Cape May National Wildlife Refuge
Northeast Region
24 Kimbles Beach Road
Cape May Court House, NJ
(609) 463-0994

About Us

Short-eared owl on refuge sign. Credit: Scott Elowitz/USFWS
Short-eared own on refuge sign. Credit: Scott Elowitz/USFWS


Welcome to the Cape May National Wildlife Refuge. The Refuge was established in January 1989 when the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service acquired the Refuge's first (90-acre) parcel from The Nature Conservancy in June of that year. Since then the Refuge has grown to more than 11,000 acres as the Service continues to buy land. And we are still growing! Ultimately the Refuge will protect over 21,200 acres of precious wildlife habitat in New Jersey's Cape May Peninsula. Cape May National Wildlife Refuge's key location in the Atlantic Flyway makes it an important link in the vast nationwide network of National Wildlife Refuges administered by the U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service. It will ensure availability of important habitat to hundreds of thousands of migratory birds each year as these long-distance flyers travel along the New Jersey coast.

Because of its importance to migratory waterfowl, Cape May National Wildlife Refuge has been designated a Flagship Project of the North American Waterfowl Management Plan: a far-reaching international agreement to conserve and restore millions of acres of wetland habitats throughout the United States Canada and Mexico. This massive project is a partnership of private individuals and businesses, conservation organizations and State and Federal agencies. Because of the Delaware Bay Estuary's value to migrating shorebirds and wading birds, in 1992 it was designated a Wetland of International Importance under the The Convention on Wetlands of International Importance--otherwise known as the Ramsar Convention. The refuge is also part of the National System of Marine Protected Areas working to conserve the nation's vital natural and cultural marine resources.

At the local level the Refuge also plays an active role in the long-term protection of a vital multi-agency-administered greenbelt corridor reaching from the Delaware Bay to Great Egg Harbor Bay

The Refuge has three separate Divisions. The Delaware Bay Division is located in Middle Township and extends along five miles of the Delaware Bay, the Great Cedar Swamp Division straddles Dennis and Upper Townships and the Two Mile Beach Unit is at the south end of Wildwood Crest in Lower Township. Refuge Map.

The 21,200-acre proposed acquisition area contains a wide range of habitats including upland and lowland forests, fields, barrier beach, salt marsh and salt meadows cut through by meandering tidal creeks.

Last updated: February 9, 2010