Rules and Regulations

On a National Wildlife Refuge, Wildlife Comes First!

Keep in mind, if an activity is not wildlife-related, and doesn’t help in the protection or understanding of wildlife or their habitat, there are probably refuge rules governing this activity. There are plenty of activities on the San Pablo Bay National Wildlife Refuge for you to enjoy. Be safe and have fun!

Hours of Operation
San Pablo Bay National Wildlife Refuge is open year-round from sunrise to sunset.

Fees and Permits
The San Pablo Bay National Wildlife Refuge does not have any day-use or parking fees or permits. 

Respect Closed Zones
National Wildlife Refuges were created for wildlife. Areas throughout the refuge may be designated as closed to protect wildlife or for public safety. Please read and adhere to the regulations identified by signs.  

Dogs and other pets are not allowed on the refuge. National wildlife refuges are the only set of federal lands set aside expressly for fish and wildlife above all other purposes. The prohibition of pets including dogs is to reduce disturbance to wildlife and habitat. There are studies that have been done that indicate that wildlife in the vicinity of trails, even where dogs are leashed, are negatively affected, causing lower wildlife abundance along the trail. It may be because wildlife instinctively look at dogs as predators, whether they are leashed or not.

The following exceptions occur:
Cullinan Ranch Trail: This trail is managed by California Department of Fish and Wildlife. Dogs must be on a leash (no more than 6 feet long) and attached to a human handler. 

Sears Point Trail: This trail is located adjacent to Reclamation Road (the paved road from the parking lot to the refuge office). Dogs must be on a leash (no more than 6 feet long) and attached to a human handler. No dogs or other pets are allowed on the upper levee trails (Sonoma Baylands Trail, Eliot Trail, and Dickson Trail). These trails are immediately adjacent to federally-listed and sensitive wildlife. Please respect wildlife!  

Hunting is allowed in designated areas with appropriate licences and permits. Please see Visitor Activities for more information. 

Fishing is permitted at the Cullinan Ranch fishing pier. See Visitor Activities for more information about fishing access in the North Bay. 

Bicycles are allowed on all trails on the San Pablo Bay National Wildlife Refuge. 

Other prohibited activities: All activities which are not wildlife-dependent recreational activities are prohibited and include:

  • No tresspassing in posted closed areas
  • No entry behind closed gates or fences
  • No overnight camping/parking
  • No fires or open flame
  • No kite-boarding or kite-surfing
  • No kite-flying
  • No horseback riding
  • No dog field trials or dog training
  • No drones and other similar remote-controlled aircraft
  • No Operating motorized vehicles on trails
  • No weapons (except shotguns used during lawful waterfowl hunting)
  • No discharge of firearms (except during lawful hunting)
  • No take, disturbance or collection of wildlife or plants
  • No littering
  • No removal of any property from refuge
  • No feeding wildlife
  • No spotlighting
  • No alcohol, illegal drugs, including marijuana

Please check with the refuge management before participating in an activity that could harm the environment or yourself. Contact the refuge at (707) 769-4200.