Rules and Regulations


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 visitors’ responsibility to know where they can and cannot go. You are visiting someone else’s home, so please remember:

  • Dog-walking is allowed around the refuge headquarters and visitor center areas, as well as on the Seneca Trail. Dog-walking is prohibited along the Esker Brook and South Spring Pool Trails. Pets must be kept on the leash and under their owner’s control at all times. If you have dog in your vehicle while you are on the Wildlife Drive, your dog must remain in the vehicle.
  • Horseback riding is not permitted.
  • No off-road vehicles (ATV’s, dirt bikes, etc.) are allowed on refuge property.
  • Bicycles are not permitted on the Wildlife Drive or the hiking trails. Cycling through the refuge is limited to local roads bisecting and surrounding the refuge.
  • Fishing is allowed from the fishing access area only. Fishing is not permitted in the refuge pools.
  • Boating in the refuge pools is not permitted. Boating is limited to surrounding public waterways, including but not limited to the Cayuga-Seneca Barge Canal, the Seneca River, and Cayuga Lake.
  • Hunting regulations are very specific for the refuge. Please visit Montezuma National Wildlife Refuge and New York Department of Environmental Conservation websites or call for information. It is the hunter’s responsibility to be legally permitted on refuge areas open to hunting.

  • Drone use on national wildlife refuges is prohibited according to our Code of Federal Regulations, Title 50:
    § 27.34 Aircraft.
    The unauthorized operation of aircraft, including sail planes, and hang gliders, at altitudes resulting in harassment of wildlife, or the unauthorized landing or take-off on a national wildlife refuge, except in an emergency, is prohibited. National wildlife refuge boundaries are designated on update FAA aeronautical charts.
    In addition, it is also against regulations to take photographs for commercial use purposes:
    § 27.71 Motion or sound pictures. The taking or filming of any motion or sound pictures on a national wildlife refuge for subsequent commercial use is prohibited except as may be authorized under the provisions of 43 CFR part 5.

Contact Montezuma National Wildlife Refuge Headquarters: 315-568-5987

All open areas are available to the general public approximately Dawn until Dusk, unless specified otherwise.

For general regulations related to the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service and the National Wildlife Refuge System, visit the Code of Federal Regulations.