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Togiak National Wildlife Refuge  

Togiak National Wildlife Refuge

Protecting important seabird nesting sites and major salmon spawning rivers, Togiak National Wildlife Refuge extends over 4.7 million acres - an area the size of Connecticut and Rhode Island combined - from the cold waters of Bristol Bay to the treeless tundra uplands of the Ahklun Mountains to the north. Almost half of these lands, the northern 2.3 million acres, are designated as the Togiak Wilderness Area, the second largest contiguous Wilderness Area within the National Wildlife Refuge System.

The rugged Ahklun and Wood River Mountains lie partly within the refuge which also includes drainages for the Kanektok, Goodnews and Togiak Rivers. These pristine, free flowing rivers not only offer scenic qualities and outstanding recreation opportunities but their runs of salmon serves as an important subsistence fisheries. The rivers contribute a large part of Togiak's production of nearly 3 million Chinook, sockeye, chum, pink and Coho salmon annually, the primary subsistence resource for residents of seven local villages.

The refuge's striking landscapes are complimented by a striking variety of wildlife. Togiak is home to moose, brown bear, wolverine, wolves and many smaller mammals. The Nushagak Peninsula, in the southeastern portion of Togiak Refuge, was the site of a successful 1988 caribou reintroduction. Along the 600 miles of coastline, seals, sea lions, walrus and whales are found at various times. Cape Peirce, on the southwestern tip of the refuge, is one of only two regularly used land-based haul outs for Pacific walrus in North America with up to 12,000 male walrus hauling out here at one time. Some 201 species of birds have been documented within Togiak's boundaries.

The majority of visitors arrive at Togiak during summer to participate in both guided and non-guided float trips on refuge rivers, focusing on sport angling and sometimes hunting. The Togiak Refuge is prime habitat for rainbow trout, Arctic grayling, Dolly Varden, and Arctic char as well as all five species of Pacific salmon. Other activities in the refuge include kayaking, hiking, backpacking, birding and wildlife viewing, particularly at Cape Peirce on the extreme western edge of Bristol Bay where visitors have the opportunity to see Pacific walrus, spotted and harbor seals, and a variety of nesting seabirds including horned and tufted puffins and common murres.

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