National Wildlife Refuge
|6 Main Street
PO Box 270
Dillingham, AK 99576
Phone Number: 907-842-1063
|Visit the Refuge's Web Site:
|Pacific Walrus find sanctuary on Togiak at their largest haulout on a National Wildlife Refuge.|
Togiak Refuge is involved in three environmental education camps for local students: the Cape Peirce Marine Science Camp, the Nushagak Peninsula Caribou Camp and the Bristol Bay Salmon Camp. These provide area youth with opportunities to work with biologists and other experts in field locations, learning how data is collected and used. They help foster an appreciation for the outdoors and encourage students who are interested in natural resource careers. In addition, local Yup'ik elders are invited to be a part of the camps and share their knowledge of the traditional uses of the resources, conservation methods and survival skills.
Another important education effort is the Alaska Waterfowl Calendar program. This is a calendar of student artwork and literature focused on a theme of waterfowl conservation. Refuge staff visit local classrooms to explain how to submit entries for the calendar and to teach about waterfowl species in need of special conservation efforts. Classroom visits take place at other times as well, covering various topics. Togiak Refuge's education program also includes working with teachers to provide information and materials, and celebrating events including National Fishing Week and National Wildlife Refuge Week.
With 1,500 miles of streams and rivers, and over 500 lakes larger than 25 acres, Togiak Refuge offers some of the finest remote sportfishing in the world. The Kanektok, Goodnews, and Togiak rivers are among the most productive destinations for refuge anglers. Chinook salmon (king), sockeye salmon (red), chum salmon (dog), pink salmon (humpy), coho salmon (silver), Dolly Varden char, arctic char, arctic grayling, rainbow trout, lake trout and northern pike are all available in refuge waters at certain times of the year.
Some archaeologists estimate that humans have inhabited the lands that are now Togiak National Wildlife Refuge for more than 5,000 years. If so, the area's superb hunting was probably one of the factors that attracted those first residents, and the refuge continues to offer excellent subsistence and sport hunting opportunities today. More than 150,000 caribou from two different herds are found on Togiak Refuge seasonally, and the refuge also supports moose, brown bears and wolves. In addition, hunters pursue various waterfowl species and upland game birds. Hunting guide services are available for some species, and unguided hunting is also popular. Nonresident brown bear hunters are required to use the services of a registered guide.
Since Togiak Refuge is a remote roadless area, much of which is set aside as a designated Wilderness, there are no interpretive displays and only a few informational signs on the refuge. We have had to find alternate ways to interpret refuge resources to visitors. One important tool we use is a weekly radio program called Bristol Bay Field Notes, which has an audience of 16,000 people spread over 45 remote Alaska communities.
Other important interpretive tools are a variety of printed materials, which are used in mailings and as handouts. Interpretive displays have also been placed in local airports which serve as the portal of entry for most visitors to the area. Electronic versions of many of our printed materials can be accessed through our website.
Before non-guided visitors fly out to the refuge, they listen to a brief presentation by refuge staff of information about what to expect on their trip. Refuge Rangers also contact many groups in the field. During these contacts, staff take advantage of the opportunity to discuss the resources of the refuge with the public.
Given the refuge's healthy wildlife populations and vast amounts of open space, it's not unusual to see animals in their natural environment. Most visitors to the refuge travel on waterways, and thus they most often observe animals that frequent the surrounding habitat, including brown bears, caribou, moose, red foxes, and bald eagles. Birdwatching enthusiasts with sharp eyes and ears will often locate many bird species. However, due to the unpredictable nature of wild animals, their tendency to avoid human encounters when possible, and the massive size of the refuge, there is no guarantee of observing any particular species.
Cape Peirce, on the extreme western edge of Bristol Bay, is an area of rocky cliffs and inaccessible beaches. Visitors have the opportunity to see Pacific walrus, spotted and harbor seals, and a variety of nesting seabirds including horned and tufted puffins, common murres, pelagic cormorants and black-legged kittiwakes. Visitation to Cape Peirce is limited due to the sensitivity of these wildlife species. Visitors must apply for a trip permit through Togiak Refuge.
From sheer glacier-etched mountains to vast expanses of wetland tundra, Togiak Refuge is blessed with scenic beauty. Photographers are drawn by our wide variety of terrain as well as by the variety of animals. There are also many interesting human activities taking place on the refuge, from subsistence users practicing traditional harvest methods to anglers from around the world using the latest high-tech gear. Togiak Refuge is a vast expanse of roadless area, which presents a challenge to visitors. Opportunities for photographers vary with the seasons, weather, location and luck!
For more information on Leave No Trace, visit the Leave No Trace Center for Outdoor Ethics Web site. (http://www.lnt.org)
Refuge lands are open to the public at all times. The refuge office in Dillingham is open from 8:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m., Monday through Friday.
There are no visitor's fees charged anywhere on the refuge.
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