Permits and Passes

Federal Lands Pass (not valid)
  • Special Use Permits

    Special use permits may be issued for compatible secondary uses such as research, commercial still and video photography (includes professional wedding and family photography, e.g.), trapping, and other related activities.  Permits are also available for hunters with disabilities.  To inquire or apply, contact the Deputy Refuge Manager Eric Mruz at 952-858-0722 or Eric_Mruz@fws.gov for more information.

    Refuges are first and foremost national treasures for the conservation of wildlife. Through careful planning, consistent Refuge System-wide application of regulations and policies, diligent monitoring of the impacts of uses on wildlife resources, and preventing or eliminating uses not appropriate to the Refuge System, we can achieve the Refuge System conservation mission while also providing the public with lasting opportunities to enjoy quality, compatible, wildlife-dependent recreation.

    Through consistent application of this policy and these procedures, we will establish an administrative record and build public understanding and consensus on the types of public uses that are legitimate and appropriate within the Refuge System.  Visitors should be aware of permitted activities, and inquire if their use is permitted.  

    Please note: 

    • Drone use is not a permitted activity on any Refuge unit, including, but not limited to: launching or retrieving drones, or operating drones in airspace above Refuge lands.
      • Drone restriction is to protect the public from hazards and preserve the refuge’s natural, aesthetic, and scenic values. The use of unmanned aircraft devices, such as Unmanned Aircraft Systems (UAS) or drones, has the potential to interfere with public safety by posing an in-flight hazard to other legal aircraft use in the area. The use of these devices also has the potential to disrupt wildlife by interrupting migration, nesting, mating, and hunting as well as native birds and mammals, which could result in harassment of wildlife, 50 CFR 27.51(a).
      • This drone use restriction is in accordance with 50 CFR 26.31 General Provisions; public recreation will be permitted on National Wildlife Refuges as an appropriate incidental or secondary use, only after it has been determined that such recreation use is practicable and not inconsistent with the primary objectives for which each particular area was established or with other authorized Federal operations. All public recreational activities are closed until opened.
       
    • Commercial use of the Refuge is not allowed without a Special Use Permit.  Charging fees for tour services, operating concessions, and/or commercial videography or photography (including professional wedding and/or family photography) is not allowed without a Special Use Permit.

     

    For policy and regulations related to Appropriateness, visit https://www.fws.gov/policy/603fw1.html

    For policy and regulations related to Compatibility, visit https://www.fws.gov/policy/603fw2.html

     

  • Federal Recreation Passes

    There is no entrance fee at Minnesota Valley National Wildlife Refuge. However, we do issue passes at the Bloomington Education and Visitor Center that cover the entrance and standard amenity fees charged at other federal recreational lands. 

    The available passes include the Senior Pass ($80), Senior Annual Pass ($20), Annual Pass ($80), Military Annual Pass (Free), Access Pass (Free), and Every Kid in a Park Pass for 4th Grade Students (Free with voucher)

    You can find out more about passes and fee areas, and order online at  Recreation.gov 

    We accept cash or check only for all passes that require a fee when purchasing in person at our Bloomington headquarters and visitor center 

    We do not issue passes at the Rapids Lake Education Center in Carver, MN.