Facility Rules and Policies

To ensure your safety and protect wildlife and habitat, please follow these rules and regulations.  If you have questions, please contact the Refuge at 361-349-1181.  To report a wildlife violation, please call 1-844-FWS-TIPS (844-397-8477). 

General Rules

  • Daily registration and fee payment are required. 
  • Closing times are strictly enforced; gates will close and lock 30 minutes after sunset. 
  • Drones, remote controlled aircraft, and unmanned aerial vehicles are prohibited.  
  • There are no trash receptacles on the refuge. You must remove all trash when you leave - "pack it in, pack it out." Littering is prohibited.


  • Use of alcoholic beverages and controlled substances is prohibited. 
  • Entering or remaining on the refuge while under the influence of alcohol or controlled substances is prohibited.  


  • Pets must be kept on a short leash (4-6 feet) and under owner control at all times.   
  • Do not allow pets to drink or enter water; alligators and venomous snakes are present. 

 Animal, Plant, and Artifact Collection and Disturbance 

  • Feeding or disturbing wildlife is strictly prohibited. 
  • Collection of plants, animals, or artifacts is strictly prohibited; no metal detectors allowed. 

 Trails and Roadways  

  • Speed limit is 25 miles per hour. Watch for wildlife on roadways. 
  • Only street legal vehicles are allowed, and only on designated refuge roads.   
  • No ATVs, UTVs, or dirt bikes are allowed on or off refuge roads. 
  • Bicycling is permitted on the auto tour loop only; no bikes are allowed on trails, boardwalks, observation platforms, or towers. 
  • For your own safety, hiking is allowed only on trails and walkways.   


  • Public camping is not allowed anywhere on the refuge.  Scouts and other environmental groups can call 361-349-1181 for more information about camping at the Youth Environmental Training Area.


  • Picnicking is allowed at designated picnic areas.  Only propane grills are allowed. 
  • All trash must be removed as there are no trash receptacles. "Pack it in, pack it out."
  • No charcoal, open fires, or fireworks are allowed on the refuge. 


  • Fishing is permitted in designated areas and during designated times only. 

Hunting and Firearms 

  • Hunting is permitted only in designated areas and during designated seasons; permit required. 
  • Persons possessing, transporting, or carrying firearms on National Wildlife Refuges must comply with all provisions of state and local law. Persons may only use (discharge) firearms in accordance with refuge regulations.