Coronavirus (COVID-19) Notice
Although most refuge lands and outdoor spaces have remained open for the public to enjoy, we ask that you recreate responsibly.

  • Check alerts and local conditions on this website and call ahead for current information. Operations vary based on local public health conditions.
  • Consistent with CDC recommendations, all visitors (age 2 and older), who are fully vaccinated are required to wear a mask inside of federal buildings in areas of substantial or high community transmission.. All visitors who are not fully vaccinated must continue to wear masks indoors and in crowded outdoor spaces.
  • Most importantly, stay home if you feel sick and continue to watch for symptoms of COVID-19 and follow CDC guidance on how to protect yourself and others.


  • Christmas Bird Count 2021

    The 2021 Christmas Bird Count is December 15 and we are seeking volunteers! If you would like to participate, email

  • Hunt Program

    The Great Dismal Swamp 2021 Hunt Program is finalized. Click here more details and permitting.


  • GDS WD Trail_usfws

    Washington Ditch Trailhead:

    With a scenic boardwalk and a 9-mile (round-trip) trail to Lake Drummond, this is the perfect stop for hiking, biking, and bird watching.

    Click here for more refuge trail information

Important to Know!

Mask Mandate

To protect the health of those who live, work and visit U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service public lands and facilities, and in support of the President’s Executive Order on Protecting the Federal Workforce and Requiring Mask-Wearing, face masks are required in all USFWS-managed buildings and facilities. Masks are also required on USFWS-managed lands when physical distancing cannot be maintained, including narrow or busy trails, boardwalks, and observation decks.

Mask Mandate

eBird Trail Tracker


Follow the link to see what birds are seen where as soon as anyone post to eBird! Photocredit:USFWS/MJohnson

eBird Tracker

For the Most Current Emergency Trail Notices...


Please go to our refuge facebook page! Damp and windy weather can bring down a tree and block a road without notice this time of year. And then there are habitat management and construction projects that may require brief temporary trail closings. The most current information is always available on the refuge facebook page.

GDSNWR facebook page

2021 Hunting Plan


The Great Dismal Swamp NWR Hunting Plan is now finalized and the refuge is now issuing hunt permits for the 2021 season. You can view the final plan, a summary of changes, and permitting information here.

2021 Hunt Plan

About the NWRS

National Wildlife Refuge System


The National Wildlife Refuge System, within the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, manages a national network of lands and waters set aside to conserve America's fish, wildlife, and plants.

Learn more about the NWRS