Facts and Features of the Refuge
- It is the Nation's largest and most northerly National Wildlife Refuge; South
Carolina could almost fit inside its borders.
- Approximately eight million acres (out of a total of over 19 million acres) are designated as Wilderness, more than on any other National Wildlife Refuge.
- The majestic Brooks Range rises from its coastal plain only 10-40 miles from the
- It includes the four highest peaks and most of the glaciers in the Brooks Range.
- There are 18 major rivers: three designated as Wild (Sheenjek, Ivishak, and Wind).
- It includes three major physiographic areas (arctic tundra, Brooks Range, and boreal
forest), which contain a full range of arctic and subarctic habitats.
- It contains the greatest variety of plant and animal life of any conservation area in the
- 200+ bird species from all continents except Europe have been seen there.
- It is home to 37 species of land mammals.
- It protects most of the calving grounds for the Porcupine caribou herd, the second
largest herd in Alaska.
- It contains all three species of North American bears (black, brown, and polar).
- Eight marine mammal species live along its coast.
- 25 fish species inhabit its rivers and lakes.
- There are no roads, developments, or trails. You must fly, boat, or walk to get there.
- The spirit of wilderness prevails there.
- It offers outstanding scenery and recreation.
- It is as primitive and undisturbed as any conservation area in the Nation.
- It is home to North America's farthest north Dall sheep population.
- It is the only national conservation area that provides a complete range of arctic
- It has two designated Research Natural Areas.
- Marine waters within its northern boundary are designated as a National Marine Protected Area.
- More than 300 archaeological sites have been found there.
- It contains North America's two largest and most northerly alpine lakes (Peters and
- Kaktovik, an Inupiaq Eskimo village, and Arctic Village, a Gwich'in Indian
community, are located on its north and south boundaries.
- Its coast is a major migration route for several waterfowl species.
- Numerous prominent geological formations, including a range of permafrost and
features, are found there.
- It contains several warm springs, which support plant species unique to the area.
- The Nation's northernmost breeding population of golden eagles occurs there.
- It borders two Canadian national parks.
- It is used by two different caribou herds.
- Continuous light prevails there from late April to mid-August; the sun stays below the
horizon from mid-November to mid-January.
- It has no known introduced species.
- Permafrost underlies most of it, helping to keep the landscape wet and productive in
- Huge fields of overflow ice ("aufeis") form along many of its rivers every winter.
- It is open to public use year-round, offering unparalleled opportunities to experience
solitude, challenge, and adventure.
December 2, 2010