Coronavirus (COVID-19) Notice
Although most refuge lands and outdoor spaces have remained open for the public to enjoy, we encourage you to:

  • Check local conditions on this website and call ahead for current information
  • Follow current CDC safe practices by maintaining a safe distance between yourself and other groups
  • Wash your hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds
  • Avoid touching your eyes, nose and mouth
  • Cover your mouth and nose when you cough or sneeze
  • Most importantly, stay home if you feel sick


Features

  • Current Refuge Closures

    In keeping with guidance from the CDC, we have closed the visitor center, outdoor restrooms and wildlife window.

    Learn More

  • Calendar Blackburnian

    Spring 2020 Calendar of Public Programs

    The April/May Programs have been postponed. The wildlife drive remains scheduled and updates will be posted.

  • Artist-in-Residence

    Professional artists are invited to share their discipline while surrounded by nature. Email ottawa@fws.gov for an application.

    Artist-in-Residence Flyer

News

Restoring Access

The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service is following federal, state, and local public health authority guidance to implement a phased approach to increase public access to Ottawa National Wildlife Refuge. Based on this guidance and in accordance with the White House and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), the refuge has begun to safely increase access. Beginning June 17, Ottawa National Wildlife Refuge will reopened public access to the state connecter trail and boardwalk.   These include the: Partnership Trail Pool 1 Seasonal Trail Estuary Trail Gallagher Trail Woodies Roost Trail More than 12 miles of trails are available for hiking, the 8-mile wildlife drive is open on weekends from sunrise to sunset for cars, Cedar Point Fishing Access and West Harbor Landing are open for paddling and fishing. All within CDC social distancing guidance. The health and safety of our visitors, volunteers and employees remains our number one priority and the following facilities or areas remain closed until further notice:  Visitor center Public restrooms Wildlife Window We are excited to welcome you back but do ask that you follow current CDC safe practices by maintaining a safe distance between yourself and other groups; washing your hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds; avoiding touching your eyes, nose, and mouth; covering your mouth and nose when you cough or sneeze, and most importantly, staying home if you feel sick. Staff are working to maintain clean, safe, and healthy facilities in accordance with federal, state and local guidance. Please continue to visit this site for updates. We look forward to seeing you soon!

Wildlife Drive Dates

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Enjoy the refuge from the comfort of your car! The 7 mile route departs from the visitor center entrance road. Gates open at sunrise and close one hour prior to sunset. The Wildlife Drive is only open seasonally and on specified dates. Upcoming dates are May 30 and 31, June 6, 7, 13, 14, 20, 21, 27, and 28, July 4, 5, 11, 12, 18, 19, 25, and 26, August 1, 2, 8, 9, 15, 16, 22, 23, 29 and 30. These are the dates that we plan to open the Wildlife Drive. Nature may, and often does, have other plans. The roads that we drive on are on top of dikes that are used to control all of the water levels in the refuge wetlands. Soft roads with heavy traffic will cost a lot of money in repairs. We also have a significant chance of flooding this spring. For the safety of our visitors as well as to protect the road conditions we will close the road if there is water across it. Please check social media learn the status of the wildlife drive before traveling a long distance. We update here but current circumstances cause delays in updating the website.

Partners for Fish and Wildlife

Partners for Fish and Wildlife

Wetland Restoration

The Partners for Fish & Wildlife program works with private landowners to improve fish and wildlife habitat on their lands. We are leaders in voluntary, community-based stewardship for fish and wildlife conservation. The future of the nation’s fish and wildlife depends on private landowners – more than 90% of land in the Midwest is in private ownership. Providing more high quality habitat not only helps wildlife - by contributing to a healthy landscape, you create a conservation legacy to pass on to future generations. Partnerships are the key! To accomplish this work, we team up with private conservation organizations, state and federal agencies and tribes. Together, with the landowner, this collective shares funding, materials, equipment, labor and expertise to meet both the landowner’s restoration goals and our conservation mission.

Learn More

About the NWRS

National Wildlife Refuge System

NWRS Logo

The National Wildlife Refuge System, within the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, manages a national network of lands and waters set aside to conserve America's fish, wildlife, and plants.

Learn more about the NWRS