About the Refuge

Left: Closed sign, Susan J Russo/USFWS. Right: Unexploded ordinance, Susan J Russo/USFWS.

Due to the potential safety risks associated with unexploded ordnance and the value of this island as a relatively natural island habitat, the refuge is closed to all public uses.


Nomans Land Island National Wildlife Refuge is a 628-acre island located in Dukes County, Massachusetts, three miles southwest of Martha’s Vineyard in the Atlantic Ocean. The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service first began managing the eastern third of Nomans Land Island in 1970 under a Joint Management Agreement with the U.S. Navy, while they were actively using the island for military training purposes. In 1998, management of the entire island was transferred from the U.S. Navy to the Service for the protection and management of migratory birds. Both the island and its surrounding waters have been closed to public access since the Navy began leasing it in the 1940’s as an aerial bombardment and gunnery range. Though range operations ended in 1996 and management responsibility for the island was transferred to the Service in 1998 to become a national wildlife refuge, the continued presence of unexploded ordnance throughout the island requires that it remain administratively closed to the public. Waters surrounding the island continue to be restricted; however, this is not under the jurisdiction of the Service.

Eastern Massachusetts National Wildlife Refuge Complex brochure (pdf)

Contact Us

Dukes County, MA
c/o Great Meadows NWR
73 Weir Hill Road
Sudbury, MA 01776
(978) 443-4661