The Great Swamp National Wildlife Refuge is a network of lands and waters managed specifically for the protection of wildlife and its habitat. It represents the most comprehensive wildlife management program in the world, and it's steeped in history. Located in Morris County, the refuge was established by an act of Congress on November 3, 1960. It consists of 7,600 acres of varied habitats and over the years, the refuge has become a resting and feeding area for more than 244 species of birds. Fox, deer, muskrat, turtles, fish, frogs and a wide variety of wildflowers and plants also call the refuge home.
Wildlife management is the main focus at this outdoor laboratory where invasive species are controlled, and which provides a primitive experience to the general public. Permanent structures and motorized vehicles are not allowed. You can leisurely hike the nearly 8 miles of trails, and quietly observe the migration, nesting and feeding habitats which are safely preserved for the animals.
People are encouraged to observe, study, photograph and walk with nature in designated public areas. The best times for observing wildlife are early in the morning and late afternoon. Look high in the trees to spot the birds, but don't forget to look low! The tiny bugs skimming the water surfaces and crawling around the leaves are an integral part of the ecosystem, too!
Visit the information center before you begin your hike to obtain a map of the trails. Here you can also pick up pamphlets and materials to learn about conservation and the wonderful programs offered by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service.
Join the Friends of Great Swamp society, and dedicate yourself to promoting conservation, fostering public understanding, and engaging in activities that will support the Great Swamp.
Bring a hat, your peace of mind, and your camera for a beautiful walk in the woods!
The Great Swamp National Wildlife Refuge is open year-round from dawn to dusk, seven days a week. Occasionally, the Refuge is closed due to special events or hazardous weather conditions (e.g. flooding/snow).