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Visitor Activities

To visit James River National Wildlife Refuge, reservations are required seventy-two (72) hours in advance of the proposed visit. Requests can be made at (804) 829-9020.

  • Wildlife Viewing

    Out in a canoe - USFWS.

    Excellent wildlife viewing, particularly for woodpeckers, osprey, and great blue herons, is available from the limited trail system and expansive waters surrounding the refuge. The meandering trail passes through or along freshwater marshes, tidally influenced creeks, mature hardwood forest, and remnant pine plantation.

    Please remember to keep a safe distance from wildlife as to not disturb them from their natural routines. Feeding of wildlife is strictly prohibited.

  • Photography

    Kayaker holding baby turtle - USFWS.

    The refuge’s forested riparian habitat along Powell’s Creek is used by bald eagles and osprey for nesting and perching. The tall trees extend prominently at water’s edge and allow for excellent photographic opportunity. The birds are easily flushed, therefore zoom cameras are recommended. Osprey typically migrate in late summer and return in early spring.

    On the refuge, nature photographers can capture shots of the tranquil landscapes of the property. In addition to birds, the patient observer can take pictures of a variety of flowers, mammals, amphibians, and invertebrates.

  • Hunting

    Hunter with deer - USFWS.

    White-tailed deer hunting is allowed by refuge permit only. Archery, muzzleloader, and shotgun seasons are offered annually.

    Participants of the three week refuge archery season are selected by lottery. Hunters can apply for the hunt through Virginia’s Quota Hunt Lottery system www.HuntFishVA.com during the summer application period. Application costs are $7.50 and, if selected, a $50.00 season hunt permit fee is required.

    Hunters wishing to participate in the two muzzleloader and four shotgun dates are selected on a first come, first served basis on the days of the hunts. These hunts are for stand hunting only and the use of dogs is prohibited. Registration occurs on-site at the Check Station. A one day permit costs $10.00.

    Scout Dates: October 26 and 27

    Muzzleloader Hunts: November 1 and 8

    Shotgun Hunts: November 15, 22, 25 and December 6

    Hunt Information Flyer

    2014 Refuge Hunting Permit Conditions

  • Interpretation

    Interpretive panel - USFWS.

    The refuge offers occasional opportunities for the public to visit and be guided by U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service staff and their partners. Canoe tours are scheduled in the spring and fall (pre-registration required). These tours interpret the rich history of the refuge and highlight the diverse wildlife of this unique environment. Additionally, the Great Backyard Bird Count in February allows participants to search for a variety of birds. Led by a local naturalist, avian identification tips and techniques are offered.

  • Environmental Education

    Boyscouts - USFWS.

    The refuge offers only limited opportunity for environmental education. Interested schools or organizations can request use of the facilities and trails by contacting the refuge office.

Last Updated: Aug 01, 2014
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