, which will be used for environmental interpretation and education opportunities, as well as outreach to underserved communities.
During the visit, Secretary Haaland discussed the America the Beautiful initiative’s efforts to conserve and protect public lands and waters through collaborative and locally led efforts. She also highlighted the Biden-Harris administration’s America the Beautiful Challenge, which is being funded by President Biden’s Bipartisan Infrastructure Law and will leverage federal conservation and restoration investments with private and philanthropic contributions to accelerate land, water and wildlife conservation efforts across the country.
Later, Secretary Haaland participated in a roundtable conversation with local community members where she highlighted the Department’s commitment to ensuring that everyone, no matter their background or zip code, can enjoy the benefits of green spaces and the outdoors. During the event, Secretary Haaland heard from community members about how the Department can partner with individuals and organizations to expand recreational access and equity, advance environmental justice priorities, and ensure the federal government’s programs and services fulfill the needs of traditionally underrepresented communities.