Rules and Regulations

Refuge trail sign - USFWS.


  • Hours
    The refuge is open from dawn to dusk, all year. The visitor center is open 8:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m., Monday through Friday and 9:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. on the weekend (closed Thanksgiving and Christmas).
  • Fees (for access to Wildife Drive)
    Daily (at self-pay kiosk)
    Private Vehicle - $3
    Pedestrian, Bicyclist - $1
    Commercial Van or Bus up to 20 passengers - $15
    Commercial Van or Bus 21 passengers or more - $25
    Annual and lifetime passes (at the Visitor Center)
    Include the current Federal Duck Stamp valid July 1 to June 30 ($25); the Blackwater NWR Pass ($12), valid one year from date of issue; the Interagency Annual Pass ($80), valid one year from date of issue; the Interagency Lifetime Senior Pass ($80, for U.S. citizens 62 or older); the Interagency Annual Senior Pass ($20, for U.S. citizens 62 or older), valid one year from date of purchase; and the lifetime Interagency Access Pass, which is free for the blind and permanently disabled.
  • Notice for commercial tour operators.
  • Pets are not allowed on the refuge outside a vehicle, even on a leash.
  • Unmanned aircraft (such as drones) are strictly prohibited to maintain public health and safety and to protect refuge resources.  Launching, landing or operating unmanned aircraft from or on lands and waters administered by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service within the boundaries of Blackwater NWR is prohibited.
  • Collecting, disturbing or destroying plants, animals or parts thereof, is prohibited unless specifically authorized under a special use permit. For details see 50 CFR 18-99 parts 27 and 32.
  • Camping and fires (of any type) are not permitted anywhere on the refuge.
  • Fishing from the shoreline, including Wildlife Drive, is prohibited.  Fishing is allowed from watercraft in refuge waters.
  • To reduce disturbance to wildlife and for visitor safety, public use is restricted to designated areas.