U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service logo A Unit of the National Wildlife Refuge System
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Ohio River Islands
National Wildlife Refuge

The refuge's Manchester islands rise abruptly from the Ohio River.
3982 Waverly Road
Williamstown, WV   26187
E-mail: OhioRiverIslands@fws.gov
Phone Number: 304-375-2923
Visit the Refuge's Web Site:
The Ohio River Islands National Wildlife Refuges extends south to the Manchester islands in Kentucky.
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  Recreation and Education Opportunities

Environmental Education
Refuge staff work with teachers to offer environmental education activities that explore refuge habitats, wildlife, and management. Future development will include teacher workshops designed to prepare educators to independently use the refuge as an outdoor classroom. A bridge to Middle Island currently provides car and foot access to the refuge's largest island. Mainland properties in West Virginia near Wellsburg, New Martinsville, and Williamstown, as well as a small tract on Wheeling Island, can also serve as education sites.

Some of the best fishing in the Ohio River occurs around the islands with their range of shallow and deep water habitats. Smallmouth and largemouth bass, white bass, and channel and flathead catfish, are among the popular gamefish. All refuge islands are open to fishing with state regulations in effect. Bank fishing is permitted during regular refuge open hours (one hour before sunrise through one hour after sunset) while boat fishing has no hour restrictions.

Most refuge property is open to hunting with special refuge regulations in effect. Opportunities include archery deer, waterfowl, dove, and rabbit and squirrel hunting. Hunters are required to have a Refuge Annual Hunt Permit, the appropriate state licenses, and a photo i.d. in their possession while hunting on the refuge. Permits and stamps are not valid unless signed by the hunter. Permits are free and are available by contacting the refuge.

Middle Island offers a 1.5 mile auto tour on the refuge's only road. Learn about refuge actions to reclaim the bottomland hardwood forest after decades of farming. A self-guided boat tour at Muskingum Island interprets the natural and cultural history of this important island. Boat tour brochures are available at refuge headquarters and at the Muskingum Island information sign.

Wildlife Observation
Walk the 1.5 mile nature trail on Middle Island to see a range of wildlife habitats. A 1000' barrier-free segment of this trail leads to a wildlife viewing blind overlooking a small wetland where migrating waterfowl and shorebirds feed in spring. The road on Middle Island provides another good place to see wildlife; including birds, deer, rabbit, fox, and groundhogs. By staying in your car, it is more likely that you will go undetected by the wildlife you want to see. For boaters, the open expanses of the Ohio River adjacent to the islands offers the possibililty of seeing great blue herons, belted kingfishers, osprey, and other birds associated with water. Whether on land or water, your likelihood of seeing most wildlife is often better early in the morning or around sunset.

Refuge headquarters near Williamstown, WV are open Monday through Friday, 8:00 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. All refuge land is open daily from one hour before sunrise through one hour after sunset.

Entrance Fees
There are no entrance or use fees on the refuge.

- Refuge Profile Page -