Laws and Regulations

Activities Requiring a Special Use Permit

Refuge special use permits are required for all commercial activity, scientific research, collecting activities, and use of cabins on Refuge lands and/or waters.  Commercial activities include all types of recreational guiding, transportation services (e.g., air taxi, big game transporter), and commercial filming.  A $100 administration fee is required at permit issuance, and permit holders are required to pay client use day fees. Contact us for information about applying for a special use permit. 

Big Game Guiding

Special use permits for big game guide services are awarded through a competitive selection (prospectus) process and are valid for five years, with one additional five-year permit available non-competitively.   

Other Recreational Guiding

Permits for sport fishing, small game and waterfowl hunting, and wildlife viewing are issued noncompetitively for terms of one year.

Educational Groups

A special use permit is required for all commercial operations, or any activities for which participants pay a fee for any services rendered or goods delivered on Refuge lands. This includes instructor-led educational groups where students earn educational credits for an accredited course.

Transportation Services

Operation of air and water taxi services, big game transporters, or other transportation services requires a special use permit from the Refuge.  These permits are issued noncompetitively for one year permit terms.       

Commercial Audio/Visual Productions

Special use permits are not required for still photography in Refuge areas open to the general public.  However, commercial filming and audio productions require a permit from the Refuge.  Contact the Refuge for special requirements associated with commercial filming permits.


Contact the Refuge for information about permits for any type of scientific research or collection any biological or other natural objects.       

Cabin Use

Except in cases of emergency involving the health and safety of individuals, use and occupancy of any cabin on Refuge lands requires a special use permit.  Existing permitted cabins should be respected as private property.