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Visitor Activities

Kayakers - Matt Poole/USFWS

The refuge beach closes on April 1st for piping plover management. Visit the Alerts page for more information.

  • Hunting

    Hunters in silhouette - Eugene Hester/USFWS.

    Waterfowl hunting opportunities are available in designated salt marsh areas of the refuge during state seasons. In cooperation with the League of Essex County Sportsmen's Clubs, the refuge conducts a Youth Waterfowler Training Program each fall. This program includes an all-day seminar and a supervised hunt on a reserved section of the refuge.

    A one day controlled deer hunt is usually conducted on the Plum Island portion of the refuge in December. Hunters are chosen by lottery. All refuge, federal, and state hunting regulations apply. For further information, please contact the refuge.

    Updated Waterfowl Information Sheet for 2014 (PDF)

  • Fishing

    Fishing

    The refuge offers some of the area's finest surf fishing. In season you may catch striped bass, bluefish, and several other species. A refuge permit is required for night fishing and vehicle access to the beach. All refuge, federal, and state fishing regulations apply.

    The refuge tidal flats offer opportunities for commercial and recreational shellfishing. Town and refuge permits are required and all refuge, state, and town shellfishing regulations apply.

    General Recreational Fishing Opportunities (pdf)
    Drive-on Surf Fishing Factsheet (pdf)
    Shellfishing Information (pdf)

    Drive-On Fishing Permits (pdf)

  • Wildlife Viewing

    Visitors looking through binoculars - Matt Poole/USFWS.

    The refuge is renowned for its wildlife observation and photography opportunities. Observation towers and platforms afford commanding views of the refuge and surrounding lands and waters. Several miles of self-guiding foot trails meander through dune, maritime forest, and marsh habitats. All trails are on boardwalks or lined with stone dust to protect the refuge’s fragile ecosystems. Check out the refuge map to view a refuge map outlining these and other visitor use areas on the refuge. A checklist of refuge birds is available from refuge headquarters and the entrance gatehouse (when staffed). Recent bird sightings on the refuge can also be found online by clicking here.

    Refuge Map (pdf)
    Bird Checklist(pdf)

  • Interpretation

    Hellcat observation tower at sunset - Matt Poole/USFWS.

    The refuge publishes a monthly schedule of free public programs here. The monthly offerings include the very popular Behind the Scenes Tour – a unique opportunity for visitors to get an “up close and personal” perspective of wildlife, refuge management and Plum Island history.

    The refuge also hosts or participates in a number annual special events including The Merrimack River Eagle Festival (February), “Let’s Go Outside” (June), Yankee Homecoming (July/August), and Phabulous Photo Weekend (October, in honor of National Wildlife Refuge Week).

  • Environmental Education

    Young girl at the edge of the shore - Matt Poole/USFWS.

    The refuge provides many wonderful opportunities for learning about wildlife, their habitats, and the interplay between people and nature. The visitor services staff is currently doing a thorough review of the refuge's educational programming. Until that review has been completed, the refuge will not be able to schedule and lead formal environmental education programs for schools and other groups. If you are interested in running your own field trip on the refuge, please download the Group Permit Fact Sheet (pdf) to view and/or print information about applying for a Special Use Permit.

  • Photography

    Photographers on the refuge - Matt Poole/USFWS.

    The refuge has a very active photo club. The Photographic Society of Parker River NWR holds monthly meetings – generally on the second Saturday at 1:30 pm. Other photo club activities include local photo shoots, workshops about photography and image editing, an annual photo contest, and supporting the refuge’s photography-related public programming. The Society is open to anyone who has an interest in nature and wildlife photography.

    Check out the Society's web page!

  • Canoeing and Kayaking

    Kayakers on the refuge - Matt Poole/USFWS.

    Explore the creeks in the refuge's salt marsh by canoe or kayak.  A new water trail begins at the boat ramp (located opposite Lot 1, just inside the refuge entrance station.)  Our new water trail guide can be downloaded at the link below.  Entrance fees apply to anyone bringing in their boat or kayak via the refuge entrance.  

     

    Water Trail Guide  (pdf)

    Canoeing and Kayaking Information Sheet  (pdf)

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Last Updated: Oct 31, 2014
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