About the Refuge
The Assabet River National Wildlife Refuge is one of the nation's newest wildlife refuges. The refuge is located approximately 20 miles west of Boston in portions of the towns of Hudson, Maynard, Stow and Sudbury. It is owned by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service and administered by the Eastern Massachusetts National Wildlife Refuge Complex Office located in the Great Meadows NWR, 73 Weir Hill Road Sudbury.
The Fish and Wildlife Service's information about the refuge can be found here: Assabet River NWR.
For information about all the National Wildlife Refuges in Eastern Massachusetts, see here: Eastern Massachusetts NWR.
The US Fish & Wildlife Service administers and manages the National Wildlife Refuge System (NWR). The National Wildlife Refuge System, is the world's premier system of public lands and waters set aside to conserve America's fish, wildlife and plants. Since President Theodore Roosevelt designated Florida's Pelican Island as the first wildlife refuge in 1903, the System has grown to more than 150 million acres, 550 national wildlife refuges and other units of the Refuge System, plus 37 wetland management districts. Refuges offer a wide variety of recreational opportunities, and many have visitor centers, wildlife trails, and environmental education programs. Nationwide, over 34 million visitors annually hunt, fish, observe and photograph wildlife, or participate in interpretive activities on national wildlife refuges. For more on the refuge system, see www.fws.gov/refuges/.
The Assabet River NWR
The Assabet River refuge comprises over 2,333 acres of varied woodland, wetland, fields, ponds and streams, with historical and archeological sites. It is divided into a 1,900-acre northern section, a 300-acre southern section, and 91 acres scattered along the Assabet River in Stow. The terrain is primarily flat but includes some prominent hills; elevations range from 170 feet near the river to 320 feet on Walnut Hill. Seventy percent of the refuge is forested with pine, oak and maple. There are over 470 acres of diverse wetland habitat including an Atlantic white cedar swamp. This jewel is connected to about 1,000 acres of other diverse protected space.
To date, biological surveys have identified over 650 plant species, 135 bird species, 25 mammals, 17 reptile species and 19 species of fish. More details on the species and ecology of the refuge can be found in the Refuge's comprehensive conservation plan (CCP) available at assabetriver_final05.pdf.
Access to the refuge is through the main entrance off Hudson Road in Sudbury and from the north entrance on White Pond Road in Stow. See here for directions.
Currently no fees are charged for use of the refuge. The trails and parking areas are available free of charge.
The Refuge is open year round from one half hour before sunrise to one half hour after sunset. Wildlife-dependent recreation opportunities, including hiking, photography, interpretation, and environmental education, are permitted on designated trails shown on the refuge map. Note that the trail system in the refugue was reworked in spring 2007.
The large wetland complex and the contiguous forested areas found here today are important feeding and breeding areas for migratory birds. The refuge is also the protected home to a wide variety of flora and fauna. Keep in mind that the primary purpose of the Refuge is the protection of wildlife habitat. Wildlife-dependent recreation opportunities, including wildlife observation, photography, interpretation, and environmental education, are permitted on designated trails shown on this map.
As people are the visitors here, please respect the following rules:
Fishing and hunting are allowed subject to refuge regulations, State and Federal laws and permit restrictions. Fishing is allowed at Puffer Pond on Puffer Pond Trail at the Barron Fishing Access Site. Hunting is allowed only during regulated periods and requires a refuge hunt permit. The most intense hunt period is during the shotgun deer season. Most other times, hunt pressure is generally light. For information on the hunting seasons please refer to information in the kiosks or on the refuge website. (See Assabet River Hunting for current hunting information and Permits for information about hunting permits.)
For more information about the Refuge, please refer to Fish and Wildlife Service's brochure. Download brochure (pdf file, .75mb).
The Eastern Massachusetts NWR Complex
The Assabet River National Wildlife Refuge is part of a larger complex of refuges in Eastern Massachusetts.
For more information about the Eastern Massachusetts NWR Complex, please refer to Fish and Wildlife Service's brochure. Download brochure (pdf file, 1.6mb).