Swamp sets new vehicle fee
Published 9:55 pm Wednesday, March 1, 2017
Folks visiting the Great Dismal Swamp National Wildlife Refuge from the Railroad Ditch entrance to Lake Drummond Wildlife Drive will no longer be able to do so free of charge following a policy change by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service.
A new access fee of $5 per vehicle went into effect on Wednesday.
A self-serve permit for the fee will be available at the entrance’s permit station. The fee and permit are required for all private vehicles on the self-guided auto tour to Lake Drummond and for boaters launching from the Interior Ditch boat ramp.
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An annual refuge pass can be purchased for $25 from the refuge office. Visitors with a Duck Stamp or an America the Beautiful Annual, Senior, Access or Military pass will not be charged the new fee.
The fee has been levied as a way to help manage access to what is becoming an increasingly popular entry, officials stated in a press release this week. The Fish and Wildlife Service sought public comment on the new fee structure in June 2015 and August 2016.
Permits, passes or fees are not required for hiking or biking on any of the refuge’s trails, which are open daily from sunrise to sunset for hiking and biking.
Vehicle access from the Railroad Ditch entrance to the Lake Drummond Wildlife Drive and to the Interior Ditch boat ramp is now allowed daily with seasonally adjusted hours. From Oct. 1 through March 31, hours are 7:30 a.m. to 5 p.m. Spring and summer hours run from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. April 1 to Sept. 30.