Passes and Permits

Flock of waterfowl at Sutter NWR

An entrance pass is required at the Sacramento National Wildlife Refuge. Valid passes include refuge passes, current year Federal Duck Stamp, or an Interagency America the Beautiful Pass.

Entrance passes are not currently required for admission into the Visitor Use Areas of Colusa NWR, Sutter NWR (open Feb 15-Jun 30), Sacramento River NWR, or the Llano Seco Unit.  Additional special use permits are required for commercial photography use, scientific research, and access to closed areas.

Special licenses, validations & passes are required for hunting - see below.

  • 2020-2021

    Here is a video explaining all of our passes.

    Due to the pandemic, the visitor center is closed and staff are limited on site. You can purchase your pass online prior to arrival via RecAccess or purchase the day or annual pass at the fee machine (credit cards only and must email photo of annual pass). 

    Most passes will have to be mailed to you but the receipt from RecAccess is valid to visit the Sacramento NWR. No need to print the receipt, just have a copy on your phone. If purchasing an Interagency Pass to visit other federal lands, you must wait for the pass in the mail before visiting other sites. The following passes are available via RecAccess:

    • 1 Day Pass to Sacramento NWR ($6)
    • Annual Pass to Sacramento NWR ($12)
    • Federal Duck Stamp ($25) 
    • Interagency America the Beautiful Annual Pass ($80)
    • Interagency Senior Lifetime Pass ($80)
    • Interagency Senior Annual Pass ($20)


    Learn More
  • Sacramento NWR Refuge Passes

    Sacramento NWR collects a day-use fee to help pay for visitor facilities. 100% of these fees stay on the Complex and are used for educational programs, sign improvements, platforms, kiosks, etc.

    The following Sacramento NWR Refuge Passes are available at the fee machine or the visitor center:
         - 1 day pass = $6
         - annual pass = $12
         - commercial vehicle pass = $20 (required for buses and commercial vendors)

    A Federal Duck Stamp or America the Beautiful Interagency Pass may be used in lieu of the Sacramento NWR Refuge day or annual pass.

  • Federal Duck Stamp

    Holders of a Federal Duck Stamp ($25) are able to access all NWRs for free. The stamp is valid from July 1 through June 30 of each year. Junior Duck Stamps are $5 and support waterfowl education for students. Both the Federal and Junior Duck Stamps are available at the visitor center or on RecAccess.

    Learn More
  • America the Beautiful Interagency Passes

    America the Beautiful Interagency Passes are valid on all federal lands, including those managed by:

         - National Park Service
         - US Fish & Wildlife Service
         - Bureau of Land Management
         - Bureau of Reclamation
         - US Forest Service
         - US Army Corps of Engineers

    The following America the Beautiful passes are available at the Sacramento NWR Visitor Center and on RecAccess....

         - Annual Pass ($80, valid for 1 year)
         - Senior Pass (must be over 62 years old, valid for lifetime or one year)
               - Lifetime Senior Pass is $80
               - Annual Senior Pass is $20 and is good for 1 year
               - for more information about the changes to the Senior Pass, click here 
         - Access Pass (free, US residents with permanent disability, valid for lifetime)
         - Volunteer Pass (valid for 1 year, volunteer with over 250 hours)
         - Military Pass (valid for 1 year, free with CAC military ID)
         - Veteran and Gold Star Families (free) visit HERE for link to print pass

         - Existing Golden Eagle Passports will be honored until they expire. Paper versions of the Golden Age or Golden Access Passports can be exchanged for the new Senior or Access passes.    


    Learn More
  • Military Pass

    This is a free one-year pass available to US military members and their dependents in the Army, Navy, Air Force, Marines, and Coast Guard, as well as most members of the US Reserves and National Guard. Proper military ID is required (CAC Card or DoD Form 1173). This is available at the visitor center. Call 530-934-2801 or email us to set up a virtual call to show appropriate ID. 

    For veterans and Gold Star families, visit this page to print the free pass for your vehicle. 

    Learn More
  • Every Kid in a Park

    every kid in the park logo

    Every 4th grader in the United States is invited to visit a federal land for free (including refuges and national parks).


    For 2020-2021, 5th graders are also eligible for free access to refuges and national parks. Visit here

    Learn More
  • Hunt Area Passes & Permits

    Hunting on Sacramento, Delevan, Colusa and Sutter NWRs required special licenses, validations & passes.  See the Hunt Area Permits, Regulations & Shoot Times page for more information.

    Learn More
  • Special Use Permits

    Special Use 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 activities to be considered. 

    Examples of activities that require a Special Use Permit (if deemed compatible by the refuge manager):

    • Commercial filming (audio, video, photographic products of monetary value)
    • Commercial activities such as guiding hunters, anglers, outdoor activities, or large organized groups
    • Research and monitoring activities by students, universities, or other nonFWS organizations
    • Large organized groups (birding, wildlife watching, festivals, etc)   

    Visit the National Wildlife Refuge System website for Special Use Permit Applications. Special use permit applications will be evaluated by the refuge manager to determine whether or not they are compatible with the purposes of the refuge.

    For more information contact: or 530-934-2801 or fax 530-934-7814