About the Refuge

Mashpee National Wildlife Refuge - USFWS.

The Mashpee National Wildlife Refuge is one of 566 refuges in the National Wildlife Refuge System. The National Wildlife Refuge System is the world's largest and most diverse collection of lands and waters specifically set aside for the conservation and management of wildlife resources. Mashpee NWR is one of eight refuges comprising the Eastern Massachusetts NWR Complex. These ecologically diverse refuges include the Assabet River, Great Meadows, Mashpee, Massasoit, Monomoy, Nantucket, Nomans Land Island, and Oxbow NWRs.  

Mashpee National Wildlife Refuge (NWR) was established in 1995 to preserve and protect natural resources associated with the Waquoit Bay area for the protection of waterfowl and protection of wildlife. Located in the towns of Mashpee and Falmouth, this refuge will total 5,871 acres when complete, only a small percentage of which will be owned by the Fish and Wildlife Service. Currently, 341 acres are in FWS ownership. Managed through a unique partnership among nine Federal, State and private conservation groups, this Cape Cod refuge preserves thousands of acres of magnificent salt marshes, cranberry bogs, Atlantic white cedar swamps, freshwater marshes, rivers and vernal pools. 

Visiting the Refuge

For the first time since its establishment in 1995, the portions of Mashpee NWR that are owned and managed by the US Fish and Wildlife Service (Service) including the Bufflehead Bay parcel just south of Red Brook Road in Mashpee and the Redbrook unit in the town of Falmouth are open for hunting following the state of Massachusetts hunting regulations and seasons. Hunting is permitted for all of the Massachusetts game species with the exception of rabbit.  Hunters must possess a valid state of Massachusetts hunting license and all applicable permits and stamps and follow all state hunting regulations. Night hunting, baiting and the use of electronic calls is prohibited. The use of dogs is limited to the retrieval of game only. For a detailed map of areas owned by the Service please view Mashpee NWR Map.  Areas in green are opened to hunting.   

Within the Mashpee National Wildlife Refuge Partnership Boundary, there are miles of walking trails and fire roads for visitors to explore our neighboring partner lands where one can access areas such as the Childs River for fishing to a tranquil paddle on Moody Pond. A well utilized access site is on Great Neck Rd at the Jehu Pond parking area. 

Environmental education and interpretive programs are offered throughout the year by our refuge Friends group (on and off site). For a complete map please contact Friends of Mashpee NWR; there are public use areas on several of the partner's properties which are posted on the refuge map. 

If you are looking for a contact point, the Department of Conservation & Recreation’s Waquoit Bay National Estuarine Research Reserve has a museum at their property located at 131 Waquoit Highway Waquoit, MA 02536 

    Map of Mashpee National Wildlife Refuge (pdf) 

   Eastern Massachusetts National Wildlife Refuge Complex brochure (pdf)