STROUD TOWNSHIP -- There's a new place in the Poconos for people to explore nature.
The former Cherry Valley Golf Course near Stroudsburg still resembles a course but is transforming into a wildlife sanctuary.
Cherry Valley National Wildlife Refuge officially opened to the public over the weekend.
"Oh, I think it's great, just open space. I feel like everywhere you go they are just building, building and to have something preserved and have it open for anyone to be able to come is just really wonderful," said Louise Bowman of Stroud Township.
The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service along with The Nature Conservancy worked to transform the former course into something that would be around for years to come.
There are a lot of animals in this section of Stroud Township and officials say it is important to preserve this area for them.
"We think we can really improve native habitat. Not just for bears and birds, but also bees and all kinds of creatures that enjoy the valley in addition to the people who will be able to enjoy it as part of the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, National Wildlife Refuge," said Ellen Lott, The Nature Conservancy.
People who live in the Cherry Valley tell us it's nice to finally have some green open space that everyone can use right here in their community.
Lyn Fox lives near the refuge. She says plenty of wildlife already call her property home. She is glad they now have more places to go.
"I am happy they finally found a place because now perhaps they will leave my ducks and geese alone," said Lyn Fox, Stroud Township.
The refuge is open to the public but officials say more work is expected to be done, including transforming the former golf clubhouse into a refuge headquarters and visitors center.