WINONA, Minn. (WKBT) -

The Upper Mississippi River National Wildlife and Fish Refuge is celebrating its 90th Anniversary.

The Friends of the Refuge Headwaters and Refuge Ranger Ed Lagace are inviting people to enjoy an evening of BBQ and paddling through the backwaters on Friday, July 18 beginning at 5:30 p.m. at the McNally Boat Landing.

In 1923, Will Dilg, Chicago advertising executive and avid angler, brought before Congress and President Coolidge the idea that 300 miles of the River should be made into a federal preserve for fishing and wildlife. One year later his dream came true.

The Refuge now consists of 240,000 acres that travels through four states and reaches up to 261 miles. The Refuge is home for hundreds of species of birds, fish, mammals, reptiles, amphibians, insects, and native plants.

Pre-registration for the Friday, July 18 event is required by 4:00 on Wednesday, July 16. For more information and to register, contact Refuge Ranger Ed Lagace at (507) 494-6236 or ed_lagace@fws.gov.