Can't make it out to Forsythe? We've got you covered!
We now offer visitors a new way to experience some of the best parts of the refuge, from home or abroad, through two interactive StoryMaps that guide viewers along the Wildlife Drive auto tour and the Cedar Bonnet Island trail! Learn more about the history, wildlife, and ecology of these two incredible sites to enhance your refuge experience or to plan for a future visit!
National wildlife refuges offer us all a chance to unplug from the stresses of daily life and reconnect with our natural surroundings.
The Refuge encompasses over 48,000 acres of New Jersey coastal habitat, and spans about 50 miles from north to south. At our headquarters, located in Oceanville, New Jersey, you can visit our Visitor Information Center (VIC) to explore our displays, have your questions answered, and purchase America the Beautiful Interagency access passes. The Friends of Forsythe have a great Gift Shop as well. After visiting the VIC, you can drive the our 8-mile-long Wildlife Drive, which is actively managed for migratory birds. Located on one of the Atlantic Flyway's most active flight paths, the area is critical link during bird migration, and offers world class birding and wildlife photography opportunities. You can also walk our hiking trails, which collectively span about 8 miles.
Your fee dollars go towards safety services, trail maintenance, interpretative programs and activities for visitors and facility improvements for visitor enhancement.
|Entrance Fee Options*||Cost - Cash or Check ONLY||Can be used by:||Allows entry to:||Good For:|
Under 16 years old - free
|E.B. Forsythe NWR Fee Area||Daily|
|E.B. Forsythe Refuge Pass||$12.00/year||Anyone||E.B. Forsythe NWR Fee Area||1 year from issue date|
|Commercial Van & Bus Tours||
||Anyone||E.B. Forsythe NWR Fee Area||Daily|
|Interagency Annual Pass||$80.00/year||
Under 16 years old - fee
|Access to and use of NPS, USDA, FS, FWS, BLM, BOR sites that charge entrance fees.||1 year from issue date|
|Interagency Annual Senior Pass||$20.00/year||U.S. Citizens or Permanent Residents Ages 62 & older||Access to and use of NPS, USDA, FS, FWS, BLM, BOR sites that charge entrance fees. Plus 50% Discount on some expanded amenity fees.||Annual|
|Interagency Lifetime Senior Pass||$80.00||U.S. Citizens or Permanent Residents Ages 62 & older||Access to and use of NPS, USDA, FS, FWS, BLM, BOR sites that charge entrance fees. Plus 50% Discount on some expanded amenity fees.||Lifetime|
|Interagency Access Pass||FREE||U.S. Citizens or Permanent Residents Who are Permanently Disabled||All Federal Entrance Fee Areas. Plus 50% Discount on some expanded amenity fees.||Lifetime|
|Federal Duck Stamp||$25.00/year||Anyone||All National Wildlife Refuges which charge entrance fees.||1 year beginning July 1|
|Annual Military Pass||
|ACTIVE DUTY Military members and dependents. Must have DOD ID (CAC Card) or DOD ID (DD Form 1173)||Access to and use of NPS, USDA, FS, FWS, BLM, BOR sites that charge entrance fees.||1 year from issue date|
|Every Kid Outdoors Pass||
FREE - Voucher Required
|U.S. 4th graders or 10-year-old homeschool students||Valid at all federal recreation fee areas for one year.||1 year beginning September 1|
*Allows entry of permit holder and three adult passenger in a non-commercial vehicle (passenger car, pick-up truck, recreational vehicle). Children under 16 are admitted free. Motorcycles are individual vehicles; however, if two individuals have signed an annual pass and are traveling on separate motorcycles, then both can be admitted on one pass.
Know Before You Go
The refuge is subject to seasonal variations in weather, temperature, and insects. The following suggestions are intended to help make your visit pleasant and enjoyable. In each season, there are temperature variations. It is highly recommended that you check the local weather forecast for the day of your visit. Additionally, information on daily tides around Wildlife Drive can be found here.
Items to consider are:
- Appropriate, comfortable clothing
- Comfortable walking or hiking footwear
- Insect repellent in late spring, summer, and early fall
It is also suggested that visitors stop at the Visitor Information Center. Updated information on trails, boardwalk, and the wildlife drive are available. Emergency announcements of closures or other safety conditions will be posted on the refuge’s home page.
Interactive Refuge Map
Click here to view the interactive map below to help find trails, kayak & boat launches, boundaries, and hunting access sites and areas. You’ll be able to view different map layers to get the information you need to plan your next visit.
In An Emergency – Dial 911!
Dial 911 in an emergency while at the refuge. This will connect you with the local police department. In the case of the Wildlife Drive, trails, and boardwalk, you will reach the Galloway Township Police Department. Be prepared to provide dispatch with the following information:
- My emergency is: state the emergency
- I am at the Edwin B. Forsythe National Wildlife Refuge
- I am located on the “. . . Trail, Wildlife Drive, Boardwalk, etc.
If you make an emergency call, please stay on the phone until dispatch says you can hang up! The refuge is large and dispatch may need to track you by using your phone signal or verbal assistance from you.
We offer a variety of activities to visitors and have something for everyone! There are year-round wildlife viewing opportunities on the Wildlife Drive self-guided auto tour, along with over 8 miles of hiking trails that span from the most northerly, deCamp Wildlife trail in Brick Township, south to the Leeds Eco-Trail at refuge headquarters in Galloway Township . We also provide fishing, hunting, and kayaking opportunities at designated locations across the refuge. Click on an activity below for more details!
If you are unsure as to whether an activity is available for public use on the refuge, please give us a call at 609-652-1665.
Most of the refuge’s public use facilities are located at the headquarters area in Oceanville, open daily sunrise to sunset. This site provides exceptional wildlife viewing, photography, and environmental education opportunities. Accessible rest rooms are available. Pets are permitted on some trails.
Refuge Headquarters, Wildlife Drive, & Surrounding Trails
For a brochure of trails located at refuge headquarters in Oceanville, click here.
For a map of refuge headquarters, facilities, the Wildlife Drive Auto Tour, and nearby trails, click here.
For information on individual trails, including accessibility, length, trail type, and trailhead coordinates, see below:
- Wildlife Drive: Open year-round. An 8-mile self-guided tour of saltwater marsh, freshwater habitat, and upland forest. This area is known internationally as a birding “hotspot”. Observation towers are located at Gull Pond and Turtle Cove. An interactive StoryMap adapted from the "Wildlife Drive Self-guided Tour" pamphlet can be found here.
Cedar Bonnet Island Trail: Open year-round. This 1.5-mile loop trail located in Manahawkin, New Jersey features beautiful wild flowers and is good for all skill levels. The trail is primarily used for hiking, walking, bird watching, fishing, and road biking and is best used from March until October. (39.657435, -74.194229). A virtual tour of the native plants that make up the restored Cedar Bonnet Island here.can be found
Graveling Point Trail: Open year-round. This 0.85-mile out-and-back trail located in Little Egg Harbor Township traverses beach and salt marsh, offering stunning views of Great Bay. This trail is also a popular fishing spot, and you will see many visitors flock here during the summers to fish. (39.539391, -74.390494)
Holgate Wilderness Area: Open Sept 1 – March 31. One of the last stretches of undeveloped barrier island in the state, Holgate Wilderness Area is closed from April 1 - August 31, during the bird nesting season. From September 1- March 31, the beach is open to walking and driving below the berm crest. The area above the berm crest is closed year round in order to protect dune habitat. Please note that beach driving access requires purchase of a beach buggy permit from Long Beach Township. No pets are permitted at Holgate. (39.53100, -74.26500)
Holgate Clamming Trail: Open Sept 1 – March 31. Access to shellfishing grounds in State-owned waters along the western edge of the Holgate peninsula is provided to the public via the 0.4-mile-long Clamming Trail. Landing boats is also permitted to access those sites at those times. (39.51400, -74.28500)
Please stay on the trails. Closed areas provide space for wildlife to rest and eat.
Ticks occur all year, and are most active during the warmer months. Some ticks may carry Lyme disease, known to be harmful to humans. Insect repellent and other safety precautions are recommended.
Below are maps and resources to guide you during your visit. Included are a refuge brochure, birding pamphlet, and maps of hiking trails near refuge headquarters. There is also a pamphlet and associated map for the Wildlife Drive Self-Guided Tour.
Visiting our Cedar Bonnet Island Unit? Check out the CBI Native Garden Brochure below OR click this link for an interactive Storymap! https://storymaps.arcgis.com/stories/b8f54d91880f4436ad9b4c04c8e03b40
Rules and Policies
In order to protect the integrity of the Refuge, there are certain rules and regulations that must be adhered to when visiting. There are multiple uses of the Refuge. They include, but not limited to, activities such as hiking, bird watching, hunting, fishing and photography. Some activities may require permits.
If you are unsure as to whether an activity is available for public use on the refuge, please refer to the activities page or give us a call at 609-652-1665.
The refuge is open year-round from sunrise to sunset. All open areas are accessible to the general public approximately dawn until dusk, unless specified otherwise.
There are many closed areas on the refuge. Please be aware of your location and obey all posted signs. As some areas are not posted, it is the visitor's responsibility to know where they can and cannot go.
General Rules and Policies
- Comply with all signs posted at public use areas.
- Stay on designated trails.
- Do not feed wildlife.
- Camping and fires are not allowed on refuge property.
- Horseback riding is not permitted.
- No off-road vehicles (ATV’s, dirt bikes, etc.) are allowed on refuge property.
- Bicycles are not permitted on hiking trails. Bicycles are permitted on the Wildlife Drive and on the Cedar Bonnet Island (CBI) Trail.
Garden State Parkway Southbound
The refuge is easily accessed using Parkway Exit 48. You will exit onto US Route 9 South. The refuge entrance is at the 3rd traffic light (Great Creek Road). Turn left on Great Creek Road, which ends at the Refuge.
Garden State Parkway Northbound
Use Parkway Exit 41. This exit is for Pomona, Galloway, and Stockton University. At the bottom of the exit ramp, you will come to a traffic light. This is County Route 561 (Jimmie Leeds Road). Turn right onto Jimmie Leeds Road (Route 561 North). Follow Jimmie Leeds Road to the traffic light at US Route 9. (Jimmie Leeds Road ends at this intersection.) Turn left onto US Route 9 North. The next traffic light is at intersection of US Route 9 and Great Creek Road. Turn right onto Great Creek Road and follow it to the refuge entrance.
Atlantic City Expressway
The refuge is easily accessed using Atlantic City Expressway Exit 7N to the Garden State Parkway northbound. Follow the directions listed above for Garden State Parkway Northbound.
US Route 9
The refuge entrance is at the intersection of Great Creek Road and US Route 9. If you are traveling on US Route 30 (White Horse Pike) or US Route 40 (Black Horse Pike), turn left onto US Route 9 northbound. Follow US Route 9 to the traffic light at Great Creek Road. Turn right onto Great Creek Road and follow it to the refuge entrance.
Directions to Points of Interest North of the Visitor Information Center (listed from north to south):
The deCamp Wildlife Trail
From the Garden State Parkway, take Exit 90 for County Road 549. Merge onto Chambers Bridges Road, which will become Hooper Avenue for a total of two miles. Take the left fork onto Mantoloking Road and continue for 2.5 miles. The small parking lot is located at the intersection of Adamston and Mantoloking Roads in Brick Township.
Eno's Pond (joint trail with Ocean County Parks)
From the Garden State Parkway north or southbound, take Exit 74 toward Forked River. Take Lacey Road east for about four miles, crossing Route 9. The entrance will be almost at the end of the road, and on your left.
Barnegat Observation Platform
From the Garden State Parkway, take Exit 67 and go east on Bay Avenue. Follow Bay Avenue as it turns into Plank Road and then Bay Shore Drive. Follow Bay Shore Drive around until you see a small parking lot on your right.
Cedar Bonnet Island Trail
From the Garden State Parkway (north or south), take Exit 63 (Highway 72) east toward Long Beach Island. The entrance lot is approximately 3/4 of a mile before reaching Long Beach Island. The Cedar Bonnet Island trail can also be reached heading west on Highway 72, off Long Beach Island by turning left at the U-turn between the West Thorofare Bridges and main Causeway Bridge.
Holgate Wilderness Area (open Sept 1 - March 31)
From the Garden State Parkway (north or south): Take Exit 63 (Highway 72) east toward Long Beach Island. Once on the Island, take a right on Long Beach Boulevard. Follow all the way to the end where you will see a parking lot. During the off season, all 3.5 miles is open to walking and surf fishing vehicles with a permit (contact Long Beach Township at 609-361-1200 to obtain a beach buggy permit).
From the Garden State Parkway north or southbound, take Exit 58 for Tuckerton. Take 539 south until it ends at Route 9. Turn right on Route 9 (south) for about a mile and then take a left on Radio Road. Follow Radio Road all the way to the end.
From the Garden State Parkway: Southbound, take Parkway Exit 48. You will exit onto US Route 9. Follow Route 9 several miles. Turn left on Moss Mill Road and follow it until it curves sharply to the left. Take the next right immediately after the curve and follow the road to the end. Northbound, use the Atlantic City Service Center's access ramp to Jimmie Leeds Road. Turn right on Jimmy Leeds Road. Go to the traffic light at US Route 9 and turn left (north). Drive past the first set of lights. Shortly, you will come upon a V in the road. Take the right fork which is Leed's Point Road. Take it to the T intersection, then turn right. Follow the sharp curve to the left, and take the next right immediately after the curve.