Prime Hook National Wildlife Refuge

Prime Hook National Wildlife Refuge was officially established in 1963 “for use as an inviolate sanctuary, or for any other management purpose, for migratory birds.”
Fowler Beach to reopen October 1st

The portions of the Fowler Beach area of Prime Hook National Wildlife Refuge that have been closed since March for the benefit of federally and state protected beach-nesting and migratory shorebirds, including red knot, piping plovers, oystercatchers, least terns and other species will re-open Saturday October 1, 2022 for approved wildlife dependent use. The refuge and its partners continue efforts in providing nesting and foraging habitat for federally threatened piping plovers and other state protected beach-nesting species.

The National Wildlife Refuge System Improvement Act of 1997 (Improvement Act), which amended the National Wildlife Refuge System Administration Act (Administration Act), defines wildlife-dependent recreation as a use of a refuge involving hunting, fishing, wildlife observation and photography, and environmental education and interpretation.

****Please remember - dogs are prohibited on Fowler Beach****

For more information, please call (302) 684-8419 or visit Prime Hook’s website: Prime Hook National Wildlife Refuge is located just off Route 16 near Broadkill Beach at 11978 Turkle Pond Road, Milton, DE 19968.

Visit Us

National wildlife refuges offer us all a chance to unplug from the stresses of daily life and reconnect with our natural surroundings. Prime Hook, east of Washington DC, is a globally renowned place for nature photography and birding. There are several ways to enjoy the refuge. You can explore displays at the visitor center, where volunteers will answer questions. You can drive the four county roads that bisect the refuge’s marshes, or walk on the 7.5 miles of hiking trails of varying distances and degrees of difficulty. The refuge’s annual Horseshoe Crab Festival each May is an outdoor recreation highlight of spring in Delaware. 

Location and Contact Information

      Our Species

      The refuge was created to safeguard and enhance the pristine wildlife habitat of coastal Delaware, to protect threatened  and endangered species, and to provide feeding, nesting, and roosting areas for migratory birds. Today, the refuge provides important habitat to over 245 species of birds. 

      Length: 25-28 cm. Adults in spring: Above finely mottled with grays, black and light ochre, running into stripes on crown; throat, breast and sides of head cinnamon-brown; dark gray line through eye; abdomen and undertail coverts white; uppertail coverts white, barred with black. Adults in...

      FWS Focus

      This large, slate grey tree squirrel (Sciurus niger cinereus) has an unusually full, fluffy tail and white belly. Larger than common gray squirrels, this fox squirrel subspecies measures up to 28 inches long and weighs up to three pounds. Once found throughout the Delmarva Peninsula, the range...

      FWS Focus

      Get Involved

      Whether you want to further conservation, learn more about nature or share your love of the outdoors, you’ve come to the right place. National wildlife refuges provide many opportunities for you to help your community and fish and wildlife by doing what you love. 
      National wildlife refuges partner with volunteers, youth groups, landowners, neighbors and residents of urban and coastal communities to make a lasting difference. 
      Find out how you can help make American lands healthier and communities stronger while doing something personally satisfying. 
      Volunteers: Gain new experiences and meet new people while helping to advance wildlife conservation. 

      Friends: Join neighbors in helping refuges restore habitat and expand access to green space. 

      Landowners: Learn how you can partner with the Fish and Wildlife Service to voluntarily restore land. 

      Local Groups: Find out how communities can work with refuges better for wildlife and people.  

      Youth: Explore paid and unpaid opportunities to learn and develop leadership skills." 

      Projects and Research

      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. Using conservation best practices, the Refuge System manages Service lands and waters to help ensure the survival of native wildlife species.