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Palmer Hay Flats — State Game Refuge

The Palmer Hay Flats State Game Refuge is open to most public uses provided the activity does not damage refuge resources, disturb wildlife or disrupt existing public uses. Allowed activities generally include hunting, trapping, fishing, wildlife watching, hiking, boating, snow machining, bird dog (retriever) training, photography, camping, and other general uses. The list below provides some examples of activities that are allowed without special authorization from the Department of Fish and Game. Also listed are some examples of activities that are prohibited or require a Special Area Permit issued by the Department of Fish and Game. For more information on permits, review the Special Area Permit requirement or contact the Special Area Permit office listed on the Contact Information page.

Activities Generally NOT Requiring a Special Area Permit

  • Hunting (be sure to review appropriate hunting regulations)
  • Trapping (but please be courteous of other refuge users and avoid setting traps in areas that might capture dogs such as along hiking trails and at trailheads. Also, be sure to review appropriate trapping regulations)
  • Sport fishing (be sure to review appropriate sport fishing regulations)
  • Hiking
  • Photography
  • Wildlife watching
  • Bird dog (retriever) training
  • Camping (for less than 14 days, no building of structures, and no damage to trees)
  • Canoeing/kayaking
  • Motorized watercraft: (see the refuge’s motorized watercraft regulations in 5 AAC 95.505 for details)
    • Mananuska River, Knik River and Knik Arm of Cook Inlet – no restrictions
    • Wasilla Creek and Rabbit Slough – during the weekend-only sport fishery (Saturday and Sunday, 6:00am to 6:00pm) from July 15 to August 15, motors are limited to 3 horsepower or less
    • Waters others than those listed above are limited to motors of 20 horsepower or less
  • Winter snow machining (from November 9 to March 31 with 12 inches of snow and sufficient ground frost to prevent damage to vegetation and soils - see General Special Area Permit for details).
  • Off-road Vehicles: allowed only on the Cottonwood Creek ATV trail from August 15 to November 15 (see General Special Area Permit for details)

Activities Prohibited or Requiring a Special Area Permit

  • Camping for more than 14 days
  • Building a structure (tent platform, cabin, food cache, etc.; however, portable temporary hunting blinds are allowed)
  • Operating a vehicle (including an ATV) off-road, except as allowed under the General Special Area Permit)
  • Cutting trees
  • Landing aircraft (except it is allowed during winter (November 10 to March 31) with adequate snow and frozen ground (see General Special Area Permit for details)
  • Activities with groups of 20 or more people
  • Discharging firearms other than for legal hunting within ½ mile of an access site, parking area or trailhead (i.e. – these areas are CLOSED to target shooting)
  • Dumping trash or other waste
  • Any other activity that may significantly effect vegetation, drainage, water quality, soil stability, fish, wildlife or their habitats
  • Any activity that disturbs fish or wildlife (other than hunting, trapping and fishing)