At the time of the refuge's establishment in 1969, the number of nesting bald eagles pairs had plummeted to less than 500 in the lower 48 states.Wildlife & Habitat
About the Complex
In 1998, Elizabeth Hartwell Mason Neck National Wildlife Refuge (NWR), Occoquan Bay NWR, and Featherstone NWR, were reorganized into the Potomac River National Wildlife Refuge Complex.
Elizabeth Hartwell Mason Neck is managed as part of the Potomac River NWR Complex.
Learn more about the complex
About the NWRS
The National Wildlife Refuge System, within the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, manages a national network of lands and waters set aside to conserve America’s fish, wildlife, and plants.
Learn more about the NWRS
Around the Refuge
The Youth Conservation
Corps is a federally funded work-learn-earn program for youth ages 15 to 18
years aimed at developing an appreciation and understanding of the Nation's
environmental and natural heritage. Potomac River National Wildlife Refuge
Complex is now accepting applications for Summer 2016.YCC Information and Application
Make sure you come prepared when visiting the refuge - from April to October biting insects and ticks are prevalent, so bring bug spray! Also, keep an eye out for poison ivy and norther copperhead snakes. Learn more on our Plan Your Visit page.Plan Your Visit
There are many ways to get involved at Mason Neck National Wildlife Refuge. Volunteers help maintain the refuge by assisting with interpretive programs, helping out with refuge cleanups, invasive plant mapping and many other projects.
There are activities year round at Mason Neck National Wildlife Refuge including wildlife viewing, photography and hunting. Learn more on our Visitor Activities page.Visitor Activities
In the early 1960’s a developer sought out land on Mason Neck to build a planned community and airport. Elizabeth van Laer Speer Hartwell, a local resident, who valued the pristine nature of the peninsula, organized an effort to stop this development. She recognized the potential of the Mason Neck peninsula as a safe haven for the endangered bald eagles along the Potomac River.
Page Photo Credits All photos courtesy of USFWS unless otherwise noted., Mason Neck National Wildlife Refuge - Bill Wallen.
Last Updated: Apr 28, 2016