Cruickshank Hiking Trail and Observation Tower Closure

The Cruickshank Hiking Trail and associated observation tower will be closed for the next 3 weeks to repair damage caused by hurricanes Ian and Nicole. The Black Point Wildlife Drive will remain opened, as well as access to the Drive's restrooms. For information on alternative hiking opportunities, please see the "Hiking Trails" brochure at the following link: . 

Attention Waterfowl Hunters

As a result of damage from recent hurricanes, access to some hunt areas will be affected.

Update for Hunt Areas 2 & 3: Biolab Road is now open. Hunters wishing to hunt the Biolab and Max Hoeck Creek impoundments will now be able to access hunt areas using both the north entrance (Merritt Island NWR) and south entrance (Canaveral National Seashore) of Biolab Road. Waterfowl hunters are no longer permitted to haul boats over Biolab or Max Hoeck Creek impoundment dikes. The Playalinda Beach Road gate of the Canaveral National Seashore will be open at 4:00 a.m. for waterfowl hunters on waterfowl hunt days. Portions of Biolab Road still require additional repairs and hunters should proceed with caution. Hunters wishing to hunt Mosquito Lagoon in Hunt Areas 2 & 3 will still need to utilize refuge boat ramps.   

Hunt Area 1 (Quota): Hunters will need to use Peacocks Pocket Road or East Gator Creek Road to access boat ramps in the Peacocks Pocket, Gator Creek and Catfish Creek impoundments. Please note that Peacocks Pocket levee road will be closed. Hunters should be alert to heavy equipment on these roads.

Hunt Area 4 (Quota): While the levees in these areas have experienced some damage from hurricanes Ian and Nicole, hunter access is not affected. However, hunters may encounter obstacles (vegetation, sediment) within perimeter ditches. Please report any debris or blockages encountered in perimeter ditches.

Merritt Island National Wildlife Refuge, located along Florida’s coast about 60 miles east of the city of Orlando, was established by agreement as an overlay of the National Aeronautics and Space Administration’s John F. Kennedy Space Center. The refuge lies within one of the most productive estuaries in the country.
Refuge Passes available on

A Refuge Pass is required to enter the Black Point Wildlife Drive and Bio Lab Road, and to launch a boat at Bairs Cove, Beacon 42, and Bio Lab boat ramps. A variety of passes can be purchased in-person at the Visitor Center. Merritt Island Annual, Daily, and Foot/Bicycle passes can be purchased online at Fees collected are used to directly assist with providing safe and meaningful experiences to refuge visitors.

Learn more about Refuge Passes on our Visit Us page

Visit Us

National wildlife refuges offer us all a chance to unplug from the stresses of daily life and reconnect with our natural surroundings. Merritt Island National Wildlife Refuge offers a wide diversity of recreational and educational opportunities. From bird watching and nature study, to fishing and seasonal hunting, you are sure to find an activity to satisfy your passion. 

Location and Contact Information

      About Us

      Merritt Island National Wildlife Refuge was established as an overlay of the National Aeronautics and Space Administration’s John F. Kennedy Space Center. According to the agreement with NASA, the lands and waters of the Kennedy Space Center are primarily to serve the space program and secondarily to serve as a wildlife refuge or park.

      What We Do

      Wildlife conservation is at the heart of the National Wildlife Refuge System. It drives everything on U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service lands and waters managed within the Refuge System, from the purposes for which a national wildlife refuge national wildlife refuge
      A national wildlife refuge is typically a contiguous area of land and water managed by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service  for the conservation and, where appropriate, restoration of fish, wildlife and plant resources and their habitats for the benefit of present and future generations of Americans.

      Learn more about national wildlife refuge
      is established to the recreational activities offered to the resource management tools used.

      Our Species

      Merritt Island National Wildlife Refuge was established in 1963 for the protection of migratory birds.  Consisting of 140,000 acres, the refuge provides a wide variety of habitats: coastal dunes, saltwater marshes, managed impoundments, scrub, pine flatwoods, and hardwood hammocks. These habitats provide habitat for more than 1,500 species of plants and animals and 15 federally listed species. 

      Our Library

      Visit our digital library to view our brochures and publications all in one convenient location.

      Merritt Island National Wildlife Refuge Bird List

      A list of birds known from Merritt Island National Wildlife Refuge.