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.
Haulover Canal Bridge Closure
The Haulover Canal Bridge will be closed for construction beginning May 6, 2013. The bridge will be closed to all traffic for about 7 weeks. Access to the facilities on the north and south sides of the bridge will be open and unaffected.
State Road 3 will also be undergoing repavement at this time.
Visitor Center Hours
The Visitor Information Center is open 5 days a week, from 9:00 am until 4:00 pm, Tuesday through Saturday. Closed Sunday and Monday. The Center is closed most federal holidays, but will remain open normal business hours on Martin Luther King Jr. Day and President's Day in 2013. All other refuge areas are open during daylight hours.
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