Fishermans Island National Wildlife Refuge Travel Guide

  • Cemetery in the winter
    Cemetery in the winter
    by grandmaR
  • Sign which says
    Sign which says "Public Hunting area
    by grandmaR
  • Sign at the Boat Ramp
    Sign at the Boat Ramp
    by grandmaR

Fishermans Island National Wildlife Refuge Things to Do

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    by grandmaR Updated Sep 10, 2012

    This cemetery is on the property of the Eastern Shore of VA National Wildlife Refuge in an area that was Fort Custis on the Old Douglas Fitchett Farm. Thomas Hallett and Tamar Trower had five children - Arinthea Hallett, Sarah Hallett , James Hallett , Thomas J Hallett and Margaret Ellen Hallett. Thomas, Tamar and three of their children (James, Sarah and Maggie) are buried in this cemetery. Maggie married Leonard Thomas Fitchett and they had eight children, including Hilary G Fitchett. One of Hillary's children, Rufus Carl who died at age two is also buried here.

    Cemetery in the winter J. D. Hallett stone Inscription on Tamar Hallet's stone Memorial of the Fitchett boy who died at age two Thomas Hallett's stone
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    by grandmaR Written Sep 3, 2011

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    The information center was closed when we were there

    Visitor center hours
    January - February

    Friday - Sunday 10:00 a.m. to 2:00 p.m.
    April - November

    Daily 9:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m.
    December and March

    Daily 10:00 a.m. to 2:00 p.m.
    Closed
    Thanksgiving Day,
    Christmas Eve Day
    &
    Christmas Day

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    by grandmaR Updated Sep 3, 2011

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    At the beginning of World War II, a lot of the land that is now part of the wildlife refuge was acquired by the federal government and named Fort John Custis, after a prominent eighteenth century resident of Northampton County. Large bunkers in the fort housed 16-inch guns designed to protect naval bases and shipyards in Hampton Roads. There were approximately 800 soldiers who defended the Bay entrance. The Fort also served as a logistical support base for east coast prisoners of war

    In 1950, the U.S. Air Force changed the name of Fort John Custis to the Cape Charles Air Force Station. The Air Force occupied their AFS until 1981.

    When we were looking for a place to view the lighthouse on Smith Island, we did visit the bunker area. Bob climbed to the top, but he said you couldn't see much from up there although he got a better picture of a vulture in the top of a tree.

    Stairs to the top of the bunker Bunker behind information kiosk Vulture at the top of a tree Sign about the fort WWII gun  Photo Credit: USFWS
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Fishermans Island National Wildlife Refuge Warnings and Dangers

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    by grandmaR Written Sep 3, 2011

    Under construction

    General Ramp Rules and Regulations:

    Day use area only (no overnight parking)
    A pass is required for parking and/or launching (must be displayed from your rearview mirror)
    Launching or loading is limited to 20 minutes
    Parking is allowed in marked spaces only
    Prohibited activities include:
    Use or display of alcoholic beverages
    Pets (even in vehicles)
    Personal watercraft (Jet Ski, etc.)
    Fishing or crabbing along the shore or ramp
    Cleaning, gutting or disposal of fish or bait
    Swimming or wading
    Kite boarding or wind surfing
    Vehicles or trailers exceeding 8.5 feet in width or 45 feet in length when coupled
    Mooring at or walking on the commercial boat dock
    Being present in the area outside hours of operation

    Reminder:

    Due to the critical nature of their habitats for wildlife, Fisherman Island National Wildlife Refuge and Skidmore Island (part of the Eastern Shore of Virginia National Wildlife Refuge) are closed to the public. Trespassing (including boat landing or walking on the beach) is prohibited.

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Fishermans Island National Wildlife Refuge Sports & Outdoors

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    by grandmaR Written Sep 3, 2011

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    The refuge permits deer hunting - the harvest of animals is one tool used to manage wildlife populations at a level compatible with the environment

    General Deer Hunt Information

    Public hunting of white-tailed deer is allowed in designated zones of the refuge
    Archery and shotgun hunts are held on the refuge
    All Federal and State hunting regulations apply

    Equipment: A refuge hunt permit is required to hunt

    Hunters must possess all applicable state hunting licenses and permits

    Sign which says trail near parking lot Whitetail Deer. Photo Credit: USFWS
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    by grandmaR Written Sep 3, 2011

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    As we found out when we tried to get to a place where we could see the lighthouse on Smith Island, the Wildlife Refuge offers several boating opportunities. Although the GPS told us to "start off-road navigation" we did not have our boat with us in February, and our boat wouldn't be suitable for use at this location anyway.

    The refuge information says that the Wise Point Boat Ramp on the Inside Virginia Passage provides access to the Atlantic Ocean and Chesapeake Bay for fishing, hunting, wildlife observation and photography.

    Equipment: Ramp amenities include:

    41 trailer parking spaces
    21 vehicle only parking spaces
    Twin 16-foot wide boat ramps
    Floating courtesy pier
    Restrooms

    General Information:

    The Wise Point Boat Ramp, as part of the Eastern Shore of Virginia National Wildlife Refuge, is managed to provide wildlife-oriented recreation including fishing, hunting and wildlife observation.

    Hours of Operation (boat ramp and parking area closed all other times):

    February through September: 1/2 hour before sunrise to 1/2 hour after sunset
    October through January: 5:00 AM to 10:00 PM (Note: the remainder of the wildlife refuge is closed from 1/2 hour after sunset to 1/2 hour before sunrise)
    Closures:
    The ramp is closed during shotgun portion of the refuge deer hunt
    The ramp may at times be closed to protect public health, safety, or natural resources; to conduct maintenance operations; or for other reasons

    Fees and Passes (required for parking and/or launching):

    Day Pass: $10 per day per vehicle (available at fee booth)
    Annual Pass: $120 per calendar year. Please contact us.
    Commercial Pass: Required for businesses (i.e., commercial fishing, guide service, etc.). Please contact us.

    General Ramp Rules and Regulations:

    Day use area only (no overnight parking)
    A pass is required for parking and/or launching (must be displayed from your rearview mirror)
    Launching or loading is limited to 20 minutes
    Parking is allowed in marked spaces only
    Prohibited activities include:
    Use or display of alcoholic beverages
    Pets (even in vehicles)
    Personal watercraft (Jet Ski, etc.)
    Fishing or crabbing along the shore or ramp
    Cleaning, gutting or disposal of fish or bait
    Swimming or wading
    Kite boarding or wind surfing
    Vehicles or trailers exceeding 8.5 feet in width or 45 feet in length when coupled
    Mooring at or walking on the commercial boat dock
    Being present in the area outside hours of operation

    Parking lot at the boat ramp Sign at the Boat Ramp Sign at the Boat Ramp Ramp from the water Photo Credit: USFWS Bridges over Fisherman's Inlet
    Related to:
    • Fishing
    • National/State Park
    • Eco-Tourism

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