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Crab Orchard Wildlife Refuge Visitor's Services

When it passed the 1997 National Wildlife Refuge System Improvement Act, Congress established hunting, fishing, wildlife observation and photography, and environmental education and interpretation as "priority public uses" where compatible with the mission and purpose of an individual refuge. These wildlife-dependent public uses are sometimes referred to as the "Big 6."

Not every division of Crab Orchard NWR is open to all six of the priority public uses. The refuge manager uses sound professional judgment in determining compatible uses, and the Refuge System Improvement Act established a formal process for determining what uses are permitted.

We encourage everyone to come out and enjoy the refuge. However, certain regulations are necessary to protect wildlife and preserve the beauty of the area. Crab Orchard NWR abides by a federal fee schedule which requires all recreation users to have a pass on all vehicles and boats using the Refuge.  Please refer to chart below for recreational fees and schedules.

Crab Orchard Fee Schedule

Fee Option



Allows Entry

Validation Period

Daily Fee



Crab Orchard NWR

1 Day

Weekly Fee



Crab Orchard NWR

7 Consecutive Days

Commercial Business


Busses (20 passengers)

Crab Orchard NWR

1 Day

Refuge Annual



Crab Orchard NWR

1 Year

The yearly sticker is issued July1 and is good until July 31st of the following year.

Crab Orchard NWR is being cared for today and preserved for future generations by the American people. This dual objective—use and preservation—comes at a price: Protecting our natural and cultural heritage while ensuring that everyone visiting these areas has a safe, enjoyable educational experience costs money. This is why in 2004, the U.S. Department of the Interior implemented the Federal Land Recreation Enhancement Act in three of its agencies—the National Park Service, the Bureau of Land Management, and the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service. This program will help spread some of the costs for managing these lands among those who use them.

The Federal Land Recreation Enhancement Act will allow a very significant portion of the fees collected at public areas to be spent directly on behalf of that area. This means that the money you spend on your vehicle and boat passes will stay right here at Crab Orchard NWR. The fees will be used for a wide variety of improvements at various locations on the Refuge. Past fees have helped us improve a wide variety of areas including: West End and Greenbriar boat ramps, Wolf Creek Causeway fishing piers, Devils Kitchen Lake Line 13 courtesy dock, and Pigeon Creek Environmental Education complex. Future improvements include the parking areas at Devils Kitchen Lake Line 13 and 6, and the expansion of the northeast boat ramp at Little Grassy Lake. Please visit these sites and see your recreational fees at work.

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