Friends of Patuxent
Supporting Research, Wildlife Conservation, and Education at the Patuxent Research Refuge
About Patuxent Research Refuge & Eastern Ecological Science Center
Established in 1936 by Executive Order of President Franklin D. Roosevelt, the US Fish and Wildlife Service’s Patuxent Research Refuge is the nation’s only National Wildlife Refuge established to support wildlife research.
Nowadays, the Refuge is home to the work of two federal agencies: the US Fish and Wildlife Service owns the land and is responsible for conservation activities as well as hosting public programs and offering facilities for visitor enjoyment, while much of Patuxent’s wildlife and conservation research is conducted by the US Geological Survey’s (USGS) Eastern Ecological Science Center (EESC), located on the Central Tract of the Refuge.
The original Refuge acreage of 2,670 acres set aside in 1936 has grown to the present size of 12,841 acres, with the addition of land formerly managed by the U.S. Departments of Agriculture and Defense and the acquisition of some privately owned parcels.
1) the North Tract (8,126 acres), which offers hunting, fishing, wildlife observation, trails and many interpretive programs;
2) Central Tract (2,326 acres), which houses the offices of many USGS Eastern Ecological Science Center research biologists and contains some USGS research areas on Refuge property; the administrative offices of the FWS Patuxent Research Refuge; and the offices of the US Fish & Wildlife Service Division of Migratory Bird Management; and
3) South Tract (2,389 acres), where the National Wildlife Visitor Center is located, and which offers hunting, fishing, wildlife observation, trails, interpretive programs, public events and much more.
North Tract and South Tract are open for visitor activities. Central Tract, with its sensitive research areas, is closed to the public.