Rules and Regulations

Alligator Eye - CSlavens  - Promo Large

Refuge Specific Regulations
Protection of Wildlife, and Natural and Cultural Resources


  • Entry only during posted hours and only at Headquarters Ave, Hillsboro Ave, or 20-Mile Bend Area entrances. Closing times are strictly enforced.
  • Hiking, wildlife observation, and photography only in areas open to public use and on designated trails. Hiking is permitted from the Headquarters Area north to Acme 1 pump, south to the Hillsboro Area, and west to the S6 pump station. There is no entry or exit at the Acme pump stations.
  • Firearms and weapons possession in compliance with Federal and State Law.
  • Boating, canoeing and kayaking in canals and public use areas, except for Management Compartment C and those areas marked as being closed to the public. U.S. Coast Guard, state, and refuge regulations apply. 
  • Biking is permitted along the L-40 levee from the Headquarters Area to the Hillsboro Ave. The 12-mile trail is recommended for mountain and hybrid bikes. It is recommended that you bring water, helmet, sunscreen, and light snacks. 
  • Sport fishing permitted in the L-40 perimeter area posted as open to the public. Fishing tournaments are allowed by permits only. Only the use of rods and reels or poles and lines is permitted and they must be attended at all times. State and refuge regulations apply.
  • Waterfowl hunting by permit only in designated areas. Special refuge dates, times, and regulations apply. Call the administrative office at (561) 732-3684 for permit information.
  • The taking, harassing, injuring, feeding, enticing or disturbing wildlife and plants 
  • The use of an artificial light to view or take wildlife  
  • The release of any animals or plants into the refuge
  • Metal detectors and searching for and taking of artifacts or objects of antiquity on the refuge
  • All litter must be removed from the refuge and placed in proper trash receptacles 
  • Feeding, enticing or disturbing alligators and other wildlife
  • Pets of any kind, including horses
  • Possession or use of trot line, jugs, gigs, seines, east nets, or other fishing devices not described as permitted and commercial fishing of any kind
  • Motorcycles, ATV’s, or other motorized vehicles on any types on levees 
  • Airboats, jet skis, wave runners, Go Devils, hovercrafts, air cooled boat motors 
  • Fires of any type, picnicking, camping, or spotlighting
  • Entry into areas posted as closed
  • Swimming, water skiing, scuba diving, or snorkeling
  • Motorized watercraft on the canoe trail
Drone Use
The unauthorized operation of aircraft (drones), including sail planes, and hang gliders, at altitudes resulting in harassment of wildlife, or the unauthorized landing or take-off on a national wildlife refuge, except in an emergency, is prohibited. National wildlife refuge boundaries are designated on up-date FAA aeronautical charts. 50 CFR §27.34 

    Links and References 

    Federal Wildlife Laws 

    Title 16 United States Code: Conservation

    Title 50 Code of Federal Regulations: 
    Parts 10 – 16: Taking, possession, transportation, sale, purchase, barter, exportation and importation of wildlife and plants 
    Part 17 Endangered Species
    Part 18: Marine Mammals
    Part 19: Airborne Hunting Act  
    Part 20 – 21: Migratory Birds
    Part 23: Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Flora and Fauna (CITES)
    Part 25 – 32: National Wildlife Refuges

    U.S. Department of Justice Environment & Natural Resources Division

    Florida Statutes