Frequently Asked Questions

Do I need a Special Use Permit?

The Wichita Mountains Wildlife Refuge is open to the public year-round. If you are visiting the Refuge on your own, for recreational purposes, no permit is required. If, however, you want to conduct a commercial activity such as guiding, outfitting, film-making, commercial photography, providing commercial transportation, or a special event involving a group of people; or if you propose to conduct scientific research or other non-recreational activities, a Special Use Permit (SUP) is required.

When may I apply for a Special Use Permit?

We encourage you to contact refuge management at least three months in advance to begin the SUP process.

How do I begin the permit process?

Read through the Permits page to see if a permit is required for your desired activity. If one is, determine which type of permit you should apply for.
Before you request a permit, please become familiar with the wildlife, wilderness, and recreational values for which the Wichita Mountains Wildlife Refuge was established and which must be protected. Additional information about the Refuge is available on this web site. Read these sections to gain further insights about what activities might be allowed on the Refuge.
To apply for a Special Use Permit, contact the appropriate staff member for the type of permit in which you are interested. Review the Permits page for a list of uses and links to the appropriate contacts.

How long does the permit process take?

Once we receive your completed permit application and information the process can take up to 45 days so a request for a Special Use Permit should be submitted as early as possible. In order to protect Refuge values, we may require revision of schedules, location, means of access, party size, and/or methods.

What special considerations do I need to be aware of?

Permits will generally include special conditions to minimize potential impacts on Refuge resources, other users, and for public safety. Refuge staff members must take into consideration Refuge management plans and policies as well as a number of federal and state laws and regulations when considering each permit application. Particularly careful scrutiny must be given to any requested use not allowed to the general public. Some issues given special attention are:

  • Installations - Placement of installations (e.g., data collection stations, weather stations, structures, remote video, and towers, etc.) are carefully scrutinized and may be prohibited.  
  • Areas of special designation - Areas with special designation, including designated Wilderness, and Special Use Area may have special considerations and regulatory requirements.  
  • Wildlife - The potential for the proposed activity to interfere with or attract wildlife, or its potential for causing dangerous interactions between wildlife and humans, will be carefully examined and may result in modification or denial of the proposed activity.  
  • Group size - Total group size for permitted commercial recreational activities may be limited.  

Sub-contracting is not authorized. Applicants and/or approved employees must conduct all commercial services offered.