Common Questions

We know this is a lot of information to pour through. Here are some common logistical concerns that are also answered in the Educator Resources. If you still have questions, please send inquires to RidgefieldEducation@fws.gov.

  • Is there a fee?

    The normal visitation fee fee is waived for not-for-profit educational groups visiting the refuge that prearrange their visit. To arrange for this waiver and get parking passes email RidgefieldEducation@fws.gov or contact Park Ranger Josie Finley at 360-887-4106.    

    If your visit is a commercial visit or for fee (meaning you are charging your participants), you may need special permission. See Permits for more information.

  • Facilities

    Restrooms
    There are two vault-style toilets at the entrance. These have hand-sanitizer dispensers. There are no restrooms along the trail.

    Garbage
    There are no garbage facilities. We ask that you pack out what you bring in.

    Water
    There are is no drinking water on the Refuge so please ask your students to bring water bottles.

    Lunch
    You may eat lunch in the parking lot or along the trail. There are no picnic tables. Please make sure your students pick up all garbage and unwanted food. Food left on the ground is not healthy for wildlife.

  • Will there be guides to help us?

    Guides not available for the 2019 seasons.     

    Field trips for both formal and information educational groups will not be offered during this time while staff spend time working on program revision and revitalization. Resources will be focused on creating a more solid structure for education programs now and into the future. By assessing community needs and available resources we will be able to revise and improve program outcomes and evaluation processes. Our intentions are to create programs that offer quality over quantity and focus on the intersection between wildlife and community needs. We are very appreciative of your patience and encourage you to reach out if you are looking for other resources or ideas to support your students.

  • Self-Led Tours

    We welcome educators of all kinds to bring their students to the Refuge as part of a larger curriculum and student development. Even though we are not able to supply educators to lead you at this time, there is a lot of opportunity to experience the Refuge on your own, especially with good planning.

    Here are the requirements and suggestions for leading at group on the Refuge:

    • Visit the Refuge beforehand to understand the trail system, how to get here, and how you can best use the facilities. Remember there are two entrances that offer different experiences. Bus drivers will need to be given specific addresses as not to eat up time going to the wrong side.
    • Plan to bring one or two classes at a time. Each Refuge unit can not accommodate more than this without staff involvement. One class is ideal but we understand that a class at a time is not always possible for schools. If one class is on the trail the other one will need to be active in another activity.
    • Plan your schedule and activities out in a way that spreads students out in smaller groups and gives both humans and wildlife a chance to experience their surroundings. All students in one place not only creates a disturbing effect to wildlife, it also greatly decreases observation and learning opportunities. 
    • Let Refuge staff know when you will visit. This way we can alert you of other activities or groups visiting and if there are any maintenance or emergency closures that day. This is also a great opportunity to check with staff to ensure your activities are appropriate for the site. 
    • Remember to teach the Leave No Trace Ethic. There is no picking or collecting of anything on the Refuge and everything packed in must be packed out (including lunch garbage). Use this website to learn more about site, possible connections to your classroom curriculum, and how to use this outdoor classroom appropriately. 
    • Self-Led tours of the Plankhouse are NOT available.


    Email RidgefieldEducation@fws.gov to be put on the schedule and to ask any questions that are not answered through the links on this website.

  • How many students can we bring?

    Self guided tours should be kept to one or two classes at a time and distributed into smaller groups over the site in order to limit disturbance and ensure a better learning experience for students.

  • When can we visit?

    The refuge is open dawn to dusk, seven days a week. (See the Plan Your Visit page for current gate hours.) Closures for maintenance or weather can happen anytime of year so letting staff know when you will be visiting is highly recommended.