Rules and Regulations

Help keep Santa Ana National Wildlife Refuge wild!


There are a lot of fun, interesting, and educational things you can do on the refuge.  Keep in mind, if an activity is not wildlife related and does not help in the protection or understanding of wildlife or their habitat, there are probably refuge rules governing this activity.  Please check with the refuge management before participating in an activity that could harm the environment or yourself.  There are plenty of activities on Santa Ana National Wildlife Refuge for you to enjoy.  Be safe and have fun! 


Rules and Regulations

  • Santa Ana National Wildlife Refuge is here for the benefit of wildlife so please do not disturb or collect animals or plants.
  • Pets are allowed from the parking lot to Headquarters pond area (ADA accessible) near Hwy 281 ONLY.  No pets on the trails,  no pets past the visitor center or on the autor tour road; please keep pets on a leash at all times.
  • Bicycles are NOT permitted anywhere on the Refuge at this time.
  • Remember, the refuge is for here for your enjoyment of wildlife-dependent activities. Jogging is only allowed in conjunction with these activities. Large, organized groups that are not participating in wildlife-related events are not allowed. 
  • Camping, hunting and fishing are not permitted.
  • Visitor fees go to improving programs and facilities so please be sure to pay the entrance fee. 
  • The 7 mile auto-loop is closed to visitor vehicles and is currently used for the nature tram. 

 

Boca Chica Beach, Dunes and Flats Closed to Recreational Vehicles 
Alamo, Texas— Lower Rio Grande Valley National Wildlife Refuge announces the Boca Chica area, to include the dunes, tidal flats and beach, will be closed to ATV (all-terrain vehicle) and ORV (off-road vehicle) use, effective immediately. This action is prompted by the Texas Natural Resource Code 63.093, Cameron County Dune Protection and Beach Access Plan, and Texas General Land Office, Texas Parks & Wildlife Department and U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service, all of which collectively support the closure of ATV/ORV use in this public area. The Boca Chica beach/area was added to the National Wildlife Refuge System in 1990. The area provides critical habitat for imperiled species like Piping plovers, Red Knots, and other migratory birds, and for nesting sea turtles—particularly the Kemp’s Ridley sea turtle--the most endangered of all marine turtles, which nests from April to September annually. Other threatened and endangered species, including plant communities, also depend on this area for survival. The ATV and ORV closure in this is prompted by increased wildlife mortality and habitat degradation caused by an increasing user group, and larger, faster recreational vehicles that pose a safety concern for other visitors. ATV and ORV users will be required to find alternative sites to operate off-road vehicles. Access for wade fishing and kayaking in South Bay will be accessible only from the south Jetty of the Brownsville Navigation District ship channel. Other routes previously used by the public will no longer be allowed, particularly behind the dunes and through the wash over sites (gaps between the dunes), as these areas are the most highly productive nesting sites used annually by migratory birds. Further justification for this change includes the need to improve vehicle/visitor management throughout Boca Chica in anticipation of unmanned spacecraft launches (Space-X) scheduled to begin in 2019, that will necessitate expedited beach closures. These new regulations will being strictly enforced by state and federal law enforcement officials. Violators will be subject to fine and equipment forfeiture. For more information contact the Refuge Manager, Lower Rio Grande Valley National Wildlife Refuge at (956) 784-7521, Refuge Dispatch (956) 784-7520 or Texas Parks Wildlife Department at (956)546-1952. 
Boca Chica Beach, Dunes and Flats Closed to Recreational Vehicles 
Alamo, Texas— Lower Rio Grande Valley National Wildlife Refuge announces the Boca Chica area, to include the dunes, tidal flats and beach, will be closed to ATV (all-terrain vehicle) and ORV (off-road vehicle) use, effective immediately. This action is prompted by the Texas Natural Resource Code 63.093, Cameron County Dune Protection and Beach Access Plan, and Texas General Land Office, Texas Parks & Wildlife Department and U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service, all of which collectively support the closure of ATV/ORV use in this public area. The Boca Chica beach/area was added to the National Wildlife Refuge System in 1990. The area provides critical habitat for imperiled species like Piping plovers, Red Knots, and other migratory birds, and for nesting sea turtles—particularly the Kemp’s Ridley sea turtle--the most endangered of all marine turtles, which nests from April to September annually. Other threatened and endangered species, including plant communities, also depend on this area for survival. The ATV and ORV closure in this is prompted by increased wildlife mortality and habitat degradation caused by an increasing user group, and larger, faster recreational vehicles that pose a safety concern for other visitors. ATV and ORV users will be required to find alternative sites to operate off-road vehicles. Access for wade fishing and kayaking in South Bay will be accessible only from the south Jetty of the Brownsville Navigation District ship channel. Other routes previously used by the public will no longer be allowed, particularly behind the dunes and through the wash over sites (gaps between the dunes), as these areas are the most highly productive nesting sites used annually by migratory birds. Further justification for this change includes the need to improve vehicle/visitor management throughout Boca Chica in anticipation of unmanned spacecraft launches (Space-X) scheduled to begin in 2019, that will necessitate expedited beach closures. These new regulations will being strictly enforced by state and federal law enforcement officials. Violators will be subject to fine and equipment forfeiture. For more information contact the Refuge Manager, Lower Rio Grande Valley National Wildlife Refuge at (956) 784-7521, Refuge Dispatch (956) 784-7520 or Texas Parks Wildlife Department at (956)546-1952.