Facility Rules and Policies

When visiting the refuge you are entering wildlife’s home. So, keep in mind and obey all rules and regulations at the refuge to respect wildlife and their habitats, such as visiting during posted hours, leaving no trace behind, not bringing pets, not swimming or fishing in refuge ponds.


Sunrise to Sunset

No Pets

The prohibition of pets is to reduce disturbance to wildlife and habitat, and make your wildlife viewing experience better. The presence of dogs, even when leashed, scare wildlife away from the trail. It may be because wildlife instinctively look at dogs as predators. Fleeing from a predator burns much needed energy that animals need to live and raise their young.

Note: Certified Service Animals that are individually trained to perform tasks for people with disabilities are permitted on all trails and facilities, as long as they are under direct control of their owner at all times and all feces is removed from the site.

Leave No Trace

Please take out your trash with you (take in, take out) ensure the protection and safety of all species.

No Disturbing Wildlife or Vegetation

No picking or disturbing wildlife or vegetation on refuge lands to to ensure the safety and protection of wildlife, plants and their habitats. Wild animals are unpredictable and will defend themselves if they feel threatened.  

No ATVs & Horses

ATVs and Horses are not allowed. These activities can disturb wildlife and affect the trails negatively. 


Biking is only allowed on ways and roads; Winterberry Way, Harry's Way, Taylor Way, White Pond Road and Patrol Road. 


There are two nonmotorized boats launches. The Sudbury Unit has a boat launch off the Weir Hill Trail. In Carlisle, on Route 225, there is a boat launch for Concord River access. Please remember to clean, drain, and dry your watercraft after and before utilizing multiple waterways to help the limit the spread of invasive species invasive species
An invasive species is any plant or animal that has spread or been introduced into a new area where they are, or could, cause harm to the environment, economy, or human, animal, or plant health. Their unwelcome presence can destroy ecosystems and cost millions of dollars.

Learn more about invasive species


Fishing is allowed via nonmotorized boats on the Concord and Sudbury Rivers and from the launch areas. For Sudbury River access, the launch is on the Weir Hill Trail in the Sudbury Unit. For access for the Concord River, there is a boat launch off Route 225 in Carlisle. Fishing from any refuge pond, wetland pools, streams or the impoundments is prohibited. All anglers must comply with Massachusetts State fishing regulations including fishing licenses. Fishing is catch and release only. 

No Drones

Launching, landing, or operating an aircraft to include unmanned aircraft (drone) from or on lands and waters administered by the U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service is prohibited, 50 CFR 27.34

No Camping or Picnic Areas

There are no campsites or picnic areas and fires are prohibited.

No Swimming or Skating

Swimming or ice skating from any refuge pond, wetland pool or the impoundments is prohibited. 

No Biking

Biking is not allowed on trails. 


Please see Great Meadows’s hunt brochure and hunt seasons sheet for more information on rules and regulations such as season dates, bag limits, firearms, hunting units, equipment usage, access, etc.  Hunters must purchase a hunt permit to hunt on the refuge. Note the Concord unit off Monsen Road is closed to hunting.