Elizabeth Hartwell Mason Neck National Wildlife Refuge

Fish and Wildlife Service, Virginia.


Elizabeth Hartwell Mason Neck National Wildlife Refuge was established in 1969, and became the first national wildlife refuge created specifically for the protection of bald eagles. Once on the brink of extinction, the bald eagle enjoys the safety of the refuge’s forests and shoreline for nesting and foraging along the upper portions of the Potomac River and its tributaries. Other species observed on the refuge include  wood thrush, white-tailed deer, groundhog, and wood duck.

Elizabeth Hartwell Mason Neck National Wildlife Refuge is adjacent to a rapidly growing metropolitan area where habitat is constantly altered. The refuge provides wildlife a relatively remote area of upland forests and freshwater marshes that extend into the Potomac River. Great Marsh, a 207-acre tidal freshwater marsh, is a valuable feature of the refuge, and is home to one of Virginia’s largest great blue heron breeding colonies.

Nearby Activities


Mason Neck National Wildlife Refuge is located about 18 miles south of Washington D.C. From the north: take I-95 south to exit 163 (Lorton). Turn left on Lorton, right on Armistead Rd, and then right (south) on RT 1. Go to light at top of the hill and turn left on Gunston Rd. (242) and go about 4 miles. The refuge shares a common entrance (High Pt. rd.) with the Mason Neck State Park. From the south: take I-95 north to exit 161 (Rt 1, Ft. Belvoir), go north on Rt 1, turn right on Gunston Rd, go about 4 miles to refuge entrance.

Additional Information

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