Facility Rules and Policies

The refuge welcomes visitors and provides facilities for activities that depend upon wildlife, such as wildlife observation, environmental education and hunting. Other activities that are not wildlife dependent, such as biking, jogging or boating are not offered at this refuge. The following rules and policies are intended to keep both wildlife and visitors safe and provide an enjoyable experience for all.  

Refuge Hours - Sunrise to Sunset

Visitors are welcome to enjoy the refuge during daylight hours only. After hours use disturbs resting wildlife and puts them at increased risk for predation. Automatic gates are programmed from sunrise to sunset, with current times posted at each entrance and on the Locations page of this website.   

Fee Information

The daily entrance fee to the Refuge is $3.00. 

Entrance fee and all valid passes admit everyone in a privately owned vehicle or up to four adults on foot. Youth 15 and under are always free. Cash and check only - No debit/credit cards. Please bring exact change. 

The following federal lands passes are valid and must be registered at an entrance kiosk.

Note - State passes are not valid at the National Wildlife Refuges.

  • Ridgefield National Wildlife Refuge Annual Pass. 
  • America the Beautiful Annual Pass
  • Senior Pass (Annual or Lifetime)
  • Access Pass for those with a permanent disability
  • Active Duty Military and Dependent passes
  • Veteran's and Gold Star Families passes
  • *Every Kid Outdoors 4th Grade Grade Pass
  • Volunteer Pass (earned with 250 hours of service)

To purchase a Refuge Annual Pass when the office is not open place $15 cash or check in a fee envelope with up to two names and a mailing address clearly printed. Or mail a check to PO Box 457, Ridgefield, WA 98642. Checks should be payable to the US Fish and Wildlife Service. 

To purchase any of the above listed Interagency Passes bring cash or check and identification (Senior and Military pass only) to the office during regular business hours. To learn more about what passes you qualify for and how to use them go to: https://store.usgs.gov/recreational-passes.

*4th graders must visit the Every Kid Outdoors website to participate in this program. Bring your voucher to the office to exchange for a plastic card. 

**Gold Star Families need to sign a voucher to participate in this pass program. You can find that here. 

No pets on trails

Walking your pets at the refuge creates disturbance to wildlife and habitat and makes viewing wildlife harder for you and other visitors. Even when leashed, pets can scare animals away from the trail. This may be because they instinctively see dogs as predators. Fleeing from a predator burns much needed energy that animals need to live and raise their young. Pets are permitted on the auto tour route but must always remain in the vehicle. 

Certified service animals that are individually trained to perform tasks for people with disabilities are welcome on all trails and in facilities. Certified service animals must be under the direct control of their owner at all times and all feces removed from the site. Staff ask that all visitors respect the use of service animals and help us provide a safe and welcoming space to one another. 

No bicycles or jogging

If you ride your bike to the refuge, please chain it up at the entrance before continuing onto the trail. Sports activities such as jogging, Frisbee throwing, and kite flying are not permitted. These activities make you move much faster than the regular trail user and increase disturbance to wildlife. This also decreases other visitors' ability to observe animals. Electric and gas-powered vehicles are also prohibited unless needed for a disability. 

No picking or collecting

Everything you see at the refuge is important for the health of native animal and plant species. Collecting or removing archaeological or historic objects or natural material such as plants, mushrooms, berries, and antler sheds is prohibited. Please leave everything you observe and take away only photos and memories. 

No audio playback

Playback devices used to elicit a response causes stress to birds and takes them away from the important task of raising young and protecting themselves. Some birders will use bird call technology in the field to verify a call they have heard. They may play the call quietly so only they are able to hear it or use headphones, which minimize any potential impact on birds in the wild. 

Commercial activities require a special use permit

All commercial activities, including commercial photography require a special use permit. Contact Refuge staff for information on compatible activities.