Frequently Asked Questions

What are your hours?
Different units have different hours.
The Visitor Center in Fremont is open Wednesday-Saturday from 11:00 a.m. - 4:30 p.mIt is closed on all Federal Holidays.   

The Environmental Education Center is open on Saturdays from 10:00 a.m. - 4:30 p.m.  and closed on all Federal Holidays. The building is typically reserved for school field trips during the week days. Call 408-262-5513 for building availability. On Field Trip days Monday-Friday, the Center will be closed.  On non-field trip days Monday-Friday, the Center will be open 9:00 a.m. - 4:30 p.m. 

The Administrative Office in Fremont is open Monday-Friday from 8 a.m. - 4:30 p.m.  It is closed on all Federal Holidays.

All trails located in Alviso, Fremont, Menlo Park, East Palo Alto, Sunnyvale, and Mountain View are open Sunrise to Sunset.

Is there an entrance fee?
There is no entrance fee and all programs are free.

What can I expect to see on the refuge?
The Don Edwards San Francisco Bay National Wildlife Refuge was established to protect migratory birds, endangered species, and wildlife habitat.  Different wildlife can be seen on different units of the refuge.  Ducks, shorebirds, hawks, songbirds, and wading birds are plentiful from October-March.  Mammals like jackrabbits, ground squirrels, and on occasion, gray foxes can be seen.  Western fence lizards are common during the summer months and occasionally garter snakes.There

What threatened and endangered species do the refuge protect?
California Clapper Rail, California Least Tern, California Tiger Salamander, Contra Costa Goldfield, Salt Marsh Harvest Mouse, Vernal Pool Tadpole Shrimp, and Western Snowy Plover

Where can I walk my dog?
Dog-walking is allowed near the Visitor Center in Fremont on the Tidelands Trail, Marshlands Road, and the Quarry Trail that leads to Coyote Hills Regional Park.  Dogs must be on a 6-foot leash.

Where can I ride my bicycle?
All refuge trails are open to bicycles except LaRiviere Marsh Trail by the Visitor Center.

Can I reserve the outdoor pavilions for a party at either the Environmental Education Center in Alviso or the Visitor Center in Fremont?
The pavilions are for refuge environmental education programs and refuge programs.  If they are not in use by the refuge, visitors are welcome to use them on a first-come basis.  It may be best to call the refuge to see if a program is planned for that day.  Call 510-792-0222 ext. 476 for Fremont, or 408-262-5513 for Alviso.  The policy for appropriate use is posted at each of the pavilions.

Why can't I fly a kite, have barbecues, or play loud music?  Why are your rules different from the other parks nearby?
The Don Edwards San Francisco Bay National Wildlife Refuge is a federal wildlife refuge and its main purpose is to preserve habitat and wildlife.  Federal laws state that only activities that are compatible with refuge management and help conserve habitat are allowed.  This includes enjoyment of the refuge through wildlife-oriented recreation such as bird watching, environmental education and interpretation, nature observation, etc.  Certain activities such as kite flying and loud music disturbs wildlife and does not promote conservation.

I found an injured animal.  Can I bring it to your refuge?
Refuge staff are land managers and are not trained to rehabilitate animals.  Injured wildlife could be brought to Ohlone Humane Society in Newark which is only a five-minute drive from the refuge offices in Fremont.  Call them at 510-792-4587.

Why do you allow duck hunting on a wildlife refuge?
Hunting has long been part of the American heritage and national wildlife refuges seek to protect that tradition. Waterfowl hunting does not harm the population, and limits are set by extensive population surveys conducted during the spring and summer.  Duck hunting can also be used as a form of population management to prevent depletion of foraging habitat.  All hunters must purchase a Federal Duck Stamp.  The proceeds from the sale of Duck Stamps are used to purchase additional wetlands for conservation.  Click here for more information about Federal Duck Stamps and the amount of land purchased since the program began.