Rules and Regulations

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You are invited to participate in several recreational activities during your visit to Crescent Lake National Wildlife Refuge (NWR). However, certain regulations are necessary to protect wildlife and preserve the beauty of the area. Please take a moment to review these regulations. Your understanding of Refuge regulations will make your visit a safe and enjoyable one. 

  • Refuge public use is limited to daylight hours only. No overnight parking is allowed.
  • Hiking is allowed in all areas open to the public.
  • Horseback riding is allowed on signed Refuge public access routes open to motor vehicles.
  • Off road/trail vehicle use is prohibited. Licensed motor vehicles may be operated on county roads and mowed trails only.
  • Parking is allowed in designated parking areas only. No overnight parking is allowed.
  • Please stay out of closed areas to minimize disturbance to plants and animals.
  • Gates must be left as they are found, opened or closed.
  • Several sand trails require the use of four wheel drive vehicles. These trails are signed and enforced as such.
  • Pets must be leashed, except hunting dogs used for bird hunting purposes during appropriate hunting seasons.
  • Possession of alcohol is prohibited.
  • Island Lake is open to fishing year-round. Smith and Crane Lakes are open to fishing seasonally from November 1 through February 15. All other Refuge lakes are closed to fishing. Please visit the Fishing page for more important information.
  • Only non-motorized boats and boats with electric motors are permitted. Gasoline or other internal combustion engines are prohibited. If these types of motors are permanently affixed or built into the boat, they must be temporarily rendered inoperable by removing gas tanks, batteries, etc.
  • Sport hunting is permitted on the Refuge in accordance with all state and federal regulations. Hunters should consult the Nebraska state hunting regulations. Special refuge hunting regulations also apply.
  • Firearms and other weapons are subject to state law. At all times, persons possessing, transporting, or carrying firearms on National Wildlife Refuge System lands must comply with all provisions of State and local law. Persons may only use (discharge) firearms in accordance with refuge regulations (50 CFR 27.42 and specific refuge regulations in 50 CFR Part 32), i.e., only during the lawful pursuit of game during legal seasons.