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Refuge reopens to public

The Mississippi Sandhill Crane National Wildlife Refuge has reopened a new $2.5 million visitors center, replacing one damaged by Hurricane Katrina.

Refuge ranger Doug Hunt said the center is opened and scheduled activities will begin October 25.

Hunt said about 110 of the endangered Sandhill Cranes inhabit the 20,000-acre refuge, which was located in Gautier in 1975. There are other refuge areas in Ocean Springs and Fontainebleau.

The Gautier refuge now offers visitors nearly a dozen large interactive displays in addition to tours and other events.

Nearly 200 species of migratory birds, dozens of species of local wildlife and 50 different plant species can be found in the refuge.