Weather, repairs, and wildlife management activities have led to the temporary closures of several refuge roads to vehicles and/or general public access. The descriptions below summarize current road status as of February 22, 2024. A complete map of the refuge can be found in the Refuge Tearsheet.
Upper and Lower Creef Units
The Lower Creef unit, between Link, Bear, Grouse, and Long Curve Roads, is currently closed. This includes Link Road at the intersection with Long Curve Rd, Bear Road north of the intersection with Borrow Pit Road, and Grouse Road. Roads and refuge farm fields are closed to all traffic, including foot traffic. Visitors will still be able to travel the Wildlife Drive, Long Curve Road, and Borrow Pit Road, as well as all other refuge roads open at this time of year. The refuge is open during daylight hours (half an hour before sunrise to half an hour after sunset).
The closures are necessary due to growing visitation pressure on the Milltail Pack of red wolves. Some visitors have been closely approaching and following red wolves on foot and by car in order to view and photograph them. This has led to an unnatural comfort level of the Milltail Pack around people and vehicles. Human habituation, or acclimating to the presence of people, reduces wildlife’s normal elusiveness and fear responses. Instead of avoiding areas of human activity and fleeing at the sight of people, the animals may choose to approach or remain closer than is natural. Acclimating to people may increase the likelihood of incidents that are detrimental to their survival, such as the recent vehicle strike mortality of red wolf 2323, the breeding male of the Milltail Pack.
Please be mindful of your behaviors and actions at all times when on the refuge. On a National Wildlife Refuge, the welfare of plants and animals and their habitats come first. Use binoculars or a zoom lens to view wildlife from a distance—at least 100 yards or eight school buses. If wildlife approach you, move back. In general, if animals react to your presence, you are too close. It’s illegal to feed, touch, tease, frighten, or intentionally disturb wildlife. Be careful when driving to protect wildlife as well. Be sure to always follow the speed limits and watch for wildlife that may dart into the road. When you want to stop to watch wildlife, pull your vehicle to the side of the road and do not block traffic.
Red Wolf Recovery Program staff will be continually monitoring red wolf activity in the area of the closures throughout this time period. The most reliable source for current information about red wolves is the Red Wolf Recovery Program website.
The Upper Creef Unit, which lies east of Milltail Road and north of Link Road and includes Gadwall, Bobcat, Creef, Peterson, and Sprigtail Roads, has been closed for resource management and will remain closed to all public entry until March 1.
Dry Ridge Road North
Dry Ridge Road North and Grassy Patch Rd are currently closed to all public entry for refuge management activities. Dry Ridge Road North is closed north of the intersection with Possum Road.
Laurel Bay Unit
The Laurel Bay Unit is the area west of Buffalo City Road. Laurel Bay Rd, Beaver Rd, Hickory Rd, Wynne Rd, and North Perimeter Rd west of Buffalo City Rd are currently open to motorized vehicles through the rest of February. Osprey and Hook Rds are closed to all public entry.