Mallards on the RefugeMallards on the RefugeImage courtesy of Gary Freedman

The Refuge is Open

During this time when many places are closed and social distancing is encouraged, Assabet River National Wildlife Refuge is open for visitors to spend time outdoors on the trails. Refuge Management will continue to assess conditions and adjust operations as necessary to ensure the safety of visitors while protecting natural resources.

The public facilities, including the Visitor Center, Nature Store and outdoor restrooms, will remain closed until it is deemed safe to reopen.

Fall Activities

Please join the Friends of the Assabet River NWR for our 2020 Annual Meeting on September 23 at 7:00 PM. The meeting will be held virtually via Zoom.

The event will include:

  • Business meeting
  • Summary of Friends activities
  • A presentation by USFWS Wildlife Biologist Stephanie Koch, PhD, who will share news of her current work with Blandings Turtles at Assabet River NWR and Oxbow NWR

Register for the meeting on our events page

Guidelines When Visiting the Refuge

Please follow these guidelines when visiting the Refuge:

  • Practice safe social distancing on trails and allow 6ft when passing others on trails; follow all CDC guidelines (prevent-getting-sick).
  • Pack in and pack out: There are no trashcans on the refuge and we ask you to please take your trash with you.
  • No pets: Please leave your pets at home to protect wildlife and their habitats. Certified service animals that are individually trained to perform tasks for people with disabilities are permitted on trails as long as they are under the direct control of their owner at all times and all feces is removed from the site.
  • Stay on trails and out of "Closed" areas. This is to protect you and the habitat and prevent the spread of invasive species.
  • Park in designated parking areas. If parking lots are full, please continue on.
  • Please only bike along designated roads. This is for everyone's safety and to protect refuge resources.

New Items at the Nature Store

FARNWR Hats Assabet River NWR Hats and Mugs are now for sale at the Nature Store. They proudly show the refuge's Kingfisher logo. Buy one today and show your pride!

Volunteer Videographer Needed

Videography Beginning with our May 2020 speaker program, a volunteer videographer is needed to record our monthly speaker meetings for Sudbury TV for later broadcast on their cable channel. If you can commit to this opportunity, please send an email to and a board member will contact you.

See our volunteer page for more ways you can volunteer with the Friends.

Please Stand With Us Against the Proposed Path of High Voltage Power Lines

The power lines would clear cut an 82 foot wide strip next to the RefugeThe power lines would clear cut an 82 foot wide strip next to the RefugeImage courtesy of Protect Sudbury

We would like to make you aware of an important issue facing our Assabet River National Wildlife Refuge and to encourage you to take action.

Eversource Energy plans to build an 115 thousand volt, 70+ foot high, high-tension power line from central Sudbury to Hudson Light and Power on Forest Ave in Hudson. To do this, the company plans to cut a 7.6 mile long, 82.5 foot wide swath of woods along the old abandoned railroad tracks running through Sudbury and Hudson. Approximately 4.3 miles of the line will be in Sudbury and 4.6 miles in Hudson. These tracks are adjacent to the Refuge’s southern boundary (and run through the Desert Natural Area.)

The letter below from the president of the Friends of the Assabet River National Wildlife Refuge opposes this plan and urges the company to run its lines underground so as to protect the Refuge’s flora, fauna and visitor enjoyment.

FARNWR Letter to the Sudbury Conservation Commission (pdf file)

Letter to Eversource (pdf file)

Video from Protect Sudbury about the high voltage power lines:

If you would like to be heard on this issue, please see the list of emails at the end of the letter. An email from you to Eversource Energy (NSTAR) or to your government representation can make an important difference in the outcome.

Please find links to additional information below:

Help Save Blanding's Turtles

Since 2006, the US Fish and Wildlife Service has made an effort to establish a new population of Blanding's turtles (a threatened species) at the Assabet River National Wildlife Refuge (NWR) by moving juveniles and hatchlings from Oxbow NWR.

Funding is urgently needed to help continue this conservation effort. Please consider helping fund this effort with a tax-deductible contribution to the Friends.

Hear from Jared Green on the Blanding's turtles project:

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About the Friends

Former Friends president Betsy Griffin received a Certificate of Special Recognition for the Friends work from Congresswoman Niki Tsongas at the Fourth Annual River Day on Sunday, September 12thFormer Friends president Betsy Griffin received a Certificate of Special Recognition for the Friends work from Congresswoman Niki Tsongas at the Fourth Annual River Day on Sunday, September 12th The Friends of the Assabet River National Wildlife Refuge is a non-profit that works with the US Fish and Wildlife Service and our local communities to meet wildlife and biological management objectives, recreational and educational goals and support diverse programs related to the Refuge.

We promote educational programs related to the Refuge and natural history of the area. We organize events and programs that help make the refuge more available to the public. We work with Refuge staff to help improve the refuge. This work also provides an opportunity for members to get to know the refuge.

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Help the Friends

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News Headlines

August 15Final Hunting and Fishing Plan for ARNWR Released. The US Fish and Wildlife Service has released a final hunting and fishing plan for the Assabet River, Great Meadows, and Oxbow National Wildlife Refuges.

August 1White Pond Road Trail - Update. The Refuge team has made progress with improvements to the White Pond Road Trail within the refuge boundary and will continue working on the trail over the next month or longer.

Upcoming Events

Wednesday September 23

Annual Meeting

Tuesday October 6

Enjoying Conservation Areas Class

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Refuge Links

Fish & Wildlife Service: Eastern Massachusetts NWR

Fish & Wildlife Service: Assabet River NWR

National Wildlife Refuge Association