Submitted by the Great Meadows National Wildlife Refuge
Editor’s Note: The Bedford Citizen is sharing this press release because so many Bedford residents visit Great Meadows.
The Eastern Massachusetts National Wildlife Refuge Complex has begun the implementation of its previously approved refuge entrance fee program for all visitors to the Great Meadows National Wildlife Refuges’ Concord Unit at the end of Monsen Rd in Concord, MA. Our fee program was originally approved in 2005 and was established under the Recreation Fee Program, a program which Congress initiated in December 2004 to encourage Department of Agriculture and Department of Interior agencies that provide recreational opportunities to recover costs for their public use facilities, improve visitor facilities, promote activities for visitors and address the maintenance backlog of visitor service projects. We have developed a Frequently Asked Questions to provide detailed information for our visitors.
When will this program begin? May 1, 2015
Why is this fee being established? Our operation and maintenance costs to keep the Concord Impoundments open to the public for wildlife-dependent recreation continue to increase. Operations such as plowing, maintaining and cleaning restrooms, trail and dike maintenance are expensive! Money collected under this entrance fee program will help us provide basic amenities at this site. The US Fish and Wildlife Service is still in sequestration (budget cuts); we cannot expect to continue basic services without these fees.
What types of passes can be used under this new Refuge Entrance Fee program? There are several types of passes which can be used. A $4.00 Weekly or $12.00 Annual Refuge Entrance Pass will gain you access to Great Meadows NWR. If you have one of the following passes (which can be used at most Federal sites that have an entrance fee) such as an Interagency Annual Pass, Access Pass, Senior Pass, Volunteer Pass or Military Pass, you do not need to purchase a separate Refuge Entrance Pass. Current Federal Duck Stamps also serve as an entrance pass to the refuge.
How do I obtain a pass? There are several ways to purchase a Refuge Entrance Pass to access this unit of the refuge. Visitors can pay for a Weekly Pass (which is valid for seven days) with cash or check by using the envelopes provided at the brown self-pay station by the kiosk at the main parking lot. Visitors can also purchase a Weekly or Annual Pass by calling or texting the phone numbers listed on the sign in the kiosk, using the QR code on the sign, or online at https://www.easternmapermits.com. Visitors can also buy an Annual Refuge Entrance Pass, any of the other passes, or a Federal duck stamp at the Assabet River NWR located at 680 Hudson Rd in Sudbury Fri-Sun, 10am – 4pm, or the Great Meadows NWR main office located at 73 Weir Hill Road in Sudbury Mon – Fri, 8am – 4pm.
If I buy a pass online or over the phone, how do I receive my pass? If you purchase a Weekly or Annual Pass over the phone via text, you will receive a confirmation text which will serve as your proof of payment. If you call to order a pass, a confirmation number will be given to you. If purchasing a Weekly or Annual Refuge Entrance Pass via the internet you will be prompted to a page upon payment completion to print a temporary pass. All visitors that purchase an Annual Refuge Entrance Pass over the phone or online, will receive an official pass within 21 days in the mail.
How do I show proof of a pass? Visitors can place their pass or duck stamp on their vehicle dashboard or hang tag or carry it on them.
Who is covered by a pass? All types of passes and the Federal Duck Stamp will cover the entrance fee for up to four adults (16 years of age and older). There is no fee for children under 16 years of age.
What is the money collected used for? As part of our National Recreation Fee Program, 80% of the funds will be retained by Great Meadows National Wildlife Refuge and 20% sent to our Regional Office for redistribution to other refuges. We will use the funds we collect here for operations and maintenance at this site. Please note we only retain money from the sale of the Refuge Entrance Passes; purchase of all other passes and Federal Duck Stamps contribute to other national programs.
For more information, please call 978.443.4661 x 34 or email Susan_J_Russo@fws.gov