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Patuxent Research Refuge Homepage
Patuxent Research Refuge is one of over 500 refuges in the National Wildlife Refuge System administered by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service. The National Wildlife Refuge System is a network of lands and waters specifically for the protection of wildlife and wildlife habitat and represents the most comprehensive wildlife management program in the world. Units of the system stretch across the United States from northern Alaska to the Florida Keys and include small islands in the Caribbean and South Pacific. The character of refuges is as diverse as the nation itself.

The Service also manages national fish hatcheries, and provides federal leadership in habitat protection, fish and wildlife research technical assistance, and the conservation and protection of migratory birds, certain marine mammals and threatened and endangered species.

Established in 1936 by executive order of President Franklin D. Roosevelt, the Patuxent Research Refuge is the nation's first and only National Wildlife Refuge devoted to wildlife research. With land surrounding the Patuxent and Little Patuxent Rivers between Washington, D.C. and Baltimore, MD, the Refuge has grown from the original 2,670 acres to its present size of 12,841 acres and encompasses land formerly managed by the Departments of Agriculture and Defense. Throughout decades of change, Patuxent's mission of conserving and protecting the nation's wildlife and habitat through research and wildlife management techniques has remained virtually unchanged.

Patuxent Research Refuge supports a wide diversity of wildlife in forest, meadow, and wetland habitats. The land is managed to maintain biological diversity for the protection and benefit of native and migratory species. During the fall and spring migrations, many waterfowl species stop to rest and feed. Over 200 species of birds occur on the refuge. Increasing forest fragmentation in the area due to urban development has damaged many populations of neotropical migrants. The refuge is one of the largest forested areas in the mid-Atlantic region and provides critical breeding habitat and an important nesting island for these species.

Patuxent Research Refuge is divided into three areas: 1) South Tract, where the National Wildlife Visitor Center and its trails are located, 2) Central Tract, where the offices and study sites of the many research biologists are located at the USGS/BRD Patuxent Wildlife Research Center, and 3) North Tract, which is open to the public for hunting, fishing, wildlife observation, trails, and many interpretive programs. The National Wildlife Visitor Center and North Tract are open for public use and activities.


MapClick this image to see a map of the refuge!

Click here to see a digital aerial photo of the refuge!

Floppy DiskClick here to download a color copy of our Refuge Brochure in Adobe Acrobat format (.PDF) (576k)


E-mail9/12/01 - We now have a listserver setup so you can receive automatic email update notices for our web page, hot news, event notices, education program schedules, and other Refuge announcements. To subscribe, send a message to fws-prrnews-request@lists.fws.gov and enter 'subscribe' into the subject field. 

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This site is administered by the U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service, Patuxent Research Refuge, 12100 Beech Forest Rd., Suite 4036, Laurel, Maryland, 20708-4036. If you have any questions or comments about this site please contact 301/497-5510 or email patuxent@fws.gov.

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