Pocosin Lakes National Wildlife Refuge

Quick Facts

Pocosin Lakes National Wildlife Refuge

North Carolina

(252) 796-3004

Map Directions

Things To Do


Pocosin Lakes National Wildlife Refuge Pocosin Lakes NWR was established in 1990 when the Conservation Fund in conjunction with the Richard King Mellon Foundation donated over 93,000 acres to the U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service. The adjacent 12,000 acre Pungo NWR, established in 1963 to serve as a sanctuary for migratory waterfowl, was combined with these new refuge lands and became the Pungo Unit of Pocosin Lakes NWR. Today the Refuge encompasses more than 113,000 acres. Pocosin Lakes NWR was established to provide habitat for migratory waterfowl and other birds, to protect and enhance a unique type of wetlands called pocosin, to protect and enhance habitat for those species which are classified as endangered, threatened, or of special concern, and to provide opportunities for wildlife-oriented interpretation, outdoor recreation and environmental education.

Map of Pocosin Lakes NWR

Latitude, Longitude: 35.756961, -76.516428



  • Boating

    Fishing is allowed on the waters of the Pungo Unit and in New Lake from March 1 to November 1. All other waters are open year round.

  • Auto/Motorcycle

    Local users, who enjoy the Charles Kuralt auto trail, or one of the area's canoe trails, regard the Scuppernong River Interpretive Boardwalk as a treasure.

  • Fishing

    Fishing is a popular activity among both lone anglers and families. As with hunting, State regulations apply. Visitors are usually most successful fishing in the canals around Pungo Lake. More than 20 species of fish exist on the refuge, including flier, bullhead, and channel catfish. For specific regulations, please check the Hunting and Fishing Regulations brochure.

  • Hiking

    The Scuppernong River Interpretive Boardwalk is a ¾-mile loop trail that meanders along the Scuppernong River through a cypress swamp and leads into downtown Columbia. The boardwalk introduces visitors to the beauty of the coastal sounds of eastern North Carolina. Local users, who enjoy the Charles Kuralt auto trail, or one of the area's canoe trails, regard this boardwalk as a treasure. In addition to its scenic and interpretative features, the trail allows for a variety of recreational activities such as fishing, kayaking, and wildlife observation.

  • Hunting

    Hunting is a popular activity on the refuge and is allowed in specific areas. White-tailed deer is one of the more popular species hunted, yet small game such as rabbits, squirrels, and waterfowl are hunted as well. All State regulations apply and a permit is required in order to participate in any hunt.

Park Partners

Friends of Pocosin Lakes National Wildlife Refuge

Friends of Pocosins Lakes National Wildlife Refuge was founded to help protect the natural wonders of the Pocosin Lakes National Wildlife Refuge. The group promotes public awareness of the refuge, raises funds, and supplies volunteers for many projects.

(252) 946-4728



The Refuge is located 6 miles south of Columbia, NC off Hwy 94 on the east and 18 miles south of Plymouth, NC off Hwy 45 on the west. There are several access points to the refuge. The Pungo Unit can be accessed by taking Hwy 45 South to Pantego, NC. Other parts of the Refuge can be accessed by taking Hwy 64 to Roper and turning onto Newland Road and then taking Shore Drive. The Walter B. Jones, Sr. Center for the Sounds, refuge visitor center and headquarters complex, is located on Hwy 64 in Columbia, NC next to the Tyrrell County Visitor=s Center.

Phone Numbers


(252) 796-3004