One of the newest National Wildlife Refuges in the central Mississippi Delta, Holt Collier NWR was established in 2004 along with Theodore Roosevelt NWR. This 2,033 acre refuge is located on Holt Collier's historic hunting grounds near Darlove, Mississippi and is the first National Wildlife Refuge named to honor an African-American.
Born a native Mississippian in 1848 to a slave family, Holt Collier led an extraordinary life. He fought in the Civil War as a Confederate soldier and later became famous throughout Texas, Mississippi, Louisiana, and Arkansas as a legendary bear hunter and sportsman. Although the Louisiana black bear is now on the endangered species list, during his lifetime black bears were plentiful. His most famous bear hunt occurred in 1902 with President Theodore Roosevelt. This hunt led to the popular children's toy, the teddy bear.
Located strategically in the Mississippi Flyway, the Holt Collier NWR provides habitat and resources for more than 250 species of songbirds at various times throughout the year. Approximately 1,100 acres have been reforested with native bottomland tree species that will produce a rich source of food for wildlife in 15 - 20 years. Additional lands will be reforested as they are acquired. These reforested lands will provide essential habitat for the threatened Louisiana Black bear, a common visitor to the Mississippi Delta region.