In the shadow of active volcanoes, this rugged refuge protects a variety of local and migratory wildlife.
Situated between the Becharof National Wildlife Refuge to the north and Izembek National Wildlife Refuge to the south, Alaska Peninsula National Wildlife Refuge is the most scenically diverse of the refuges that line Bristol Bay in Southwest Alaska.
Things to do
The Alaska Peninsula Wildlife Refuge offers a variety of recreational opportunities for the adventurous, independent visitor including sport fishing, flightseeing, wildlife viewing, photography, hiking, backpacking, boating, and camping. The Ugashik Lakes are world-renowned for trophy Arctic grayling after the Alaska record grayling - 4 pound 13 ounces - was caught in the Ugashik Narrows. The lakes also support large concentrations of lake trout while the streams that surround them attract brown bears in great numbers, providing great bear viewing opportunities. Most visitors arrive via air taxi or as part of guided fishing and hunting trips that depart from King Salmon.
The land, waterways, and cliffs along the Pacific Coast are home to a diverse array of fish and wildlife. All five species of Pacific salmon spawn in the refuge’s rivers, attracting a dense concentration of brown bears to the area’s rivers, lakes, and streams. Other land mammals include moose, wolves, wolverines, foxes, and the Alaska Peninsula caribou herd, one of the 13 herds that lives in Alaska.
Over 200 species of migrating and resident birds use the area’s cliffs and lowlands for breeding, nesting, or as stopping point along migration routes. Bald eagles, puffins, cormorants, emperor geese, swans, and many other species of seabirds, shorebirds, raptors, and waterfowl can be seen in the refuge. Gray whales pass by the refuge’s coastline on their annual spring migration to the Arctic, and other marine mammals such as harbor seals, sea otters, and Steller sea lions can be seen along the coastline.
The 3.7 million acre refuge encompasses a varied and dramatic landscape of active volcanoes, jaded mountains, rugged coastline, tundra, lowlands, rivers, and lakes.
Within the refuge is Mount Veniaminof, one of Alaska's most active volcanoes. The summit crater of this massive volcano is 5.2 miles in diameter and contains a 25-square mile cupped ice field - the largest crater glacier in North America.
The Alaska National Interest Land Conservation Act (ANILCA) established the 3.7 million acre Alaska Peninsula National Wildlife Refuge on December 2, 1980. Before that, the lands were part of the federal domain.
Facilities and Camping
There are no roads, maintained trails, or visitor facilities in the refuge. The King Salmon Visitor Center includes exhibits and interactive programs on the refuge and assists visitors with trip planning, air charter services, and fishing and hunting guides. There are no designated camping areas in the refuge but backcountry camping is permitted.
Refuge lands are remote and accessible only by small aircraft or boat. Charter air service to the refuge is available in King Salmon, Cold Bay, King Cove, and Sand Point.
For more information, visit the Alaska Peninsula National Wildlife Refuge website.