What recreational opportunities are there on Currituck NWR?
Currituck Refuge does not have any developed public use facilities
such as roads, trails, restrooms, or visitor contact station. The
refuge is open daily, from sunrise to sunset, throughout the year.
Hiking, wildlife observation, nature photography, and waterfowl
hunting are the primary wildlife-dependent activities that may
be enjoyed on the refuge. Vehicle access is limited to the Monkey
Island Tract and the Swan Island Tract. A four-wheeled drive vehicle
is necessary since the only access is on the beach. Traffic is
restricted to the beachfront only. The rest of the refuge is accessed
by foot only to help prevent damage to the fragile dune ecosystem.
Are Corolla Wild Horses found on the refuge?
The Corolla Wild Horses can be seen on the Outer Banks north of Corolla
to the Virginia State line, which has been designated by a Currituck
County ordinance as a Wild Horse Sanctuary. For the safety of the public
and the horses, the ordinance also makes it unlawful for anyone to
harm, approach, feed or kill any wild horse in the sanctuary. Wild
horses are occasionally seen on the refuge and visitors are advised
to view them from a distance. The Fish and Wildlife Service considers
the horses to be non-native, feral animals and not a natural component
of the barrier island ecosystem. These animals compete with native
wildlife species for food and fresh water. Their activities degrade
and destroy habitat which negatively impacts native species. The Service
actively manages critical habitat areas by erecting fences to keep
the nuisance animals out and to prevent habitat damage.
- Why is ATV traffic restricted to the beach?
The Currituck NWR was established to protect the dynamic and fragile
character of coastal barrier islands. Access to the interior of the
barrier island must be restricted to foot traffic due to the fragile
nature of the dune ecosystem. ATV use in the dunes destroys dune vegetation.
Without this vegetation, sand dunes become unstable and more susceptible
to wind and wave damage. Established sand dunes provide defense against
storms and protect the maritime forest and interdunal habitats from
Heronry on Monkey Island