Rules and Regulations

Riparian area on the refuge  / © Gina DelloRusso

In order to protect the integrity of refuge lands, there are certain rules and regulations that must be adhered to when visiting. Activities not expressly allowed are prohibited. If you have any questions, please check with refuge staff at the visitor center. For a listing of regulations, please refer to the Code of Federal Regulations.


  • We strictly enforce pet regulations so please make sure you are familiar with the pet policy
     
  • From October 1 through March 31, we do not allow pets outside of vehicles anywhere along the Auto Tour Route (Tour Loop) or on any of the trails that adjoin the Auto Tour Route.
     
  • We do not allow commercial activities on the refuge without a valid special use permit issued by us.
     
  • We do not allow the operation of unmanned aerial systems (drones) on the refuge.
     
  • We do not allow the unauthorized operation of aircraft at altitudes resulting in harassment of wildlife, or the unauthorized landing or take-off of aircraft on the refuge except in emergencies.
     
  • We do not allow the harassment of wildlife on the refuge.
     
  • We do not allow unauthorized grazing of livestock on the refuge.
     
  • We only allow bicycling seasonally on the Auto Tour Loop. Please see our Bicycle section for more information. 
     
  • The only trail we allow bicycling on is the Bike Trail (Low Flow Conveyance Channel East Service Road).
     
  • We only allow persons to enter the Auto Tour Route, Wilderness Area, Hunt Areas, overlooks, parking areas and trails from one hour before sunrise to one hour after sunset.
     
  • We do not allow members of the public to enter closed areas. Please obey all area closed signs.
     
  • The maximum speed limit on the Auto Tour Loop is 25 mph; some sections are posted 10 mph.
     
  • We only allow the use of street legal motor vehicles and bicycles on designated roads.
     
  • We do not allow vehicle operators to be under the influence of intoxicating beverages or controlled substances.
     
  • We do not allow canoeing, boating, floating, swimming or wading in any arroyos, wetlands or water delivery ditches, canals, drains, or channels.
     
  • We do not allow camping or overnight parking anywhere on the refuge.
     
  • We protect all plants, animals, animal parts, rocks, minerals, artifacts, and cultural features and it is illegal to damage or remove them.
     
  • We do not allow open fires.
     
  • We only allow in-season hunting, fishing, and frogging for select species in designated hunting and fishing areas. See our Hunting Section under Visitor Activities for more information. We do not allow the take of any other wildlife.
     
  • We do not allow the use of permanent blinds or pits on the refuge.
     
  • We do not allow the release or introduction of any animal or plant including but not limited to wildlife or unwanted pets on the refuge. 
     
  • We do not allow the feeding of wildlife on the refuge. The digestive systems of wild animals are adapted to food found in nature and human food could cause them to become ill. When fed, wildlife might also become bold and aggressive. Never approach a wild animal no matter how “friendly” it appears.
     
  • Persons possessing, transporting, or carrying firearms on National Wildlife Refuges must comply with all provisions of state and local law. Persons may only use (discharge) firearms in accordance with refuge regulations. We do not allow the possession of a firearm or other dangerous weapon inside federal facilities unless specifically authorized 18 USC 930(a). Possession violations are subject to fine and or imprisonment up to one year, while 18 USC 930(b) possession violations with intent to commit a crime are punishable by a fine and imprisonment up to five years.
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