Facility Rules and Policies
Wildlife First! Refuges are places where wildlife comes first. That's why most refuges do not allow activities that cause undue disturbance to wildlife, such as model airplane flying, dog trials, low-flying aircraft, rock climbing, water skiing, off-road driving, snowmobiling, target shooting, and camping.
Did you know that all activities on a
national wildlife refuge
national wildlife refuge
A national wildlife refuge is typically a contiguous area of land and water managed by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service for the conservation and, where appropriate, restoration of fish, wildlife and plant resources and their habitats for the benefit of present and future generations of Americans.
Learn more about national wildlife refuge should be wildlife-dependent? The U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service has identified six such overarching activities—wildlife observation, photography, environmental education, interpretation, hunting and fishing. Keep in mind, if an activity is not wildlife-related and doesn't help in the protection or understanding of wildlife or their habitat, there are probably refuge rules governing this activity. If you are unsure if an activity you hope to pursue is allowed, call the refuge to find out (509-488-3140).
Columbia NWR General Regulations
The refuge is open seven days a week from sunrise to sunset, except for hunting (see below).
Parking is allowed in designated parking areas only. No overnight parking is allowed on the refuge.
The use of unmanned aircraft or drones on the refuge is prohibited.
Camping is no longer allowed on Columbia NWR.
Rock climbing, other than as necessary for allowed activities (e.g., hiking) is prohibited. The use of any gear for assistance (e.g., ropes, carabiners, cams) is prohibited, as are any devices that alter the landscape (e.g., drills).
Littering is unlawful and can seriously injure wildlife. Help keep the refuge clean by removing all trash.
Dogs must be on leash.
No off-road vehicles.
Collecting of plants, animals, minerals, antlers and artifacts is strictly prohibited.
Firearms and other weapons are subject to state law. At all times, persons possessing, transporting, or carrying firearms on the refuge must comply with all provisions of state law. Firearms may only be discharged in accordance with refuge hunting regulations, i.e., only during the lawful pursuit of game during legal seasons.
Columbia NWR Fishing Regulations
Fishing is permitted on the refuge in designated areas and in accordance with state and federal regulations. Check the state fishing regulations for restrictions on individual lakes. To view or download the state fishing regulations, visit the Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife's Fishing web site.
To see refuge-specific regulations and a map, please see our new PDF file—Columbia Fishing Regulations.
Columbia NWR Hunting Regulations
No trapping of any kind is allowed on Columbia NWR.
For the current regulations related to hunting on Columbia NWR, please visit www.fws.gov/mcriver/regulations/.
For the current regulations related to fishing on Columbia NWR, please visit www.fws.gov/mcriver/regulations/.