What We Do
The National Wildlife Refuge System is a series of lands and waters owned and managed by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service. Wildlife conservation is at the heart of the refuge system. It drives everything we do from the purpose a refuge is established, to the recreational activities offered there, to the resource management tools we use. Selecting the right tools helps us ensure the survival of local plants and animals and helps fulfill the purpose of the refuge.
Management and Conservation
Refuges use a wide range of land management tools based on the best science available. Some refuges use prescribed fires to mimic natural fires that would have cleared old vegetation from the land helping native plants regenerate and local wildlife to thrive. Other refuges contain wilderness areas where land is largely managed passively. The management tools used are aimed at ensuring a balanced conservation approach where both wildlife and people will benefit.
Federal Recreation Passes
*There is no entrance fee or parking permit required to visit the refuge*
Staff issue passes by appointment only at Refuge Headquarters. Refuge Headquarters is closed on federal holidays.
For fee-based passes, we can only accept cash or check payment. We cannot accept credit card payment.
Some passes are available for purchase online. To purchase a Senior Annual, Annual, Access or Senior Lifetime Pass, visit the U.S. Geological Survey Online Store. You can find more information about these passes and fee areas, order online or plan your trip to federal public lands at Recreation.gov.
Learn more about the passes available:
- Senior Lifetime Pass ($80)
- Senior Annual Pass ($20)
- America the Beautiful Annual Pass ($80)
- Military Annual Pass (Free to active military)
- Veterans Pass (Free to veterans)
- Access Pass (Free, with conditions) Every Kid Outdoors Pass (Free for 4th graders, with completed online voucher)
U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service law enforcement officers have a wide variety of duties and responsibilities. Officers help visitors understand and obey wildlife protection laws. They work closely with state and local government offices to enforce federal, state and refuge hunting regulations that protect migratory birds and other game species from illegal take and preserve legitimate hunting opportunities. Report possible violations to refuge staff.
Laws and Regulations
Refuges are special places where wildlife comes first. All activities allowed on refuges must be evaluated to make sure each activity will not conflict with the reason the refuge was founded. Because of the sensitive nature of colonial nesting waterbirds Michigan Islands National Wildlife Refuge is closed to the public. Special use permits are needed for all access.