The National Wildlife Refuge System has three different Special Use Permit (SUP) Application forms to enable the public to engage in activities on a national wildlife refuge. These forms have been approved by the Office of Management and Budget and are valid until June 30, 2017. Forms for common uses on the refuge are provided here in a fillable format. The permit is not valid until approved and signed by a refuge official.
Environmental Education Fee Waivers
Environmental education fee waivers will be approved for educational groups visiting strictly for educational purposes. Groups who also intend to participate in recreational activities such as visiting the beach must pay the entrance fee. Examples of educational groups include: schools, scout groups, nonprofit organizations. All requests must be received 2 weeks prior to the arrival date.
For information or to request a ranger guided program please contact the environmental education coordinator at 757-336-6122.
For information or to request a bus tour, contact the Chincoteague Natural History Association at 757-336-3696.
Fee Waiver Request (pdf)
Over Sand Vehicle (OSV) Use
The Over-Sand Vehicle (OSV) zone at Chincoteague National Wildlife Refuge features about 10 miles of unspoiled beach for visitors to enjoy surf fishing and other beach activities. OSV permits are issued for a year from the month of purchase. Permits cost between $70 and $150, depending upon the type of access desired. At Chincoteague National Wildlife Refuge we strive to provide you with a safe and enjoyable experience. Regulations and equipment requirements are necessary for your safety and the safety of other visitors and US Fish and Wildlife Service staff. In the event of hazardous driving conditions we may temporarily close the OSV area for your protection. In order to protect threatened and endangered species, the hook is closed to all access from March 15 – August 31, or until the last nesting shorebird can fly.
To purchase a permit:
Virginia- permits may be purchased at the Toms Cove Visitor Center and the Herbert H. Bateman Education Center.
Maryland - permits may be purchased at the Ranger Station.
Additional OSV permit information and the brochure can be found at the National Park Service website.
For commercial permits, please click on the link below to fill out an application. Please send completed application packets to:
Chincoteague National Wildlife Refuge
PO Box 62
Chincoteague Island, VA 23336
A special use permit is required for all commercial operations on national wildlife refuges, including any activities for which participants pay a fee for any services rendered or goods delivered on refuge lands. This includes instructor-led educational groups. All requests must be received 2 weeks prior to the arrival date.
Permits are required for all commercial videography, including filming of documentaries, travelogues, feature stories, and advertising. Liability insurance and bonding may be required depending on the specific production activities proposed. News gathering organizations are exempt from fee, insurance, and bonding requirements, but may require a special use permit to ensure compatibility with refuge purposes, public use, ongoing research, or to protect refuge resources. Because of this, a meeting between Refuge staff and the project leader is recommended. All requests must be received 2 weeks prior to the arrival date.
Commercial Activities Permit Request (pdf)
We encourage research and studies that assist in answering management questions to enhance wildlife and their habitats on Chincoteague National Wildlife Refuge. Research is usually conducted by universities, Federal, State, and local agencies, non-governmental agencies, and qualified members of the general public. Research is authorized via a Special Use Permit (SUP). To apply for a SUP, complete the application below. Priority will be given to studies applicable to management on or nearby the Refuge. Proposals must demonstrate that the study will not have an adverse effect on wildlife or habitat. Feel free to contact the Supervisory Biologist (757-336-6122) to discuss whether your project helps fill an information gap, and how it can be conducted to minimize impacts.
Research Permit Request (pdf)
Couples wishing to have a wedding ceremony on the refuge must submit a request by mail, fax, or e-mail. If approved, a Special Use Permit (SUP) for the ceremony will be provided, along with any specific stipulations needed to avoid disturbance to wildlife or other priority public uses.
- Weddings are only allowed on the recreational beach.
- Your ceremony cannot interfere with other public use activities. So, we recommend parking lot 1 or the last parking lot before the Over Sand Vehicle Zone.
- Props like music, archway, and aisle runners are allowed.
- Only shade canopies, not larger than 10 feet by 10 feet are allowed.
- Artificial/silk flowers only for decoration.
- Real flowers are allowed in bouquets.
- Ceremonial props are allowed to be in place 1 hour before the ceremony and must be removed within 1 hour after the ceremony.
- Accommodations and seating for people with special needs (elderly, physically disabled) may be granted.
- Any additional ceremony props will have to be approved before the wedding. We do not provide any props or assistance in setting up for weddings.
- No receptions are allowed after wedding.
- The wedding permit is free of charge but the refuge entrance fees for you and your guest still apply.
- The best time to have your wedding is May – September. Our highest visitation occurs around the July 4th holiday and is not a recommended choice. The summer months are also our busiest tourist season, We strongly recommend a sunrise or sunset wedding.
- We require 2 weeks notice to issue a permit.
- Please note that request can only be made up to 3 months in advance.
Wedding Permit Request (pdf)
General Special Use
For all other requests please click on the link below to fill out a general special use permit application.
Special Use Permit Request (pdf)
Your request can be mailed to:
Chincoteague National Wildlife Refuge
PO Box 62
Chincoteague, VA 23336
Faxed to: 757-336-5273
E-mailed to: firstname.lastname@example.org
If you have any further questions please call us at 757-336-6122
during our regular business hours Monday – Friday, 8:00 am to 4:30 pm.