Dingell Welcome Center at Refuge finally opens

After many years in the making, the wait is finally over: The John D. Dingell, Jr., Visitor Center at the Detroit River International Wildlife Refuge is now open! 

Named after the late congressman, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service is proud to dedicate this building to him in honor of, and to help continue, his conservation legacy. 

In a wonderful coincidence, the visitor center was opened on his birthday, July 8. 

The Dingell family have always been avid supporters and protectors of the natural beauty of our area. It was part of the vision of John D. Dingell, Jr., to have a facility where the public can come to learn about and connect to the Detroit River and its surrounding areas.

The realization of his vision could be heard as children played in the building and searched for hidden features in the exhibits and filled the center with smiles, laughter and life.

Reaching this moment is something the staff at the Detroit River International Wildlife Refuge have always strived for and they will continue to work hard to be a welcoming place where urban residents can both connect with and be inspired by nature.

It’s been a long journey to get to where we are today. 

Did you know that from 1946-1990 an automobile company operated an automotive component manufacturing plant on what is now the Detroit River International Wildlife Refuge?

This manufacturing plant included the production of brakes and associated adhesives, oils, and sealers. 

During its years of operation, the land around the site became increasingly polluted. It took multiple years of environmental cleanup to get the site ready for public visitation.

The visitor center will be open Thursday through Sunday from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. The grounds around the facility are open for self-guided visitation seven days a week during daylight hours. Come visit us at 5437 West Jefferson Ave., Trenton, MI 48183, or check out our website and Facebook page.