Rules and Regulations

View from the wildlife drive - Don Freiday/USFWS.

In order to protect the integrity of the Refuge, there are certain rules and regulations that must be adhered to when visiting. There are multiple uses of the Refuge. They include, but not limited to, activities such as hiking, bird watching, hunting, fishing and photography. Some activities may require permits.

There are many closed areas on the refuge. Please be aware of your location and obey all posted signs. As some areas are not posted, it is the visitor's responsibility to know where they can and cannot go.

  • Dogs are allowed in open areas of the refuge. Pets must be kept on the leash at all times. However, no pets are allowed on Holgate Beach.
  • Horseback riding is not permitted. 
  • No off-road vehicles (ATV’s, dirt bikes, etc.) are allowed on refuge property.
  • Bicycles are not permitted on hiking trails. Bicycles are permitted on the Wildlife Drive.
  • Fishing is allowed on much of the refuge, though NOT permitted from Wildlife Drive. 
  • Hunting regulations are very specific. Please visit the Edwin B. Forsythe National Wildlife Refuge and NJ Division of Fish and Wildlife websites or call for information. It is the hunter’s responsibility to be legally permitted on Refuge areas open to hunting.  
  • Edwin B. Forsythe National Wildlife Refuge: 609-652-1665
  • New Jersey Division of Fish & Wildlife: 609-292-2965
  • All open areas are accessible to the general public approximately dawn until dusk, unless specified otherwise.




Compatibility Determinations 


What are Compatibility Determinations?

Compatibility determinations are documents written, signed and dated by the refuge manager and the regional chief of refuges that signify whether proposed or existing uses of national wildlife refuges are compatible with their establishing purposes and the mission of the National Wildlife Refuge System. All recreational activities and economic or other uses of a refuge by the public or other non-Service entity require compatibility determinations, which must include our analysis of all facilities, structures and improvements associated with the uses. Economic uses must also contribute to achieving refuge purposes and the mission of the Refuge System. Compatibility determinations are not required for such refuge management activities as scientific studies or surveys, historic preservation, law enforcement, or the maintenance of refuge management facilities, structures, or improvements.

We reevaluate compatibility determinations for existing wildlife-dependent recreational uses when we prepare or revise a comprehensive conservation plan, or every 15 years, whichever is sooner. We reevaluate other uses every 10 years or sooner, if conditions change or significant new information about the use or its effects becomes available.


For questions about the process, click here.