Official State of Alaska Vacation and Travel Information


Alaska Maritime National Wildlife Refuge  

Alaska Maritime National Wildlife Refuge

Extending along most of the 47,300 miles of Alaska's coastline is the Alaska Maritime National Wildlife Refuge, a mind-boggling assortment of more than 2,500 islands, islets, spires, rocks, reefs, waters and headlands that are home to 40 million seabirds, representing more than 30 species.

The refuge's 4.9 million acres include the spectacular volcanic islands of the Aleutian chain, the seabird cliffs of the remote Pribilofs, and icebound lands washed by the Chukchi Sea. It consists of five separate units and ranges from Forrester Island near Canada's Queen Charlotte Islands to the westernmost tip of the Aleutians and north to Cape Lisburne on the Arctic Ocean. No other maritime refuge in America is as large or as productive.

The Gulf of Alaska Unit contains scattered small islands extending along 800 miles of coast from Southeast Alaska's rainforests across the arc of Prince William Sound and the fjord-edged Kenai Peninsula to islets off Kodiak Island. The Alaska Peninsula Unit extends more than 400 miles along the south coast of the Alaska Peninsula from just west of Kodiak Island to the southern tip of the Alaska Peninsula. The Aleutian Islands Unit extends more than 1,100 miles in a chain of volcanic islands from Unimak Island at the tip of the Alaska Peninsula westward to Attu Island.

The Bering Sea Unit extends more than 600 miles from islands and lands on Norton Sound along the Seward Peninsula to islands far into the Bering Sea and the Pribilof Islands, the best place to watch marine birds and mammals from land on the refuge. The Chukchi Sea Unit contains scattered islands, spits and mainland areas extending along 500 miles of coast from southwest of Barrow on the Arctic Ocean and includes the mountainous mainland area and sea cliffs of Cape Lisburne and Cape Thompson at the western end of the Brooks Range.

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