Wilderness Camping permits are required to reserve your place on one of the overnight camping shelters on the refuge.  For more information, visit our Wilderness Canoeing page

Commercial Guide Permits for Interpretation - 

To provide a commercial service (tour guide, outfitter, etc) on the refuge, you must have a commercial guide special use permit. Any commercial outfitter who has applied in previous years and remains in good standing, does not need to reapply, HOWEVER, these outfitters must submit updated insurance and first aid/CPR information by the deadline (see above). 

Link to Application:

2021-2022 Interpretive Guides List

Special Use Permits 

Because of strict requirements concerning public uses, all commercial activities and certain other activities such as research require special permission and may have permit fees associated with them. Some proposed activities requiring permits include: 

  • Filming/videotaping (any non-amateur work, including public television and other government entities)    
  • Seining or any collection of plants, animals, soil, or water  
  • Any after-hours use  
  • Any activity in areas not open to the visiting public  
  • All research     

When in doubt, it is best to apply for a special use permit.


To Request a Special Use Permit:
The permit must be requested at least two weeks in advance of planned activity.

The request must be in writing, on letterhead if possible, and addressed to:

Refuge Manager
Okefenokee NWR
2700 Suwannee Canal Road
Folkston, GA 31537

The request must include:

  • Who is requesting the permit? Name and address of the permittee (if the permit is for more than one person, this person is responsible for the behavior and compliance of the entire group. Names for everyone in the group may be required.)
  • What is the nature of the proposed activity?
  • Why is it being conducted. (Purpose)
  • Where the activity will take place (as specific as possible, boardwalk, Coffee Bay, etc.).
  • When the activity will take place, including dates and time of the day.
  • How the activity will be conducted. (methods and equipment)  

The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service issues permits under various wildlife law and treaties at a number of offices throughout the country.  Permits enable the public to engage in legitimate wildlife-related activities that would otherwise be prohibited by law.  Service permit programs ensure that such activities are carried out in a manner that safeguards wildlife.  Additionally, some permits promote conservation efforts by authorizing scientific research, generating data, or allowing wildlife management and rehabilitation activates to go forward.

Permits are handled by permitting programs in International Affairs (Management Authority), Endangered SpeciesLaw Enforcement, and  Migratory Birds.

Passes - Plan Your Visit (for Okefenokee Entrance Pass Information)

A series of passes cover the entrance and standard amenity fees charged for using federal recreational lands — including national wildlife refuges. America the Beautiful passes are available at for purchase at Both the Suwannee Canal Recreation Area and the Stephen C. Foster State Park. 

The Senior and Access passes are good for the lifetime of the holder and make available (to the pass holder only) 50 percent discounts on some expanded amenity fees.

Please visit the National Wildlife Refuge System website for more information about passes.