Apply for a Special Use Permit on National Wildlife Refuges

Some commercial, recreational and research activities are allowed on national wildlife refuges only with a special use permit issued by the local office, and are subject to specific conditions and fees. This permit requirement is meant to ensure that all activities at the federal site are compatible with the refuge’s Congressionally mandated wildlife conservation goals.

Special use permits may limit the scope, timing and location of the activity, as determined by the refuge where the activity would take place.

The activities listed below are not necessarily conducted on every refuge. Contact the refuge manager to ask if a proposed use is appropriate or compatible at a particular refuge.

Activities Subject to Special Use Permits  



Related: Filming Activities in the National Wildlife Refuge System



For information about other U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service wildlife-related permit visit our ePermit site.

Audience

Business Owner/Commercial Business
Educator/Education Facility
Landowner - Commercial
Landowner - Individual
Oil/Gas Company
Private Land Owners/Managers
Researcher or Research Facility - Commercial Scientific
State(s)
Alabama
Alaska
American Samoa
Arizona
Arkansas
California
Colorado
Connecticut
Delaware
District of Columbia
Florida
Georgia
Guam
Hawaii
Idaho
Illinois
Indiana
Iowa
Kansas
Kentucky
Louisiana
Maine
Maryland
Massachusetts
Michigan
Minnesota
Mississippi
Missouri
Montana
Nebraska
Nevada
New Hampshire
New Jersey
New Mexico
New York
North Carolina
North Dakota
Northern Mariana Islands
Ohio
Oklahoma
Oregon
Pennsylvania
Puerto Rico
Rhode Island
South Carolina
South Dakota
Tennessee
Texas
Utah
Vermont
Virgin Islands
Virginia
Washington
West Virginia
Wisconsin
Wyoming

Get Started

Apply for a Special Use Permit

The National Wildlife Refuge System has four Special Use Permit (SUP) Applications to enable the public to engage in permitted activities on a national wildlife refuge national wildlife refuge
A national wildlife refuge is typically a contiguous area of land and water managed by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service  for the conservation and, where appropriate, restoration of fish, wildlife and plant resources and their habitats for the benefit of present and future generations of Americans.

Learn more about national wildlife refuge
. These forms are available here in a fillable format. You can also obtain these forms and more detailed instructions from the national wildlife refuge office where the activity would take place or on the refuge’s website. 



Prospective permit holders may fill out the corresponding application, print it, sign it, and return it to the refuge for processing. The permit is not valid until approved and signed by a refuge official. 

The activities listed below are not necessarily conducted on every refuge. Contact the refuge manager to ask if a proposed use is appropriate or compatible at a particular refuge.

Commercial Activities Special Use Permit Application (FWS Form 3-1383-C) for
  • Commercial activities such as guiding hunters, anglers or other outdoor users
  • Commercial filming (audio, video, and photographic products of a monetary value)
  • Agriculture (haying, grazing, crop planting, logging, and other agricultural products)
  • Cabins (see also the General Special Use Application and Permit described below)

    For recreational cabin and camping reservations and permits, please visit Recreation.gov.
  • Trapping
Research and Monitoring Special Use Permit Application (FWS Form 3-1383-R) for 
  • Research and monitoring activities by students, universities, or other non-FWS organizations
General Activity Special Use Permit Application  (FWS Form 3-1383-G)
  • Woodcutting
  • Miscellaneous events (fishing tournaments, one-time events, other special events)
  • Cabins/subsistence cabins (depending on the information use requirement, you may need the commercial form)
  • Education activity
  • Other (any activity not mentioned above)
Oil and Gas Operations Special Use Permit Application (FWS Form 3-2469) for
  • Operations associated with non-federal oil and gas rights and may only be conducted by operators who have demonstrated a bona fide property right to conduct the following types of activities:

     
  • Temporary activities such as reconnaissance surveys
  • Geophysical Exploration
  • Drilling (e.g., accessing site, mobilizing equipment, building roads or grading wellpad)
  • Production (e.g., operation of oil and gas well or compressor station, transportation of product off refuge)
  • Plugging and abandoning well and site reclamation