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US Fish & Wildlife Service FieldNotes

TOGIAK:  2013 Refuge FLOAT Camp

Region 7, August 15, 2013
That's What?? Supervisory Park Ranger/LE Allen Miller assist students in identifying a fish caught in a minnow trap.
That's What?? Supervisory Park Ranger/LE Allen Miller assist students in identifying a fish caught in a minnow trap. - Photo Credit: n/a
Diana Tikiun of Quinhagak proudly shows off her first ever pike.
Diana Tikiun of Quinhagak proudly shows off her first ever pike. - Photo Credit: n/a
Say Cheese! Connor Ito and Mariah Dray of Dillingham smile over a lakeside moose skull.
Say Cheese! Connor Ito and Mariah Dray of Dillingham smile over a lakeside moose skull. - Photo Credit: n/a
Auditioning for Sherwood: Tristan Chaney of Dillingham shows terrific form with the bow and arrow.
Auditioning for Sherwood: Tristan Chaney of Dillingham shows terrific form with the bow and arrow. - Photo Credit: n/a

Well, that title’s not completely accurate. This year’s Togiak Refuge Float Camp (full name Summer Outdoor Skills and River Ecology Float Camp) did do some floating but it was a lot more limited than it’s been in past years. The reason you ask? A change in location prompted by really brutal weather.

 

Crummy weather affecting air travel is nothing new to rural Alaska. It happens every day. But this was the first year that poor weather has forced such a change Togiak’s annual Float Camp. The original destination for this year’s camp was the Middle Fork of the Goodnews River. The back-up destination was a closer river, the Ongivinuk. Sadly, neither location was accessible during what were to be the first few days of this year’s camp. And with campers already in Dillingham from other villages, the clock was ticking to find site to hold camp.

In the end, Okstukuk Lake, a small body of water 30 miles north of Dillingham was chosen. The refuge was able to gain permission to a small privately owned cabin on the lake and that served as base for this year’s camp. Ultimately the only thing that was really sacrificed is that floating was greatly reduced- kids were limited to the lake itself- as most other activities that had been planned did manage to find their way into the fishing, wilderness survival skills, identification of aquatic organisms, subsistence activities, archery and discussions about stewardship and careers with USFWS. This year’s group of students displayed an outstanding attitude at all times, both as individuals and as a team. They were always eager and positive at all times and a really good time was had by all. Moses Bright of Goodnews Bay said it was the best time he’d ever had and Diana Tikiun of Quinhagak, commenting on the fact camp was held on a lake, said “It was a lot of fun. I live by a river; I can see a river anytime.” Such great attitudes go a long ways toward making for a successful camp.

Contact Info: Terry Fuller, 907-842-1063 ext. 8419, terry_fuller@fws.gov