U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service logo A Unit of the National Wildlife Refuge System
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Great Swamp
National Wildlife Refuge

An image of the Great Swamp Refuge in early fall.
241 Pleasant Plains Road
Basking Ridge, NJ   07920
E-mail: greatswamp@fws.gov
Phone Number: 973-425-1222
Visit the Refuge's Web Site:
The Great Swamp Refuge contains approximately 7,500 acres of swamp woodland, hardwood ridges, cattail marsh, grassland, ponds and meandering streams.
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  Recreation and Education Opportunities

Environmental Education
The refuge provides an excellent opportunity for learning about a variety of ecosystems. There are two separate Environmental Education Centers, the Great Swamp Outdoor Education Center and the Somerset County Environmental Center.

The Great Swamp Outdoor Education Center is operated by the Morris County Parks Commission and is located on the eastern side of the refuge off Southern Boulevard in Chatham Township. The center offers a varied natural science program of classes and guided tours and provides 1 mile of trail and boardwalk for the public.

The Somerset County Environmental Education Center is operated by the Somerset County Parks Commission and is located on the western border of the refuge in Lord Stirling Park. The park has a varied program of environmental education courses, guided field trips and 8 1/2 miles of walking trails.

There is an annual Deer Hunt that typically occurs in late November or early December. Please contact the refuge headquarters for more information.

Wildlife Observation
The refuge's foremost goal is to provide migrating, nesting and feeding habitat for migratory birds. A secondary goal is to provide high quality environmental education and wildlife dependant recreation opportunities, which are compatible with the refuge's purposes. Scientific study and research by colleges, universities, qualified organizations and individuals are also encouraged.

Approximately 350,000 people visit the refuge annually, with the Wildlife Observation Center being the most popular pursuit. People are encouraged to observe, study, photograph and hike in designated areas. The refuge has a Wildlife Observation Center that provides spectacular wetlands vistas and is particularly good for photography and wildlife observation. There are over one mile of boardwalk trails, interpretive displays, information kiosk, two blinds for observing wildlife and heated restrooms. The facility is handicap accessible.

There are 8 1/2 miles of hiking trails that are located in the wilderness area of the refuge. The 1 1/2 mile road located near the refuge headquarters (Pleasant Plains Road) provides the opportunity for an auto tour of the management portion of the refuge. Located at the end of Pleasant Plains Road are a wheelchair accessible overlook, visitors may see a wide variety of wildlife and habitat management efforts. The tour route is open seven days a week from dusk to dawn.

Leave No Trace
Leave No Trace is a national educational program to inform visitors about reducing the damage caused by outdoor activities, particularly non-motorized recreation. Leave No Trace principles and practices are based on an abiding respect for the natural world and our fellow wildland visitors. We can act on behalf of the places and wildlife that inspire us by adopting the skills and ethics that enable us to Leave No Trace.

1. Plan ahead and prepare.
2. Travel on durable surfaces.
3. Dispose of waste properly.
4. Leave what you find.
5. Respect wildlife.
6. Be considerate of other visitors.

For more information on Leave No Trace, visit the Leave No Trace Center for Outdoor Ethics Web site. (http://www.lnt.org)

The refuge headquarters is open from 8:00 A.M. to 4:30 P.M., Monday through Friday. Refuge grounds are open all year from sunrise to sunset. During the spring and fall, the refuge headquarters may be open additional hours. Please call ahead for information.

Entrance Fees
There are no fees to enter the refuge.

Items sold at the Refuge Headquarters: Federal Duck Stamp valid July 1 to June 30 ($15.00); Golden Age Passports for those over 62 years of age or older ($10.00); or the Golden Access Passports free for the blind or permanently disabled.

- Refuge Profile Page -