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Rules and Regulations

RegulationsUnfortunately, along with the advice we're giving you on visiting the refuge on this web site, we also need to include the "don't do's." Sorry, we're trying to protect wildlife and habitats; we can't help ourselves.

Wildlife First! Refuges are places where wildlife comes first. That's why most refuges do not allow activities that cause undue disturbance to wildlife, such as model airplane flying, dog trials, low-flying aircraft, water skiing, off-road driving, snowmobiling, target shooting and camping.

Did you know that all activities on a national wildlife refuge should be wildlife-dependent? The U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service has identified six such overarching activities—wildlife observation, photography, environmental education, interpretation, hunting and fishing. Keep in mind, if an activity is not wildlife-related and doesn't help in the protection or understanding of wildlife or their habitat, there are probably refuge rules governing this activity. If you are unsure if an activity you hope to pursue is allowed, call the refuge to find out (509-488-3140).

Columbia NWR General Regulations

The refuge is open seven days a week from sunrise to sunset, except for hunting (see link below).

Parking is allowed in designated parking areas only. No overnight parking is allowed on the refuge.

The use of unmanned aircraft or drones on the refuge is prohibited.

Camping is no longer allowed on Columbia NWR.

Littering is unlawful and can seriously injure wildlife. Help keep the refuge clean by removing all trash.

Dogs must be on leash.

No off-road vehicles.

Collecting of plants, animals, minerals, antlers and artifacts is strictly prohibited.

Firearms and other weapons are subject to state law. At all times, persons possessing, transporting, or carrying firearms on the refuge must comply with all provisions of state law. Firearms may only be discharged in accordance with refuge hunting regulations, i.e., only during the lawful pursuit of game during legal seasons.

Columbia NWR Fishing Regulations

Fishing is permitted on the refuge in designated areas and in accordance with state and federal regulations. Check the state fishing regulations for restrictions on individual lakes. To view or download the state fishing regulations, visit the Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife's Fishing web site.

To see refuge-specific regulations and a map, please see our new PDF file—Columbia Fishing Regulations.

Columbia NWR Hunting Regulations

No trapping of any kind is allowed on Columbia NWR.

For the current regulations related to hunting on Columbia NWR, please open the PDF below.

Columbia NWR Hunting Regulations

To see the regulations and hunting opportunities on all the refuges in the Mid-Columbia River NWR Complex, please visit:

Mid-Columbia River NWR Complex's Hunting Regulations
Last Updated: Feb 10, 2016
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