• 70°

National Wildlife Refuges visitor centers restricting operations in eastern North Carolina

From U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service

Refuge Visitor Centers in eastern North Carolina are reducing hours or closing beginning Friday, March 20, 2020

MANTEO — The US Fish and Wildlife Service today announced the suspension of operations at the Coastal North Carolina National Wildlife Refuges Gateway Visitor Center, Manteo, NC; the Walter B. Jones Sr. Center for the Sounds (Pocosin  Lakes National Wildlife Refuge Visitor Center), Columbia, NC; and the Red Wolf Center, Columbia, NC effective Friday, March 20, 2020. Also, the Mattamuskeet National Wildlife Refuge Visitor Center will be closed Mondays through Fridays but will remain open 8am – 4pm on Saturdays and Sundays.  The suspensions or reduction of hours of operations are in support of local efforts to slow the spread of the virus and protect both employees and visitors. National Wildlife Refuges will remain open daylight hours for all approved forms of wildlife recreation.

The Pea Island National Wildlife Refuge Visitor Center will also be closed, as scheduled during this time, for a construction project to raise the building.

The health and safety of our visitors and employees at refuges within the Coastal North Carolina National Wildlife Refuge Complex is our number one priority. The US Fish and Wildlife Service is working with the federal, state and local authorities to closely monitor the novel coronavirus (COVID-19) situation. A reopening date has not been determined at this time. We will notify the public when we reopen these locations by providing updates on our website and social media channels. We urge our visitors to do their part when visiting refuges in eastern North Carolina and to follow CDC guidance to prevent the spread of infectious diseases – maintain a safe distance between you and other groups; wash your hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds; avoid touching your eyes, nose, and mouth; cover your mouth and nose when you cough or sneeze, and most importantly, stay home if you feel sick.

Updates about Service’s response to coronavirus will posted at https://www.fws.gov/home/public-health-update.html. Please check with individual refuges or facilities regarding the change of operations or postponement of events and programs. For the most up-to-date local information follow us on Facebook @USFWS.NC, visit individual refuge web pages, or call 252-473-1131 Ext 224 with questions.  For links to all the refuges in eastern North Carolina, visit NCRefuges.com