About the Refuge

Spadderdock in the Suwannee

The Lower Suwannee National Wildlife Refuge is unlike other Refuges in that it was not established for the protection of a specific species, but in order to protect the high water quality of the historic Suwannee River. The flow of the Suwannee feeds the estuarine waters of the Gulf of Mexico, habitat for the Gulf sturgeon and feeding grounds for resident and migratory shorebirds, wading birds and waterfowl.


Office hours of operation are from 7:30 - 3:30, Monday through Thursday, except federal holidays.  Refuge lands can be visited any day from dawn until dusk at no cost to our visitors.

Refuge headquarters is located 200 yards from the historic Suwanee River; the shaded River Trail leads you to an observation deck at the river's edge. The 53,000 acres flank the last twenty miles of the Suwannee River and cover 30 miles of Gulf coastline. Foot trails, boardwalks, paddling trails, wildlife drives, archaeological sites, observation decks and fishing piers offer recreation opportunities in both the Levy and Dixie County sides of the Suwannee River. 

Our mission is to provide habitat for native and migratory species. We thin non-native trees, plant native long-leaf pines and wiregrass;returning the habitat close to it's original state. We build a variety of bat houses for native bats like the Brazilian free tail and Rafinesque’s big-eared bat. To provide habitat for native pollinators, we use bee blocks, plant a pollinator garden and refrain from mowing wildflowers until butterflies have finished laying eggs and migrate south. See Visitor Activities for more information.