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History of the Great Meadows NWR

The original 250-acre (1.0 km2) Concord, Massachusetts parcel that was the beginning nucleus of the sanctuary, has been known as the "Great Meadows" since the 17th century. The parcel was donated to the U.S. Government by Concord resident D. Samuel Hoar in 1944. Hoar purchased a part of the Meadows in 1928, and built earthen dams (dikes) to hold the water within the marshlands, enhancing their value as waterfowl habitat for hunting. To provide greater protection for the area’s wetlands and wildlife, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service began buying additional land during the 1960s.

The refuge's specific objectives are determined in the Comprehensive Conservation Planning process. The objectives include the conservation and management of migratory bird species; the restoration of wetland, grassland and forest habitats; and natural resource related education. Potential public uses of the refuge include wildlife observation, photography, environmental education, interpretation, hunting and fishing.