Deer walking by a refuge welcome sign - Cindy Kreticos.

Group use of the refuge for education, research, or other activities is regulated to minimize conflict with other visitors and avoid pressure on sensitive habitats.

If you would like to hold an event, conduct research or commercial activities on the refuge, you will need a Special Use Permit (SUP). 

Guidelines for Special Use Permits:

  • All groups of 10 or more people require a Special Use Permit
  • Applications for SUPs must be submitted no later than 3 weeks before the proposed date of activity. 
    • Submit applications by mail to the office address below
    • Or submit by email to the appropriate staff member below
  • A $20 fee is charged for SUPs*
  • Include as much information about your activity as possible on your application. 
  • Not all activities are acceptable on a wildlife refuge. Staff will review applications for any possible negative impacts to natural resources, or conflicts with other visitor activities. 

Special Use Permit applications can be found below by clicking on the type of activity. Each application is different, so choose the activity you are interested in. 

  1. General Special Use
    Miscellaneous events, education activities, self guided groups of 10 or more, other activities not mentioned below. 
  2. Research and Monitoring
    Research and monitoring activities by students, universities, or other nonFWS organizations
  3. Commercial Activities
    Guiding hunters, anglers, or other outdoor users. Commercial filming audio, video, and photographic products of monetary value. Any activity that requires a fee for registration or participation
For more in depth information about permits, visit the USFWS Permits Site.
General and Commercial Activity Permits:
Carina Velazquez-Mondragon
Visitor Services Specialist
Research and Monitoring Permits:
Chris Wicker
Refuge Biologist

Potomac River NWR Complex
14050 Dawson Beach Road
Woodbridge, VA 22191
(703) 490-4979
*Fee waived for officially recognized educational institutes. See Frequently Asked Questions for more info.