Canoeing on the refuge - USFWS.

Permits are required for a number of activities at the refuge. The refuge uses special use permits for general access (visitors unaccompanied by refuge staff), research, and commercial filming. A refuge hunting permit is required to participate in the refuge hunt. These permit types are outlined below.

Special Use Permit - Vehicle Access

Any visitor that would like vehicle access for transporting a canoe/kayak to Powell Creek must fill out a special use permit application. A permit application can be completed at the link below. The submission of this application is to occur no less than four business days prior to proposed visit. Should your requested date fall when there is a conflicting activity (hunting, management activity, etc.), an alternate date will be required. The permit, if approved, authorizes access to the refuge to participate in wildlife-dependent activities (wildlife observation, nature photography, environmental education, and interpretation). Approved permits will be sent electronically to the permitee. The permit must be printed out, signed by the permitee, and carried during the visit.

General Special Use Permit Application


Special Use Permit - Research

We encourage research and studies that assist in answering management questions to enhance wildlife and their habitats on James River NWR. Research is usually conducted by universities, federal, state, and local agencies, non-governmental agencies, and qualified members of the general public. Research is authorized via a research permit. To apply for a research permit complete the application below. Priority will be given to studies applicable to management on or nearby the refuge. Proposals must demonstrate that the study will not have an adverse effect on wildlife or habitat. Feel free to contact the biology staff to discuss whether your project helps fill an information gap, and how it can be conducted to minimize impacts.

Research and Monitoring Special Use Permit Application


Special Use Permit - Commercial Filming

Permits are required for all commercial videography, including filming of documentaries, travelogues, feature stories, and advertising. Liability insurance and bonding may be required depending on the specific production activities proposed. News gathering organizations are exempt from fee, insurance, bonding requirements, but may require a special use permit to ensure compatibility with the refuge purpose, other public uses, ongoing research, and resource protection. Because of this, a meeting between refuge staff and the project lead is recommended. All requests must be received 2 weeks prior to the proposed arrival date.

Commercial Activities Special Use Permit Application


Refuge Hunting Permit

Any hunting on the refuge requires a refuge hunting permit. Details of the 2021 Refuge Hunt Program will be available in July. See hunt maps below:

James River General Hunt Map

Spring Turkey and General Hunt Map (after Dec14)


Other permits may be issued to individuals or organizations that request the use of facilities or resources beyond what is offered to the public. Each request is evaluated on a case by case basis to ascertain the proposals compatibility with the refuge’s mission. All Special Use Permit Application forms are located on the NWRS public website.