On May 20, the Cherry Valley National Wildlife Refuge officially opened to the public. The Refuge, located on the site of a former golf course near Stroudsburg, is the result of a partnership between the U.S Fish and Wildlife Service and The Nature Conservancy. It is a unit of the National Wildlife Refuge System.

“Oh, I think it’s great, just open space,” said Stroud Township resident Louise Bowman. “I feel like everywhere you go they are just building, building, and to have something preserved and have it open for anyone to be able to come is just really wonderful.”

There are a variety of species that call the area home.

“We think we can really improve native habitat,” said Ellen Lott of The Nature Conservancy. “Not just for bears and birds, but also bees and all kinds of creatures that enjoy the valley in addition to the people who will be able to enjoy it as part of the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service National Wildlife Refuge.”

Officials say that more work is expected, including turning the former golf clubhouse into a refuge headquarters and visitors center.

Visit the Refuge website for events, maps, and more.