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Plan Your Visit

Wells Island. Credit; USFWS

Know Before You Go 

 During your visit to the Ohio River Islands National Wildlife Refuge, keep in mind:  

  • Refuge lands are open every day from an hour before sunrise to an hour after sunset  
  • The Buckley mainland tract (visitor facility) is the only property with indoor restrooms and potable water. Middle Island has an outdoor toilet. All other properties have no refuge facilities. Please plan accordingly.  
  • Most of the refuge’s properties do not have maintained trails and heavy underbrush may restrict movement. 
  • The refuge is a natural area. Be mindful of poison ivy, thorny plants, ticks, bees, and mosquitoes.  
  • All plants and animals, parts thereof, and other objects of nature are protected from disturbance. Collection is prohibited.  
  • Observe wildlife from a safe and respectful distance. Binoculars allow you to view wildlife closely without disturbing them.  
  • When landing on an island be aware of steep banks and rock dikes. 


Points of Interest 

Several islands have sandy beaches which are a popular stop for boaters, especially during the summer. 

The refuge administration and visitor facility is located at 3982 Waverly Road in Williamstown, WV. The facility features exhibits on refuge history and wildlife as well as aquariums containing fish and turtles that can be found in the Ohio River. There are also several short trails around the facility that give a great view of the Ohio River and Buckley Island. Additional trails include a loop around a butterfly garden and a 1.2 mile hike through an upland forest. Fishing and canoe / kayak access is located on site as well. If you have any questions during your visit, the staff at the visitor facility will be more than happy to answer them. 

Visitor Facility Hours: 

December through March
Open Monday through Friday
8:00 a.m. - 4:30 p.m. 

April through November
Open Monday through Saturday
8:00 a.m. - 4:30 p.m. 

Closed on Federal Holidays 

More points of interest can be found on Middle Island, which is accessed via George Street in St. Marys, WV. Middle Island features over 3.5 miles of trails with scenic views of the Ohio River and Middle Island wetland. A 1.5 mile auto tour runs along the western shore of the island presenting several stopping points with informational panels. Fishing access and a wildlife observation blind can also be found on the island. 

Last Updated: May 10, 2014
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