Facility 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.
Leave No Trace

Anywhere you visit the outdoors, help preserve the beauty of nature. Take only pictures and leave only footprints. Learn more about Leave No Trace


Pets are allowed in certain open areas of the refuge. Pets must be kept on the leash at all times. However, no pets are allowed on Holgate Beach.  Please refer to the pet-walking activity page for additional information on trails open to pet walking.


Hunting regulations are very specific. Please visit the hunting activity page, the NJ Division of Fish and Wildlife websites, or call the Refuge at (609) 652-1665 for information. It is the hunter’s responsibility to be legally permitted on Refuge areas open to hunting.

Fishing and Shell-fishing

The refuge provides both freshwater and saltwater fishing opportunities at designated locations. Fishing is subject to state and federal regulations. Fishing is NOT permitted from land anywhere along Wildlife Drive.  

Anglers and collectors can find more information under the fishing and shell-fishing activities pages, or by calling the Refuge at (609) 652-1665.

Use of Drones Illegal on Refuge

It is illegal to operate unmanned aircraft from Refuge lands. National Wildlife Refuge System lands are often home to threatened and endangered species—these wildlife can be disproportionately affected by drone flights. Disturbing wildlife is illegal. Fines can be levied if a drone is observed disturbing wildlife, e.g. flushing nesting birds from an offshore island or causing resting seals to flee for the water, regardless of where the operator is standing. For more information on drone use over refuges, consult the Service's UAS Resource Guide. 


No collecting of any natural materials such as mushrooms, invertebrates, rocks, shells, berries, etc., except when fishing or shell-fishing as outlined above. Because these items are important sources of nutrients and habitat to various animals, the Fish and Wildlife Service authorizes their collection only by special permit. Code of Federal Regulations Title 50 Part 27 Section 61 (50 CFR 27.61) prohibits the unauthorized removal of any public property, including natural objects from any National Wildlife Refuge. Enjoy viewing plants, animals, and natural materials where you find them.