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

6 Plum Island Turnpike
Newburyport, MA   01950
E-mail: fw5rw_prnwr@fws.gov
Phone Number: 978-465-5753
Visit the Refuge's Web Site:
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  Recreation and Education Opportunities

Environmental Education
The refuge serves as an outdoor laboratory for teachers and students from schools, universities, and other educational institutions. The new refuge visitor center offers classrooms and an auditorium for student and teacher use. In addition, expanded opportunities such as staff-led programs and educator workshops are available.

The refuge offers some of the area's finest surf fishing. In season you may catch striped bass, bluefish, and several other species. A state license is not required for fishing from the refuge beach. A refuge permit is required for night fishing and for vehicle access to the beach.

The refuge tidal mud flats are open for commercial and recreational shellfishing but are subject to periodic closures. Town and refuge permits are required.

Waterfowl hunting opportunities are available in designated salt marsh areas of the refuge during state seasons. Also, during the fall, a controlled deer hunt may be conducted on the Plum Island portion of the refuge with hunters chosen by lottery. For your safety and to reduce user conflict, the Plum Island section is closed to all public entry during the deer hunt.

The Hellcat Interpretive Trail offers refuge natural history and resource management learning experiences. An illustrated guide, with numbered narratives corresponding to numbered posts along the trail, is available at the trailhead, refuge headquarters and the entrance gatehouse when staffed. Wildlife-oriented interpretive progams and special events are periodically offered at the refuge. Many of these programs are wheelchair accessible. Exhibits, audiovisual programs and other indoor educational opportunities are available and others being developed at the refuge visitor center which opened in 2004.

Wildlife Observation
The refuge is renowned for its wildlife observation and photography opportunities with facilities providing easy access. Pull-offs are available along the refuge road for your convenience. Observation towers and platforms afford commanding views of the refuge and surrounding lands and waters. Several miles of self-guiding foot trails meander through dune, shrub/thicket, marsh, and other refuge habitats. Some of these facilities are wheelchair accessible.

The refuge is open daily from sunrise to sunset but is subject to temporary closures.

The Refuge Headquartes/visitor center is currently opne Monday-Friday between 8:00 am and 4:30 pm. Visitor Center hours are usually extended for special events.

Entrance Fees
A daily entrance fee is in effect year-round at the Plum Island section of the refuge. When the refuge entrance gatehouse is not staffed, envelopes and an "iron ranger" pipe safe are available for fee deposition. Annual passes are available at refuge headquarters and the entrance gatehouse when staffed. Daily fees are as follows:
Private vehicle - $5.00
Pedestrian - $2.00
Bicyclist - $2.00
Commercial van or bus up to 20 passengers - $20.00
21 or more passengers - $30.00

- Refuge Profile Page -