In shadows of active volcanoes, this rugged refuge protects a variety of local and migratory wildlife
Sandwiched between 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.
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.
The interplay of volcanic activity with shoreline erosion and glacial scour has created breathtakingly dramatic landscape at this 3.5 million-acre refuge whose features range from active volcanoes and towering mountain peaks to rolling tundra and rugged, wave-battered coastlines.
Within the refuge is Mount Veniaminof, one of Alaska's most active volcanoes, erupting as recently as 1995. The summit crater of this massive volcano is 5.2 miles in diameter and contains a 25-square mile cupped ice field - the most extensive crater glacier in North America with an active volcanic vent in its center.
The cliffs, bays, fjords and streams of refuge's spectacularly rugged Pacific coast support a diversity of fish and wildlife. Here you will find nesting bald eagles, puffins, cormorants, emperor geese and countless other birds. Harbor seals, sea otters and Stellar sea lion haul out along the coast and gray whales past through on their spring migration. Brown bear feast on spawning salmon in summer and fall while the refuge's drainages constitute a major portion of the winter moose habitat on the central Alaska Peninsula. The refuge is home to the northern Alaska Peninsula caribou herd, one of 13 major herds in Alaska that migrates up to 200 miles annually from spring calving grounds to its winter range.
The Alaska Peninsula Refuge offers a variety of recreational opportunities including sport fishing, flightseeing, wildlife viewing and 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 opportunity to observe these bruins in the wild.
There are no roads, maintained trails or visitor facilities in the refuge. The King Salmon Visitor Center (907-246-4250) includes exhibits and interactive programs on the refuge and assists visitors with trip planning in regards to information about air charter services and fishing and hunting guides.
No fees or permits are necessary to visit the Alaska Peninsula National Wildlife Refuge.
Refuge lands are remote and accessible only by small aircraft or boat. Regularly scheduled commercial flights are available between Anchorage and King Salmon, Sand Point and Cold Bay and charter air service to the refuge is available in King Salmon, Cold Bay, King Cove, and Sand Point.
For more information contact the Alaska Peninsula National Wildlife Refuge Headquarters (907-246-3339; http://www.fws.gov/refuge/alaska_peninsula/) in King Salmon.