Rules and Regulations

Rules Regulations Hdr Photo


National Wildlife Refuges are places where wildlife comes first. Although people are welcome, activities are regulated and monitored to ensure that impacts are minimal to the plants and animals that call the Refuge “home”. Please obey the signs and regulations in handouts and brochures which are designed to protect both wildlife and visitors. Below is a partial list of rules and regulations for Pelican Island National Wildlife Refuge. If you are unsure about an activity, please call the Refuge at (772) 581-5557.

Refuge Specific Regulations:

The Refuge is open for nature photography, wildlife observation, fishing, environmental education and interpretation.


  • Refuge public use areas off of Jungle Trail are open from 7:30am to sunset.
  • Hiking, wildlife observation, and photography only in areas open to public use and on designated trails. 
  • Firearms and weapons possession in compliance with Federal and State Law.
  • Boating, canoeing and kayaking in the Indian River Lagoon, except those areas marked as being closed to the public. U.S. Coast Guard, state, and Refuge regulations apply. 
  • Sport fishing and recreational shellfish harvesting within the open waters of the Indian River Lagoon, but not within any of the designated commercial shellfish leases. State regulations apply.
  • Bank fishing on the Indian River Lagoon side of Bird’s Impoundment Trail.


  • Going on Pelican Island proper or entering within the closed area signs around the island.
  • Hunting
  • The taking, harassing, injuring, feeding, enticing or disturbing of wildlife and plants 
  • The use of an artificial light to view or take wildlife 
  • The release of any animals or plants into the Refuge
  • Metal detectors and searching for and taking of artifacts or objects of antiquity on the Refuge
  • All litter must be removed from the Refuge and placed in proper trash receptacles 
  • Pets of any kind, including horses
  • Fishing from structures or in the interiors of the salt marsh impoundments, lakes, or ponds.
  • Launching boats/kayaks, swimming, water skiing, scuba diving, or snorkeling or entering in impoundments, lakes, or ponds
  • Shellfish harvesting within designated commercial shellfish leases. The use of rakes for shellfish harvesting
  • Motorcycles, ATV’s, or other motorized vehicles off road or on foot trails
  • Fires of any type, fireworks, picnicking, camping, or spotlighting
  • Entry into areas posted as closed
  • Use of firearms
  •  The use of DRONES, UAV's or UAS's
  •  Entering or remaining on the Refuge when under the influence of alcohol

Title 50 Code of Federal Regulations:

Parts 10 – 16: Taking, possession, transportation, sale, purchase, barter, exportation and importation of wildlife and plants
Part 17: Endangered Species
Part 18: Marine Mammals
Part 19: Airborne Hunting Act
Part 20 – 21: Migratory Birds
Part 23: Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Flora and Fauna (CITES)
Part 25 – 32: National Wildlife Refuges

U.S. Department of Justice Environment & Natural Resources Division