Coronavirus (COVID-19) Notice
Although most refuge lands and outdoor spaces have remained open for the public to enjoy, we ask that you do the following:

  • Check local conditions on this website and call ahead for current information. Operations vary based on local public health conditions.
  • Face masks are required in all federal buildings and on all federal lands.
  • Maintain a safe distance between yourself and other groups.
  • Wash your hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds
  • Avoid touching your eyes, nose and mouth
  • Cover your mouth and nose when you cough or sneeze
  • Most importantly, stay home if you feel sick


  • Hunting Along Field

    New Hunting Opportunities

    The Crab Orchard National Wildlife Refuge is opening additional acres to hunting.

    Learn more...

  • WoodTrush

    Banking on Nature

    Crab Orchard National Wildlife Refuge brings you more than watchable wildlife, it's good for the economy.

    Learn More

  • Pelicans1

    Follow Crab Orchard on Facebook

    Follow Crab Orchard National Wildlife Refuge on Facebook to keep up to date on the latest events and wildlife sightings on the refuge.

    Crab Orchard NWR Facebook

  • 2018 Jr Duck Stamp_B

    Illinois 2020 Junior Duck Stamp Contest

    The Junior Duck Stamp Contest integrates art and science into a hands-on learning experience. Click the link below for more information

    Junior Duck Stamp Contest Information


Restoring Access

CO Campground resize

The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service is following federal, state, and local public health authority guidance to implement a phased approach to increase public access to Crab Orchard National Wildlife Refuge. Based on this guidance and in accordance with the White House and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), some concessionaire-run amenities at the refuge have begun to safely increase access. Beginning June 4th, Crab Orchard National Wildlife Refuge reopened public access to the Blue Heron and Little Grassy Campgrounds and Marinas for the summer season. Beginning June 11th, the Crab Orchard Lake Campground will open. We are excited to welcome you back but do ask that you follow current CDC safe practices by maintaining a safe distance between yourself and other groups; washing your hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds; avoiding touching your eyes, nose, and mouth; covering your mouth and nose when you cough or sneeze, and most importantly, staying home if you feel sick. Staff are working to maintain clean, safe, and healthy facilities in accordance with federal, state and local guidance. Click the link below for Restoring Access information at Crab Orchard National Wildlife Refuge. Please continue to visit this site for updates. We look forward to seeing you soon!

Restoring Access

Crab Orchard Photography Group

Crab Orchard Photograohy Group Rezise

Bring your camera and dress for the outdoors (weather permitting). The Crab Orchard Photography Group meets on the third Wednesday of each month (except January 2020) from 8 to 11am. Meet your CONWR volunteer photographer/leader at the Visitor Center, then carpool and caravan to special locations in the Refuge to photograph the seasonal offerings such as wildflowers, butterflies, migrating birds, and other wonders of nature. The group will reconvene back at the Visitor Center to share pictures and talk about photography. No experience necessary! No reservations required! For more information contact the Refuge Visitor Center.

Junior Refuge Ranger Program

Jr Ranger - Resize

Kids ages 4 to 12 can become a Junior Ranger by completing certain steps in the Junior Refuge Ranger Booklet! This booklet is full of fun activities that can be done while exploring the Refuge with the whole family, next time that you come and visit us ask a Ranger for it.

Illinois Jr Duck Stamp

Illinois Junior Duck Stamp

Arjaa Raghu_2020 Illinois Jr Duck Stamp Winner_5

The Federal Junior Duck Stamp Conservation and Design Program integrates art and science into a hands-on learning experience. Through art and science, this program teaches students in grades K through 12 the value of wetlands and the waterfowl that use them. Each year hundreds of students participate in their state’s program nationwide. Congratulations to Arjaa Raghu for winning Best of Show in the 2020 Illinois Junior Duck Stamp Art Contest! Arjaa painting of a female Mallard Duck next to her duckling will continue on to the National 2020 Federal Junior Duck Stamp Competition. Click the link below for Illinois contest information.

Illinois Jr Duck Stamp

America the Beautiful Passes

America the Beautiful Passes


Senior Lifetime, Senior Annual, Interagency Annual, Military, Disabled Access Passes, and Every Kid Outdoors (4th Grade) passes, along with the Federal Duck Stamp and Refuge Specific Passes, are available at the Crab Orchard Visitor Center. Accepted payments are cash or check. Credit or debit cards may not be used for payment.

More Information

About the NWRS

National Wildlife Refuge System


The National Wildlife Refuge System, within the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, manages a national network of lands and waters set aside to conserve America's fish, wildlife, and plants.

Learn more about the NWRS