Visit Us

Currently, Featherstone National Wildlife Refuge can only be accessed by non-motorized boat via the southern end of Farm Creek. See one of our maps for the location of the shoreline landing. 

A CSX Transportation railroad spans the length of the refuge, carrying high speed passenger and freight trains. Water will be the only access point to the refuge until the construction of the Potomac Heritage National Scenic Trail is completed through the refuge. Construction updates will be posted on the website's front page.

Other Facilities in the Complex

Featherstone National Wildlife Refuge is managed as part of the Potomac River National Wildlife Refuge Complex.

In 1998, Elizabeth Hartwell Mason Neck National Wildlife Refuge, Occoquan Bay National Wildlife Refuge, and Featherstone National Wildlife Refuge, were reorganized into the Potomac River National Wildlife Refuge Complex. Reorganization allowed for better apportion of staff and resources for all three refuges. The refuges border Occoquan Bay at the junction of Fairfax County and Prince William County.

Rules and Policies

Help staff ensure that wildlife has a place to grow and survive for future generations by respecting refuge rules and obeying posted signs. In addition to standard recreation, the Service encourages adult and youth groups to use the refuge for wildlife-dependent interpretive and educational programs, but they must obtain a permit from the headquarters office.

Permitted Activities

  • Hiking - Visitors must stay on posted trails. Wetlands and forests are for wildlife only.
  • Fishing - non-motorized boats only. 
  • Photography - non-commercial
  • Wildlife viewing

Prohibited Activities

  • Pets
  • Picnicking 
  • Camping and fires
  • Jogging, in-line skates, and skateboards
  • Camping
  • Drones, fireworks, kite flying or objects launched into the air 
  • Audio devices disturbing to wildlife and people including electronic lures of any kind
  • Disturbing, introducing, or removing plants and animals, living or dead
  • Feeding wildlife
  • Entry into closed areas
  • Vehicles including bikes on foot trails
  • Use of alcohol and illegal substances


Group use of the refuge for education, research, or other activities is regulated to minimize conflict with other visitors and avoid pressure on sensitive habitats. If you would like to hold an event, conduct research or commercial activities on the refuge, you will need a Special Use Permit (SUP). 

Guidelines for Special Use Permits:

  • All groups of 10 or more people require a Special Use Permit
  • Applications for SUPs must be submitted no later than 3 weeks before the proposed date of activity. 
    • Submit applications by mail to the office address below
    • Or submit by email to the appropriate staff member below
  • A $20 fee is charged for SUPs
  • Include as much information about your activity as possible on your application. 
  • Not all activities are acceptable on a wildlife refuge. Staff will review applications for any possible negative impacts to natural resources, or conflicts with other visitor activities. 

Visit the  USFWS Permits Site  to obtain a permit. 

  1. Commercial Activities

    Guiding hunters, anglers, or other outdoor users. Commercial filming audio, video, and photographic products of monetary value. Any activity that requires a fee for registration or participation.
  2. Research and Monitoring

    Research and monitoring activities by students, universities, or other non-FWS organizations
  3. General Special Use

    Miscellaneous events, education activities, self guided groups of 10 or more, other activities not mentioned above.

General and Commercial Activity Permits:

Carina Velazquez-Mondragon

Visitor Services Specialist

Research and Monitoring Permits:

Chris Wicker

Refuge Biologist

Potomac River NWR Complex

14050 Dawson Beach Road

Woodbridge, VA 22191

(703) 490-4979


Featherstone National Wildlife Refuge
C/O Potomac River National Wildlife Refuge Complex14050 Dawson Beach RoadWoodbridge,VA22191