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 unwind from the stresses of daily life and reconnect with our natural surroundings. More than 78% of Edwin B. Forsythe National Wildlife Refuge is composed of coastal, spanning 50 miles along the back bays of the New Jersey coast, from Barnegat Bay in Brick Township south to Reeds Bay, just outside Atlantic City.
The refuge includes several scenic trails that pass through coastal wetlands, freshwater ponds, early successional fields, and woodlands. The refuge features a non-motorized boat launch on Lily Lake, and motorized boat access at Scotts Landing boat launch, 10 minutes north of refuge headquarters in Galloway Township. Our Visitor Information Center is also located at our headquarters, where visitors can purchase America the Beautiful Passes (cash or check only). From headquarters, visitors can also access the Wildlife Drive, an 8-mile auto tour with excellent birding, considered one of the best birding areas in the region. The Wildlife Drive features two wildlife observational towers, a boardwalk extending over the salt marsh with views of the Atlantic City skyline, and links to a network of trails, providing opportunities for hiking, wildlife observation, photography, and more!
Please note: this refuge has entrance fees for the Wildlife Drive and trails located at refuge headquarters.
Location and Contact Information
Edwin B. Forsythe National Wildlife Refuge (NWR) protects more than 48,000 acres of southern New Jersey coastal habitat. The Refuge, which is actively managed for migratory birds, is located on one of the Atlantic Flyway's most active flight paths, making it a critical link during seasonal bird migration. Its value for the protection of water birds, their habitat, and the habitat of many other species continues to increase as we develop the New Jersey shore for our own use.
What We Do
The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service conserves and monitors plants and wildlife, manages and restores habitat, and provides outdoor recreation for the public at the nation’s more than 550 National Wildlife Refuges.
The refuge provides important habitat for all species; however, it specializes in migratory birds. Edwin B. Forsythe has a large, recorded bird list with over 360 species sighted. Several species of waterfowl, waders, shorebirds, and seabirds can be spotted on any given day along the Wildlife Drive. The refuge supports large wintering populations of American black duck (Anas rubripes) and Atlantic brant (Branta bernicla hrota) that rely on coastal wetlands for food and shelter.
The refuge also supports one of the largest breeding populations of the federally threatened piping plover in the State of New Jersey. This population utilizes some of the last remaining undeveloped coastline in the state, located on the Holgate and Little Beach Island wilderness areas. These protected sites also support other beach-nesting birds, including American oystercatcher, least tern, black skimmer, and common tern.
We offer a variety of opportunities to participate in the mission of the refuge, from volunteering during beach clean-ups, to education and outreach of visitors at our Visitor Information Center. We also offer internship opportunities to youth interested in wildlife management and conservation.
Projects and Research
The work that we conduct at the refuge focuses on understanding the needs of endangered species; developing strategies to combatimpacts to habitat such as sea level rise; and habitat management for a variety of species, but primarily for migratory birds.