Rules and Regulations

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National Wildlife Refuges are places where wildlife comes first. Although people are welcome and encouraged to visit, activities are regulated and monitored to ensure that impacts to plants and animals are minimal. Remember in the eyes of an animal, you are a predator at the top of the food chain!

  • Refuge Hours

    Visitors are welcome to enjoy the Refuge during daylight hours only. After hours use disturbs resting wildlife and puts them at increased risk for predation. Automatic gates are programmed for dawn and dusk, with current times posted at the entrance sign. See our Plan Your Visit page for current gate times. No pedestrian access allowed after dark

  • Leave Pets at Home Please

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    The prohibition of pets is to reduce disturbance to wildlife and habitat. Studies show that the presence of dogs, even when leashed, cause lower wildlife abundance along the trail. It may be because wildlife instinctively look at dogs as predators. Service animals that are individually trained to perform tasks for people with disabilities are allowed as long as they are under the direct control of their owner at all times and all feces is removed from the site.

    Note: Certified service animals that are individually trained to perform tasks for people with disabilities are permitted on all trails and facilities as long as they are under the direct control of their owner at all times and all feces is removed from the site.

    Non-service dogs are permitted in parking lot, but must remain in the vehicle at all times.

  • Chain Up Your Bicycle

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    As a conservation agency we strongly encourage the use of alternate transportation that is healthier for our communities and environment. We ask you to chain your bicycle up at the trailhead before you head out to limit your disturbance to wildlife. This will drastically increase your ability to observe animals in their natural habitat! Electric and gas powered vehicles are also prohibited unless needed for a disability.

  • Not a Park - Please Slow Down and Enjoy

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    Sports such as jogging, Frisbee throwing and kite flying are not permitted because they are disturbing to wildlife and to other visitors. These should be done in parks that allow these activities. This will ensure the safety of wildlife as well as allow you and other visitors to enjoy wonderful sightings of animals using their natural habitat.

  • Take Only Pictures - Leave Only Footprints

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    Everything at Steigerwald Lake NWR is for the health and continued vitality of native animal and plant species. Collecting and removing archeological or historic objects is prohibited, as well as removing any natural material such as plants, mushrooms, berries, and antler sheds. There are plenty of other public places that allow for people to collect materials from the natural environment. Please leave everything you observe and take away only memories.

    Note: All commercial activities, including commercial photography on the Refuge require a Special Use Permit. Contact Refuge staff for information on compatible activities.

  • It's for the Birds - No Playback Audio Please

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    Playback devices used to elicit a response causes stress to birds and takes them away from the important task of raising young and protecting themselves. Some birders will use bird call technology in the field to verify a call they have heard. They may play the call quietly so only they are able to hear it or use headphones, which minimize any potential impact on birds in the wild.