Bickham Dickson becomes a nature preserve with a new focus on the environment

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SHREVEPORT, La. (KTAL/KMSS) – A Shreveport city park is changing to become a wildlife refuge.

Known for its scenic views and waterway access, Bickham Dickson in Shreveport will no longer be a city park, instead now becoming a national refuge site under U.S. Fish and Wildlife Services. The city leased the property to the agency and the Red River National Wildlife Refuge, headquartered in Bossier City, will manage and operate the land.

“We’re the federal agency that our mission is to protect habitat for endanger species and wild animals in the United States,” said Terri Jacobson, Red River National Wildlife Refuge Ranger.

Jacobson explains how the park is renamed C.B. Dickson Unit of the Red River National Wildlife Refuge. People will still be able to enjoy outdoor activities, such as hiking, fishing, and canoeing. However, the focus will shift to animal conservation and removing invasive plant species such as salvinia.

“A wildlife refuge is truly a place for the animals. This is their home. We call it a habitat. But it’s their living space. Where the find food, shelter, and raise young,” Jacobson said.

“It’s going to be an opportunity for people to be involved in that conservation,” said Zac Burson, President of the Friends of Red River National Wildlife Refuge.

Zac Burson is the president of the volunteer organization for the refuge and said the new managers will help the land recover from past flooding events while the community will get to see how a wildlife refuge benefits both nature and the community.  

“It’s a major testament to this refuge being a part of the urban community. A wild place in the middle of a city,” Burson said.

The Red River National Wildlife Refuge is in need of volunteers for a variety of roles including environmental education programs and help at the Nature Store when it’s open inside the Visitor Center. C.B. Dickson Unit is open for public access.

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