Laws and Regulations


Activities and Visitor Hours

The refuge is open during daylight hours.

Closed Areas

Visitors are allowed only in the Visitor Use Area, Columbia Plateau Trail, and designated sites identified in hunt permits. Visitors are required to stay on trails and designated roadways from March 1 - August 15. 

Auto Tour Route

The entrance road, auto tour route, and designated parking areas are available for year-round street vehicle and bicycle use inside the Visitor Use Area. Vehicles must remain on these roadway facilities. 

Walking Trails

Bicycles and motorized vehicles are not permitted on trails or roads designated for hiking only. All visitors are required to stay on designated trails and roads from March 1 - August 15. 

Columbia Plateau Trail

 The refuge is closed to the public on both sides of the trail.  

Environmental Education

All field trips and other environmental education activities must be scheduled with the refuge. An entrance fee waiver must be completed for all environmental education activities. Self-facilitated and refuge conducted environmental education classes are restricted to one of the four Environmental Education Outdoor Study Sites identified on the refuge brochure map.  No more than 35 students shall be at a study site at one time, and all students/visitors are required to stay on trails within the Environmental Education Study Sites. Please contact the Visitor Services Manager for an entrance fee waiver and to schedule your visit.


Research activities on the refuge require a special use permit. 


Elk hunting is allowed by refuge permit only during special seasons. Youth waterfowl hunting allowed during the State youth day and weekends from the beginning of the regular waterfowl season until November 30. The refuge is closed to hunting of all other species. During all other times, Turnbull National Wildlife Refuge is closed to all hunting and discharge of firearms and weapons. 

For more information on our expanded youth waterfowl hunt please go to:…


It is prohibited to shoot or discharge any firearm from, across, or along a public highway, designated route of travel, road, road shoulder, road embankment, or designated parking area. Persons possessing, transporting, or carrying firearms on National Wildlife Refuges must comply with all provisions of state and local law.  Persons may only use (discharge) firearms in accordance with refuge regulations (50 CFR 27.42 and specific refuge regulations in 50 CFR Part 32). Possession of firearms and dangerous weapons are prohibited in Federal Facilities in accordance with 18 USC section 930.


Dogs are permitted if they are kept on a short (< 6 feet long) leash. 


Firewood cutting is allowed for off-refuge use by permit only. 

Prohibited Activities

Camping, overnight parking, fishing, boating, horseback riding, fires, swimming, bathing, group training, feeding wildlife, illegal dumping, paintball, firewood collecting, and on-ice activities are not permitted on the refuge. ATV, ORV and snowmobile use is prohibited on all areas of the refuge: only street legal vehicles are permitted on Smith Road and the refuge tour route. The collection of any plant or animal or parts thereof is prohibited except licensed hunting in accordance with state and federal law. It is unlawful for any person under the age of twenty-one years to possess, consume, or otherwise acquire any alcoholic beverage. It is unlawful for any person to sell, give, or otherwise supply alcoholic beverages to any person under the age of twenty-one years of age. It is unlawful for any person to possess “drug paraphernalia’ that is used or intended to be used for injecting, ingesting, inhaling, or otherwise introducing into the human body a controlled substance as defined by Washington State law.

Unmanned Aircraft Systems

The use of remotely piloted/controlled devices are not permitted on the refuge.