Welcome to Merritt Island National Wildlife Refuge
Merritt Island National Wildlife Refuge was established in 1963 as an overlay of NASA’s John F. Kennedy Space Center. Consisting of 140,000 acres, the Refuge provides a wide variety of habitats: coastal dunes, saltwater estuaries and marshes, freshwater impoundments, scrub, pine flatwoods, and hardwood hammocks provide habitat for more than 1,500 species of plants and animals.
Many recreational opportunities are offered at the Refuge. Bird and wildlife observation, a wildlife drive, manatee observation deck, fishing and hunting opportunities, and boating and paddling are examples of available activities. The Visitor Information Center located 4 miles east of Titusville, Florida, is a great place to start your visit.
The Staff at Merritt Island NWR also manages Lake Woodruff NWR and St.Johns NWR.
Visitor Center Hours
The Visitor Information Center is now open seven days a week 9 am to 4 pm. The Visitor Center is closed on federal holidays. Black Point Wildlife Drive and all other public areas are open from sunrise to sunset daily.
2013 Waterfowl Hunting Schedule
Phase 1 - November 23- December 1
Phase 2 - December 7 - January 26
All hunter access roads are now open. Peacock’s Pocket will be closed from west of the boat ramp to the intersection of Peacock's Pocket Rd and Catfish Creek Loop. It will reopen to vehicle traffic after the youth hunt (the first weekend in February).
Hunting occurs in most areas of the refuge from 1/2 hour before sunrise to 12 pm on Saturdays, Sundays, Wednesdays, Thanksgiving, Christmas and New Years. Hunting is prohibited on Black Point Wildlife Drive. For more information visit myfwc.com .
2014 Hunting Regulations/Permit
Proposed Upland Hunt
Public Comment Period Open
The Draft Environmental Assessment for Upland Hunt is available for review. Public comments are welcome and due by October 21, 2013. Email comments to firstname.lastname@example.org or mail to Merritt Island NWR, PO Box 2683, Titusville, FL 32781.
There is NO hog hunting on the refuge at this time!
Hog Fact Sheet
Entrance Fees at Black Point Drive & Boat Ramps
Merritt Island National Wildlife Refuge has an Entrance Fee for Black Point Wildlife Drive and for launching a boat at three improved boat ramps within the Refuge (Bairs Cove, Beacon 42, and Bio Lab). Visitors will have the option to purchase a $5/vehicle Daily Pass at any of these areas from a self-serve kiosk or from the Refuge Visitor Center. Visitors can also purchase a $15 Annual Pass at the Refuge Visitor Center. Other federal passes can be accepted.
To report a refuge law enforcement violation please call (321) 861-2807. Please provide as much information as possible, i.e. license plate number, color and/or make model of the vehicle, description of individuals, etc. Your voicemail will be checked by the Law Enforcement Officers on duty. In case of an emergency dial (321) 867-7911.
Free Fishing Fishing Permit Required
Beginning February 1, 2009 any person fishing on Merritt Island National Wildlife Refuge without a signed FREE refuge fishing permit will be cited. The fine for violating the permit requirement is $125.00. The permit is required for ALL fishermen - those fishing from land and those fishing from a vessel in refuge waters.
You can pick up a permit at two information kiosks located at either entrance to the refuge or you can download it here. Once you have your fishing permit, read it, sign the business card sized permit and keep it in your wallet.
2013 Fishing Permit & Regulations