Facility Rules and Policies

When visiting the refuge you are entering wildlife’s home. So, keep in mind and obey all rules and regulations at the refuge to respect wildlife and their habitats, such as visiting during posted hours, leaving no trace behind, not bringing pets, not swimming or boating in Puffer Pond. 


Sunrise to Sunset

No Pets

The prohibition of pets is to reduce disturbance to wildlife and habitat, and make your wildlife viewing experience better. The presence of dogs, even when leashed, scare wildlife away from the trail. It may be because wildlife instinctively look at dogs as predators. Fleeing from a predator burns much needed energy that animals need to live and raise their young.

Note: Certified Service Animals that are individually trained to perform tasks for people with disabilities are permitted on all trails and facilities, as long as they are under direct control of their owner at all times and all feces is removed from the site.

Leave No Trace

Please take out your trash with you (take in, take out) ensure the protection and safety of all species.

No Disturbing Wildlife or Vegetation

No picking or disturbing wildlife or vegetation on refuge lands to to ensure the safety and protection of wildlife, plants and their habitats. Wild animals are unpredictable and will defend themselves if they feel threatened.  

No ATVs & Horses

ATVs and Horses are not allowed. These activities can disturb wildlife and affect the trails negatively. 


Biking is only allowed on ways and roads; Winterberry Way, Harry's Way, Taylor Way, White Pond Road and Patrol Road.  

No Boating, Swimming or Skating

Any watercraft, including kayaks, canoes and motorized boats are not allowed in Puffer Pond or any other waterbody on the refuge, excluding the Assabet River. Swimming and ice skating are also not permitted on Puffer Pond or other water bodies on the refuge. 


Refuge fishing is only allowed at the two fishing sites on Puffer Pond; the handicap-accessible Sandbank Trail Fishing Pier and Barron Fishing Access Site. No shore fishing or ice fishing allowed. All anglers must comply with Massachusetts State fishing regulations including fishing licenses. Use of live bait is permitted, with the exception of amphibians and reptiles. Fishing is catch and release only.

No Drones

Launching, landing, or operating an aircraft to include unmanned aircraft (drone) from or on lands and waters administered by the U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service is prohibited, 50 CFR 27.34

No Camping or Picnic Areas

There are no campsites or picnic areas and fires are prohibited.


Please check https://www.recaccess.com/ for more information.