John H. Chafee National Wildlife Refuge

Quick Facts

John H. Chafee National Wildlife Refuge

Rhode Island

(401) 364-9124

Map Directions

Things To Do

Overview

John H. Chafee National Wildlife Refuge at Pettaquamscutt Cove can be elusive to many human visitors. However, it is well-known to the migratory waterfowl that rely on it, including the largest population of black ducks in Rhode Island. In fact, the 554-acre refuge was established specifically to protect the population of black ducks that winter there. The refuge's tidal salt marshes and forests attract many types of birds, including great egrets, herons, and several species of plovers and other shorebirds. It is also one of the few places in Rhode Island that is home to the salt marsh sharp-tailed sparrow.

Many visitors are able to view the periphery of the refuge as they canoe or kayak the Narrow River. Although there is no refuge trail system, visitors can gain a vantage point of the refuge from the Middle Bridge pull-out and Sprague Bridge on Route 1A. Designated fishing access points also provide visitors an opportunity for shoreline fishing. Visitors can find parking across the street on town property.

Map of JOHN H. CHAFEE NWR

Latitude, Longitude: 41.449739, -71.449585

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Activities

  • Boating

    Virtually all refuge lands are not readily accessible by road or by trail. Taking a canoe or kayak across Pettaquamscutt Cove and in the Lower Narrow River is the easiest way to experience the refuge. To get to the kayak launch site off of Boston Neck Road, use the following GPS coordinates: 41.450047, -71.448446.

  • Bird Watching

    Many visitors to the John H. Chafee National Wildlife Refuge at Pettaquamscutt Cove are able to view the periphery of the refuge as they canoe the Narrow River. Although there is no refuge trail system, visitors can gain a vantage point of the refuge from the Middle Bridge pull-out and Sprague Bridge on Route 1A. Designated fishing access points also provide visitors an opportunity for shoreline viewing and photographing of wildlife.

  • Fishing

    Fishing is also allowed, but there are very few shoreline access points, and no trails on the John H. Chafee National Wildlife Refuge at Pettaquamscutt Cove. Please call headquarters in advance of your trip for more information on fishing access.

  • Historic Sites

    Kettle Pond Visitor Center and headquarters located in Charlestown, RI, celebrates John H. Chafee National Wildlife Refuge at Pettaquamscutt Cove and all of the other refuges in Rhode Island (Ninigret, Trustom Pond, Block Island and Sachuest Point) This facility contains enticing interactive exhibits, a gift shop, classrooms for special events, and knowledgeable people where visitors can come and explore the refuges and learn about the wildlife and coastal environments of each refuge. See what Kettle Pond Visitor Center has to offer by visiting our headquarters site at: http://www.fws.gov/ninigret/complex.

  • Wildlife Watching

    Many visitors to the John H. Chafee National Wildlife Refuge at Pettaquamscutt Cove are able to view the periphery of the refuge as they canoe the Narrow River. Although there is no refuge trail system, visitors can gain a vantage point of the refuge from the Middle Bridge pull-out and Sprague Bridge on Route 1A. Designated fishing access points also provide visitors an opportunity for shoreline viewing and photographing of wildlife.

Seasonality/Weather

Open everyday from 10:00 am to 4:00 pm, except Thanksgiving Day, Christmas Day and New Year's Day. Please call ahead for very infrequent and unexpected closures of the visitor center or refuges, and the current weather conditions (401-364-9124).

Directions

Driving

The refuge is located in the towns of Narragansett and South Kingstown, Washington County, Rhode Island. Virtually all refuge lands are not readily accessible by road or by trail. Taking a canoe or kayak across Pettaquamscutt Cove and in the Lower Narrow River is the easiest way to experience the refuge. Exceptional viewing of the refuge can be found from the Sprague Bridge in Narragansett on Boston Neck Road, or from Middlebridge in Narragansett.

The kayak launch area at Sprague Bridge off of Boston Neck Road/Rt. 1A in Narragansett (along with a few other shoreline access points) is open to the public every day from sunrise until sunset. There are no other developed visitor use areas on the refuge.

The Trustom Pond Contact Station, in nearby South Kingstown, is the closest U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service facility with more information on the John H. Chafee National Wildlife Refuge at Pettaquamscutt Cove. The Trustom Pond Contact Station would also make an excellent "next stop" on your tour and exploration of the wildlife refuges of Rhode Island. The contact station is open every day during hours when there are volunteers available to staff the station. Generally the hours are 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. every day. Sometimes volunteers will be out on the trails assisting other visitors, and the contact station may be temporarilty closed while they are away. The trails are always open during daylight hours, regardless of whether the contact station is open or not.

Kettle Pond Visitor Center is another great place to become familiar with (or to review) the habitats and wildlife you'll see at John H. Chafee National Wildlife Refuge at Pettaquamscutt Cove. It's located further south on Rt. 1 than the Trustom Pond Contact Station (in Charlestown, RI), and is open everday from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m., except Thanksgiving Day, Christmas Day and New Year's Day. Please call ahead for very infrequent and unexpected closures of the visitor center or refuges, and the current weather conditions (401) 364-9124.

Phone Numbers

Primary

(401) 364-9124

Links