Laws and Regulations

  • Service animals (those that have been individually trained to do work or perform tasks for an individual with a disability; the task(s) performed by the service animal must be directly related to the person’s disability) are allowed in all areas of the refuge that are open to the public, including refuge parking lots, roads, trails, and visitor centers.
  • Pets (non-service animals) are not allowed on most refuge trails or in the visitor center. Dogs are only allowed to walk along Liberty Loop Trail, utilizing the parking lots at Oil City Road or Owens Station Road. All dogs must be controlled on a leash (not to exceed 10 feet) at all times. 
  • No overnight parking is allowed. 
  • Use of motorized vehicles is prohibited. Motorized vehicles disturb wildlife, cause erosion, disturb other refuge visitors, and shatter the tranquility of the refuge. 
  • All plants and animals, parts thereof, and other objects of nature are protected from disturbance. Collection is prohibited.  
  • Jogging, bicycling and horseback riding are not allowed on refuge trails. These activities may disturb visitors and wildlife and erode trails.  
  • It is against the law to damage archaeological sites or remove artifacts such as old bottles or arrowheads on the refuge. Please help protect sites by leaving artifacts in place and reporting locations to refuge staff. 
  • Marijuana on Federal Lands: regarding the use and possession of marijuana on Federal lands, possession of marijuana or use of any amount of marijuana along with all other Schedule I illegal drugs is still prohibited in Wallkill River NWR (Federal lands) to include but not limited to its facilities and lands. Violations are punishable by a fine or imprisonment, or both, 50 CFR 27.82 (b)(2), 16 U.S.C. 551, 18 U.S.C. 3559 and 3571.
An aerial view of pelican island.

The National Wildlife Refuge System Administration Act provides authority, guidelines and directives for the Service to improve the National Wildlife Refuge System; administers a national network of lands and waters for the conservation, management, and restoration of fish, wildlife and plant...

The National Wildlife Refuge Volunteer Improvement Act authorizes cooperative agreements with nonprofit partner organizations, academic institutions, or State and local governments to construct, operate, maintain, or improve refuge facilities and services, and to promote volunteer, outreach, and...

Spells out wildlife conservation as the fundamental mission of the Refuge System; requires comprehensive conservation planning to guide management of the Refuge System; directs the involvement of private citizens in land management decisions; and provides that compatible wildlife-dependent...