RIO GRANDE VALLEY, Texas – The popular bayside wildlife drive at Laguna Atascosa National Wildlife Refuge will be renamed this weekend in tribute to a former refuge manager. Richard Moore brings us the story of Steve Thompson and his remarkable career.
Laguna Atascosa National Wildlife Refuge is a South Texas treasure, and the Bayside Wildlife Drive is the most popular destination. This Saturday, February 22nd, there will be a private ceremony renaming the route the Steve Thompson Wildlife Drive in tribute to former refuge manager Steve Thompson.
Steve Thompson, who died in 2018, was manager at Laguna Atascosa for six years from 1989 thru 1995. During Steve’s tenure at the refuge he made many friends and accomplished much including helping to restore the Aplomado falcon, groundbreaking work on protecting the endangered ocelot and saving native wildlands.
Current refuge manager Boyd Blihovde has great admiration for Thompson’s outstanding legacy noting that in 1994 Thompson was selected as Refuge Manager of the Year for more than 500 national wildlife refuges throughout the nation.
Boyd Blihovde, Manager Laguna Atascosa National Wildlife Refuge, “It is such a popular feature of the refuge, we thought it was the most appropriate thing to rename something that is so popular to a man that was so popular, Steve Thompson.”
After leaving the Valley, Thompson served as regional director overseeing wildlife refuges in California, Nevada and Southern Oregon. He occasionally returned to South Texas and always had a special place in his heart for the wildlands of Deep South Texas.
Steve Thompson, “The one thing I would like to say Richard is that I only spent six years of my life here, and a lot of people have lived their whole lives here. When you come from the rest of the parts of the country, this is a spectacular place. It is an incredible wildlife place, full of diversity, lots of different kinds of wildlife, and it takes a lot of hard work to keep it. People have been working at this for many, many years, and we have to keep working together to conserve wildlife.”