General Trip Planning Information
For more information on the Monomoy National Wildlife Refuge Wilderness Area visit http://www.fws.gov/refuge/monomoy/, check out our Facebook page at http://www.facebook.com/MonomoyNWR, or call 508-945-0594.
To access the Monomoy Wilderness, you must have a boat as the entirety of the Wilderness area is located off shore. Kayaking and other forms of paddling are encouraged. Launch sites are located at the Morris Island Road causeway or other publicly accessible areas of Stage Harbor. The Refuge islands are open from dawn to dusk. During the nesting season, April through September, closed areas are marked with Area Closed or Beach closed signs. Access is not allowed behind the signs by visitors may pass in front of the closed areas. Camping, hunting, dogs, and fires are prohibited within the refuge Wilderness.
Fishing: Currently sport fishing is permitted on Monomoy. Fly fishermen and saltwater fishermen alike find the thrill of the hunt in fishing for bluefish and striped bass along the beach. Fishing on the Monomoy Wilderness is allowed from dawn to dusk, and fishing on the non-wilderness mainland property is permitted 24 hours a day.
Wildlife Viewing: Monomoy has been listed as a Western Hemisphere Shorebird Reserve Network Regional site and an Important Bird Area due to its importance to migratory shorebirds. Fall migration, July through October, provides the best shorebird viewing. Offshore sites, especially South Beach and North Monomoy Island, are the best places for shorebird viewing. Horseshoe crabs and Seals can also be seen on the Refuge from the mainland or offshore portions.
Interpretation: The refuge offers limited Wilderness interpretation between May and August at the visitor center in Chatham. In the non-wilderness portion of the refuge, visitors may obtain a trail map and self-guided walk on Morris Island. At each numbered stop there is a write-up of information about the nature there and informative panels alongside the trail. In the summer months when staffing allows, there are guided hiking tours around the trail loop. At the visitor center, there is an exhibit room with displays about the native wildlife, as well as some hands-on games.
Photography: Photography of the wilderness area is permitted during daylight areas outside of closed areas. In the non-wilderness portion of the refuge, a 3/4-mile nature trail is located on Morris Island and winds through a variety of coastal habitats. Overlooks on the trail provide views of the refuge's North and South Monomoy Islands. Along the trail, one may come into view of least terns, common terns, willets, piping plovers, and the occasional snowy egret. These birds all summer on the refuge and can be seen near the shore, or in the salt marsh. The refuge also hosts an annual summer photo contest.
Safety and Current Conditions
Plan ahead and prepare with drinking water, insect repellant, and sunscreen. Avoid contact with poision ivy, and check thoroughly for ticks after using Refuge trails.