National wildlife refuges offer fee-free days in 2019

Deer on trail.
Deer on a hiking trail.

WASHINGTON — Across America, national wildlife refuges offer opportunities to experience the great outdoors. And they do it on awe-inducing landscapes that range from Oregon’s rocky cliffs to Texas lagoons, from Maine wilderness to woods and fields inside the city of Philadelphia.


Thirty refuges that normally charge entrance fees will offer free admission on these days in 2019: Jan. 21, Martin Luther King Jr. Day; Feb. 18, Presidents Day; Sept. 28, National Public Lands Day; Oct. 13, first Sunday of National Wildlife Refuge Week; and Nov. 11, Veterans Day.

These refuges charge admission ranging from $3 to $8 per vehicle to help fund recreation-related projects.

The 2019 entrance fee waiver does not cover concessionaire or permit fees for some activities such as hunting, fishing or special tours.


Every state and U.S. territory has at least one national wildlife refuge, there is and one within an hour’s drive of most major metropolitan areas. Use the online ZIP code locator to find one.

Other federal land management agencies that will offer fee-free days in 2019 include: National Park Service, Bureau of Land Management, Bureau of Reclamation and U.S. Forest Service.

The National Wildlife Refuge System, managed by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, is the world’s largest network of conservation lands, encompassing 567 refuges and 38 wetland management districts. Nearly 500 national wildlife refuges and wetland management districts are open to the public, hosting some 53 million visits every year.


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