Grays Harbor National Wildlife Refuge

Laws and Regulations

The Refuge offers wildlife-dependent recreation for visitors and rules are in place to protect wildlife and the habitat they rely upon. Wildlife on the refuge need to feed and rest with minimal disturbance by humans and this can result in better viewing opportunities for visitors. We ask you adhere to these rules and guidelines:

Refuge Hours

  • The trail and parking area are open daily from sunrise to sunset. The Port of Grays Harbor will close the upper gate during non-daylight hours. Be cognizant of sunset and depart before the gate is closed.
  • Overnight parking and camping is not permitted.

Closed Areas

  • Stay on designated trails. Obey closed area signs on fences, gates, and along closed boundaries. There will be space in-between signs - this is not to imply visitors can still enter closed areas if they access between two closed signs. 

Bowerman Airfield

  • This is an active airfield. There is NO access to the hangars, taxiways, and the airport runways, at any time. 

Collecting

  • Collecting of any plant, animal, or mineral is not permitted.

Wildlife Handling

  • Do not pick up any wildlife under any circumstances. Young animals may appear to be abandoned but more likely the parents are nearby but disturbed by your presence. 

Pets

  • Pets and comfort animals are prohibited at the Refuge in order to minimize disturbance (sight, small, sound) to wildlife. This is effective as soon as visitors arrive onto the entrance road and includes the parking areas.
  • Certified service dogs are welcome and must be leashed and controlled at all times. The Port of Grays Harbor does not permit pets past the pedestrian gate located near the Refuge kiosk in the parking area.

Bicycling and Running

  • Refuge trails are for walking only.
  • Activities such as bicycling and jogging are not permitted on refuge trails, gravel roads, and gravel trails to minimize impact on wildlife and less disturbance to other visitors. A bicycle rack is available across the Norm Dicks Visitor near the flagpole.

Non-Wildlife Dependent Recreation

  • The Refuge is not a park and activities that are not reliant on wildlife observation, nature and landscape photography are not permitted on trails, gravel roads and parking areas. For examples, activities such as throwing frisbees, playing ball, flying a kite, remote controlled toys, and balloons are prohibited because they are not wildlife-dependent.

Recreational Wheeled Equipment

  • The only wheeled equipment permitted on Refuge trails includes wheelchairs and baby strollers.
  • Scooters (motorized and non-motorized), skateboards, and other recreational wheeled items are not permitted.

Audio Devices

  • There are federal regulations that prohibit the use of radios and playback audios to entice or elicit a response from birds in the wild: 50 CFR 27.51 prohibits disturbing and attempting to disturb wildlife on any National Wildlife Refuge and 50 CFR 27.72 prohibits "the operation or use of audio devices including radios, recording and playback devices, loudspeakers...so as to cause unreasonable disturbance to others in the vicinity."

Drones

  • The launching, landing, or operating of any aircraft which includes unmanned aircraft (drones) from or on lands and waters administered by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service is prohibited (50 CFR 27.34)

Photography and Props

  • Wildlife and nature photography is welcomed and encouraged at the Refuge as long as visitors stay on designated trails. The use of props (for example: stools, chairs, wagons, balloons, ribbons, confetti, dolls, stuffed animals, etc.), artificial lights, and reflectors are not permitted on refuge trails and parking areas.
  • Commercial photographers are required to get a permit for their activities and must stay on trails.
  • Repeated trespassing into closed areas will result in violations.

Other Prohibited Activities

  • No fires, fireworks, boating, fishing, or hunting permitted on the refuge.