Voted Fourth Best!

Shoreline

Nearly a quarter of a million people visit Vieques National Wildlife Refuge every year!


The Vieques NWR was awarded a great honor in 2015, when the general public voted it the fourth best national wildlife refuge within the entire Refuge System. This refuge offers great natural beauty and it is the second largest conservation area in all of the Puerto Rico Archipelago and the U.S. Virgin islands. It is considered to be a remote location, yet it is also technically an urban refuge; providing year around access to thousands of visitors. The VNWR borders the population center of Vieques, is within 20 miles of an urban population of 100,000+ people and within 40 miles of an urban population of 1,000,000+ people.

  • Renewable Energy and Environmentally Efficient Facilities

The Vieques NWR office and visitor center has been awarded as a LEED certified facility. While the off the grid solar powered system for the rest of our facilities was awarded a USFWS Environmental Leadership Award.

  • Public and restricted access areas of the Vieques NWR

The Vieques NWR used to be a U.S. Navy Weapons Training Base that was actively used for more than 60 years. When the US Navy left Vieques, they left behind thousands of unexploded ordinance (UXO), munition related debris and several dump sites. In order to expedite and work towards a cleaning and decontamination of the site, more than half of the VNWR was declared a superfund site. The EPA and the the Commonwealth Environmental Quality Board (EQB) are the regulating agencies ensuring that the Navy carries out the clean-up. The DNER, NOAA and the USFWS are the conservation agencies working to assist in this process, while the Vieques Municipality, the community and various other stake holders are also involved to ensure the clean-up is carried out. As the clean-up progresses there will be more areas that will open for public use. It is expected that the clean-up on land will conclude in 2013 while the clean-up in the surrounding water will continue until 2028. In the meantime there is work being done to safely begin opening certain sections of the VNWR for public use. Currently the road, trail, beach and Puerto Ferro lighthouse is open to public. It is expected that within a year the Boca Quebrada beach and area on the west tract will also open for public access.