The refuge also is bordered by low-income neighborhoods that are home to many Hispanic and black residents. Dougherty, of the National Wildlife Federation, sees that as an opportunity to connect with communities that don't often get to visit wild areas.
"It doesn't serve me well to just say, 'Here it is, come enjoy it,' because the people who really need it may not come," he said.
Drobniak said outreach programs include bringing in children from nearby schools, which can apply for grants to cover transportation costs.
Dougherty, meanwhile, brings his grandchildren.
"And they really enjoy it," he said. "It's very heartening to me, to have been involved in this process."
If You Go...
ROCKY MOUNTAIN ARSENAL NATIONAL WILDLIFE REFUGE: 6550 Gateway Road, Commerce City, Colo.; http://www.fws.gov/rockymountainarsenal/ or 303-289-0930. Open daily 6 a.m.-6 p.m. Entrance is free. A $3 daily fee is charged for fishing, during the mid-April to mid-October season, and anglers need a Colorado fishing license.
SEASONAL HIGHLIGHTS: Spring wildflowers, lush prairie grasses in summer, fall colors, eagles returning to roost in winter.
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