The Great Swamp National Wildlife Refuge (NWR) is one of more than 560 refuges in the National Wildlife Refuge System that is administered by the Department of the Interior's U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service. Great Swamp is here to conserve its natural resources for the America public while protecting threatened and endangered species for future generations. The National Wildlife Refuge System is a network of lands and waters managed specifically for the protection of wildlife and its habitat. It represents the most comprehensive wildlife management program in the world.
The Great Swamp NWR is located in Morris County, New Jersey, about 26 miles west of Manhattan's Times Square. The refuge was established by an act of Congress on November 3, 1960. Today the refuge consists of 7,768 acres of varied habitats, and the refuge has become an important resting and feeding area for more than 244 species of birds. Fox, deer, muskrat, turtles, fish, frogs and a wide variety of wildflowers and plants can be found on the refuge.
In 1966, the National Park Service designated Great Swamp NWR a registered National Natural Landmark under the provisions of the Historic Sites Act of 1935. The refuge was chosen for the registry as an “exceptional example of the natural history of the United States.”
In 1967, 746 acres in the eastern portion of the present Wilderness Area were declared a Research Natural Area by the Director of USFWS. This area contains natural shrub swamp habitat and many small upland islands.
This eastern portion of the refuge, comprising 3,660 acres is managed to maintain a Wilderness character while providing habitat for wildlife. The Great Swamp Wilderness Act of 1968 established the first wilderness area designated within the Department of the Interior.
Download the refuge brochure (pdf)