National Wildlife Refuge
|Ski Hill Road
P.O. Box 2139
Soldotna, AK 99669
Phone Number: 907-262-7021; toll free 1-877-285-5628
|Visit the Refuge's Web Site:
|Rugged mountains of the Kenai National Wildlife Refuge.|
Kenai National Wildlife Refuge
Alaska's Kenai Peninsula is, in geologic terms, still quite "young," since its entire land mass was covered by glacial ice as recently as 10,000 years ago. Much of that frozen blanket still exists today, in the form of the more than 800-square mile Harding Ice Field, which the refuge "shares" with Kenai Fjords National Park.
The grudging withdrawal of the Harding Ice Field has helped to make the lands of the Kenai National Wildlife Refuge a "miniature Alaska." Today, the refuge includes examples of every major Alaska habitat type. The refuge is an Alaska in miniature in its diversity of wildlife, as well. Sport fish bring hundreds of thousands of visitors to the peninsula each year. Eager anglers can pursue chinook, sockeye, coho and pink salmon; as well as Dolly Varden char, rainbow trout, and arctic grayling. The refuge is also home to brown and black bears, caribou, Dall sheep, mountain goats, wolves, lynx, wolverines, eagles and thousands of shorebirds and waterfowl, not to mention the mighty Alaska-Yukon moose that the refuge was originally established (as the Kenai National Moose Range) to protect.
Today. The Kenai National Wildlife Refuge's wealth of habitat, scenery and wildlife draws a half a million visitors a year, more than any other wildlife refuge in Alaska.
Getting There . . .
Driving from Anchorage, take the Seward Highway south to the Sterling Highway; the eastern refuge boundary is at milepost 55 of the Sterling Highway. Another five miles from the boundary is a Visitor Contact Station (open from Memorial Day through Labor Day) and the west entrance to the Skilak Wildlife Recreation Area. Continuing on to Soldotna will bring you to the refuge visitor center and headquarters, which is found by taking a left onto Funny River Road, then turning right (before the building supply store) onto Ski Hill Road.
The refuge often called "Alaska in miniature" is home to a wide variety of wildlife including moose, eagles, brown and black bears, lynx, wolves, and trumpeter swans. Learn More>>
The cultural history of the Kenai Peninsula spans 10,000 years; there are five distinct cultural traditions and both Indian and Eskimo occupations. Learn More>>
Kenai NWR now featured on video DVD
"AMERICA'S WILDEST PLACES" Volume 1
See wildlife up close and personal from grizzly bear and whooping cranes to red wolves and bald eagles. For more information, click on the photograph of the DVD cover.
Refuge management programs on Wilderness lands are generally limited to wildlife surveys, censuses, and monitoring. Non-wilderness areas have seen more active management, primarily through the use of prescribed fire and mechanical vegetation crushing to encourage the growth of more desirable browse for moose. The refuge is also actively involved in wildlife census and survey work through telemetry. Wolves, lynx, caribou and brown bear are species which are captured and radio-collared in order to track migration patterns, reveal locations of important food sources, and monitor to evaluate the potential impacts of human activities throughout the Kenai Peninsula, both on and off refuge lands.
Refuge staff are also studying the vegetation history of the area in order to better understand the effects of both man-caused and natural impacts, including human development, natural fires and insect infestations. Perhaps the greatest challenge is management of human activities and their associated impacts in order to minimize disturbance to wildlife and their habitats.