Do I need a Special
The Kenai National Wildlife Refuge is open to the public
year-round. If you are visiting the Refuge on your own or as a member of a
recreational group, no permit is required. If, however, you conduct a
commercial activity such as guiding, film-making, or providing commercial
transportation; or if you propose to conduct scientific or geological research
or other non-recreational activities, a Special Use Permit is required.
When may I apply for
a Special Use Permit?
If you are interested in applying for a commercial,
recreation-related permit, which includes sport fishing, recreational guiding
and air taxi services (FAA certified, point to point aircraft transportation on
Refuge lands and waters), you must apply during the application period:
February 15, to April 1. Complete applications received during this time period
will be processed within 45 days of receipt. Incomplete applications will be
returned to you after the closing date. It is the applicant's responsibility to
ensure that the application is complete and all fees are paid by the closing
date. Applications received outside of this application period will be
processed during the next open period.
Applications for visitor services activities that are
limited and awarded by competitive process, such as big game guide or Upper
Kenai River sport fishing, will be announced on a case-by-case basis.
Applications for non-visitor services activities may be
submitted at any time.
How do I begin the
Read through the Permits page to see if a permit is required
for your desired activity. If one is, determine which type of permit you should
Before you request a permit, please become familiar with the
wildlife, wilderness, and recreational values for which the Kenai Refuge was
established and which must be protected. Additional information about the
Refuge is available on this web site. Read these sections to gain further
insights about what activities might be allowed on the Refuge.
To apply for a Special Use Permit, contact the appropriate
staff member for the type of permit in which you are interested. Review the
"Permits" page for a list of uses and appropriate contacts.
How long does the
permit process take?
Once we receive your completed permit application and
information the process can take up to 45 days so a request for a Special Use
Permit should be submitted as early as possible. In order to protect Refuge
values, we may require revision of schedules, location, means of access, party
size, and/or methods.
considerations do I need to be aware of?
All commercial visitor services permits require liability
insurance including general guide/outfitter insurance coverage and coverage
specific to marine, aircraft, vehicle, horse packer, etc. services offered.
Permits will generally include addendums covering
requirements for specific activities and for appropriate access and use for
specific refuge management areas.
Sub-contracting is not authorized. Applicants and/or
approved employees must conduct all commercial services offered.
Refuge staff members take into consideration Refuge
management plans and policies as well as a number of federal and state laws
when considering each permit application. Among them are the Alaska National
Interest Lands Conservation Act (ANILCA), the Refuge Administration Act, the
Refuge Improvement Act of 1997, the Wilderness Act, the Marine Mammals
Protection Act, and the Kenai National Wildlife Refuge Comprehensive
Conservation Plan (CCP). These mandates and guidelines require particularly
careful scrutiny of any Refuge use not allowed to the general public. Some
issues given special attention are:
Motorized equipment - All requests for motorized access not
specifically allowed by the Kenai Refuge CCP, ANILCA and Kenai NWR access
regulations (e.g., helicopters, all-terrain vehicles, or airboats) are
carefully scrutinized and may be prohibited.
Installations - Placement of installations (e.g., data
collection stations, weather stations, structures, remote video, and towers,
etc.) are carefully scrutinized and may be prohibited.
Areas of special designation - Areas with special
designation, including designated Kenai Wilderness, the Swan Lake and Swanson
River National Recreational, Skilak Wildlife Recreation Area, four Research
Natural Areas, and the Kenai River, may have special considerations and
Wildlife - The potential for the proposed activity to
interfere with or attract wildlife, or its potential for causing dangerous
interactions between wildlife and humans, will be carefully examined and may
result in modification or denial of the proposed activity.
Group size - Total group size for permitted commercial recreational
activities may be limited for groups on foot, float trips, or other activities.
These numbers include guides. Other Special Use Permit holders such as
scientific groups are limited to personnel directly involved in program
What type of permit
is of interest to you?
Sport fishing Guide
Upper Kenai River Sportfishing Guide
Air Taxi Operator and Transporter
Scientific or Geological studies
All other proposed activities.