The Nature Conservancy’s preserves are set aside to protect natural plant and animal communities. We invite you to experience and enjoy preserves where we provide public access, but remember that every visitor has an impact. Please follow the guidelines on this page to protect yourself and nature.
Leashed dogs are permitted at only one Virginia preserve:
- Leashed dog are allowed on Brownsville's William B. Cummings Birding and Wildlife Trail.
- Dogs on the trail must be leashed at all times.
- Dogs are not allowed on any of the Virginia Coast Reserve islands.
Preserves are open to the public during daylight hours. Passive recreation such as walking, bird watching, and photography is welcomed. To protect the health of our preserves for generations to come and to ensure the safety of all visitors, the following activities are not allowed:
- Bringing dogs onto the preserve (except as noted above)
- Picking flowers, mushrooms, etc.
- Removing rocks or other parts of the landscape
- Fires or cookouts
- Driving motorized vehicles, including ATV’s, except on designated access roads
- Fishing, trapping or hunting, except as otherwise posted
- Horseback riding
- Feeding wildlife
- Releasing animals or introducing plants
- Disposing of trash or other waste, including biodegradable materials
To minimize your impact, we ask that you please also observe the following:
- Stay on trails.
- Avoid walking in wet, boggy areas.
- Inspect pant legs and shoes to remove seeds before entering and when leaving the preserve. Failure to do so could introduce invasive weeds to new locations.
- If you flush a ground nesting bird, stop and avoid walking near the nest area.
- Observe all posted signs.
- Please do not remove stakes, signs, flagging, tape or similar objects. These may be markers for a research project.
- Please do not trespass on private property adjacent to preserves.
For your own comfort and enjoyment, come prepared. Wear comfortable shoes for hiking, pack rain gear, and wear long pants with socks over them to protect yourself from ticks and poison ivy. Always remember to bring water, as dehydration is a serious year-round threat.
If you observe any illegal activity on a preserve such as ATV use, do not confront the offenders yourself. However, do feel free to call local law enforcement.
Enjoy your visit and please report any problems you encounter at a preserve to the Virginia Chapter at 434-295-6106.