There is a wide variety of recreational opportunities at Crab Orchard National Wildlife Refuge. Whether you like to fish, camp, or photograph, Crab Orchard has plenty of recreational opportunities for everyone!
Archery demonstrations and lessons may be a part of local site programming. Some refuges and hatcheries permit bow-hunting with other hunting. This activity is typically limited. Check locally for how to apply.
Biking is a good way to see wildlife, learn about habitats and photograph nature. Yield to pedestrians; many refuge routes are multi-use trails. Biking may be permitted at sites where it is consistent with a refuge’s statutory purpose. E-bikes are permitted on any refuge roads and trails where traditional bicycle use is allowed, if it is consistent with a refuge’s statutory purpose and the refuge manager determines it to be a compatible use.
From bald eagles to spoonbills, from condors to puffins, birds abound on national wildlife refuges. Refuges provide places for birds to nest, rest, feed and breed making them world-renown for their birding opportunities.
Many Fish and Wildlife Service sites make great destinations for flatwater canoeing or kayaking. Some sites have concessions that rent canoes or kayaks. Some sites offer scheduled paddle tours. See individual refuge websites for details.
Seasonal firewood gathering is available at a few sites, by permit. Tree cutting is generally limited to dead and downed trees or non-native trees. Some refuges have stopped allowing firewood cutting to stem the spread of the emerald ash borer, an invasive pest. Check individual sites for more information.
Take your pick of 2,100 miles of refreshing trails and boardwalks. Whether you want a short, easy walk or a challenging hike, you’re likely to find what you want. Some trails are paved and universally accessible. Some trails include displays on visual arts, local history and culture or environmental education.
Hunters in southern Illinois enjoy a rich tradition of hunting on public lands. Each year thousands of hunters from across the nation are attracted to Crab Orchard National Wildlife Refuge to hunt an exceptionally diverse list of species, including trophy bucks, turkeys, small game and waterfowl...
Whether you wield a smartphone or a zoom lens, you’ll find photo-worthy subjects at national wildlife refuges and national fish hatcheries. Wildlife photography is a priority public use on national wildlife refuges, so you’ll find wildlife drives and blinds and overlooks to help you get the images you’re after.
Rangers lead wildlife walks, tours and educational programs at many sites. Events may focus on wildflowers or birds or on seasonal spectacles, such as elk bugling or sea turtle nesting. Some programs may be limited in size or require advance registration. See individual websites for details.
Trapping is carefully managed to ensure safety and the sustainability of wildlife populations. Permitted trapping on refuges typically mirrors state regulations, and trappers who access refuge lands for recreation must possess state licenses and follow state regulations as well as permit stipulations.