GROSSE ILE (WWJ/AP) — A new visitor center at the Detroit River International Wildlife Refuge is being named in honor of former U.S. Rep. John Dingell.

The announcement was made Saturday by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service during a ceremony at the under-construction center.

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The Detroit River International Wildlife Refuge includes nearly 6,000 acres along 48 miles of the lower Detroit River and western Lake Erie. Its office is in Grosse Ile.

“By working with our Canadian-U.S. partners we hope to grow the refuge to over 25,000 acres in the next 10 years,” Refuge Manager John Hartig said at the announcement event.

Dingell, a Democrat, served 59 years in Congress. His wife, Debbie, was elected to his Detroit-area seat in 2014 after he didn’t seek re-election.

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“This refuge is something that will endure well into the future,” Debbie said. “It’s something that our kids and our grandchildren and their grandchildren will be able to enjoy. The refuge will pass the test of time and that’s really the ultimate test.”

John Dingell said in a statement that “soon people throughout the state will be able to come to a state-of-the-art visitor center to learn more about the natural beauty that surrounds them here in Southeast Michigan.”


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