Big Oaks Wildlife Refuge will reopen to public use Friday and be open Mondays, Fridays and the second and fourth Saturdays of each month from 7 a.m. to 4:30 p.m.

Fishing at Old Timbers Lake, wildlife watching, hiking and mushroom gathering also will start Friday.

All refuge visitors must view the safety briefing once every year and sign an acknowledgment of danger form. A daily pass to the refuge costs $3, while an annual passes and hunt permits are $15. The refuge begins showing the required safety briefing at 7 a.m.

Tours of the refuge can be arranged by calling the refuge office two weeks in advance for a special group tour or attend one of the regularly scheduled tours. A small trail with a photo blind is ready for wildlife photographers and nature lovers at Big Tree Point at Old Timbers Lake. Off-trail hiking is also allowed in the northeast portion of the refuge known as the public use area. 

For further information about events or regulations, call the refuge office at (812) 273-0783.