About the Refuge

sdnwr landscape looking west_LCOX

California native wildflowers bloom amidst sage and chamise-covered landscapes. Red-tailed hawks and turkey vultures soar on thermal winds swirling around Mount San Miguel and McGinty Mountains. Cactus wrens and coastal California gnatcatchers call to their mates in the foothills. 

The San Diego National Wildlife Refuge is not just a place for wildlife, but a refuge for the city-dwelling neighbors who surround it. Established in 1996 and stretching over 12,300 acres from the city of Jamul to communities in Spring Valley and eastern Chula Vista, the refuge is the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service’s contribution to the San Diego Multiple Species Conservation Program (MSCP), a landscape-wide habitat conservation plan to preserve habitat and species while allowing appropriate development. 

Guided by ongoing biological surveys and endangered species monitoring programs, the management of this refuge also relies on its non-profit partners and cooperative agencies to ensure the goals established in its Comprehensive Conservation Plan are accomplished. Open grasslands, cool riverine corridors, and oak woodlands are some of the habitats being actively restored, once degraded by prior human uses and wildfire. Public trails that support hiking, mountain biking, and horseback riding are maintained while still providing for the sensitive species it is mandated to protect.

Welcome to the San Diego National Wildlife Refuge! We hope you enjoy your visit.

To learn more about the refuge, please explore the Wildlife and Habitat page.  To learn more about the National Wildlife Refuge System, please click on one of the left-hand menu options above.