Learn the where and when to wildlife viewing with the state's wildlife experts
When it comes to wildlife viewing in Alaska, the trick is knowing where and when to look. Thankfully there are a variety of resources made available by the Alaska Department of Fish and Game and its Division of Wildlife Conservation Wildlife Viewing Program to give visitors a nudge in the right direction. The Alaska Department of Fish and Game is responsible for managing all animals in the state except marine mammals and migratory birds.
The department’s regional wildlife viewing guidebooks and brochures and a newly redesigned website are chock full of information describing the “what, when, where and why” of Alaska’s wildlife. Among the website’s many new features are a trailcam gallery, birding and tidepool information, and tips on how to get the best views and stay safe.
The Division of Wildlife Conservation also oversees the management of 32 wildlife refuges and sanctuaries statewide, which include three of Alaska’s premier wildlife viewing sites: McNeil River near Katmai National Park and Preserve, the Stan Price State Wildlife Sanctuary near Pack Creek on Admiralty Island, and the Walrus Islands, seven small islands known for large walrus populations in northern Bristol Bay. The wildlife viewing website will guide you to other bear viewing locations, many of which are accessible by major air carriers, small charter planes, and the Alaska Marine Highway System (the state’s ferry system).
Independent travelers can follow the Alaska Coastal Wildlife Viewing Trail as they travel the state ferries from Ketchikan to Skagway in Southeast Alaska across the Gulf of Alaska to Prince William Sound and all the way down to Unalaska/Dutch Harbor in the Aleutian Islands. Each trail is designed as a “necklace” of viewing sites rather than a physical trail. Viewing opportunities along the ferry routes and in port communities are outlined in “Alaska’s Inside Passage Wildlife Viewing Guide” and “Alaska’s South Coastal Viewing Guide”. Visitors renting a car will enjoy “Alaska’s Kenai Peninsula Wildlife Viewing Trail Guide”— a driving itinerary with more than 60 wildlife-viewing stops. Cruise passengers will also benefit from these resources available at local and major online bookstores. For a full list of the wildlife viewing program’s guidebooks and brochures, visit ADFG.alaska.gov/index.cfm?adfg=viewing.guidebooks.
For more information on wildlife viewing in Alaska, click here.