Realty & Natural Resources
Alaska Region   

Refuge Boundaries

The passage of the Alaska National Interest Lands Conservation Act on December 2, 1980, nearly tripled the size of the National Wildlife Refuge System in Alaska. The Act created nine new National Wildlife Refuges and expanded seven others in Alaska. The boundaries of the refuges are shown on the Alaska Boundary Series of 1:250,000 scale maps published by the U.S. Geological Survey in 1980. Legal descriptions of the boundaries are published in the Federal Register, Volume 48, Number 38, February 24, 1983, pages 7890-8029.

The Mapping Branch has digitized the external boundaries of all National Wildlife Refuges and NWR Wilderness areas within Alaska. The Federal Register legal descriptions and official 1:63,360 scale boundary maps were used to compile the digital boundaries. These boundaries are available for download at the links shown below.

Format:       ESRI shapefile
Datum:        NAD83
Projection:  Alaska Albers Equal Area

Click here to download Refuge Boundaries (13 MB)   Click here to download Wilderness Boundaries (6 MB)
Graphic of Alaska National Wildlife Refuge boundaries   Graphic of Alaska National Wildlife Refuge wilderness boundaries
View Metadata   View Metadata


Land Status

The National Wildlife Refuges in Alaska contain both public and private land. Using Bureau of Land Management Master Title Plats as the source, Division of Realty cartographers have digitized all public and private parcels for all 16 National Wildlife Refuges in Alaska. This includes both the surface and subsurface estates.

The downloadable land status file is a ZIP compressed XML file that is compatible with ArcGIS 10. To use this file, first unzip it and use ArcGIS 10 ArcCatalog to create a new, empty file geodatabase, then import the unzipped XML file into the new geodatabase. Use the text links below to download the land status file. This is a large, multi-megabyte file, so please be patient when downloading it.

Symbology layer files are also available for download. These files contain pre-defined symbology for the land status. You can add these layer files to your ArcMap layout, then set the data source to your newly-imported geodatabase. This is an easy way to quickly symbolize the land status based on the type of owner and the conveyance status. Of course, you can always customize the symbology to suit your particular mapping needs.

These land status files will be updated quarterly on January 1, April 1, July 1, and October 1.

Format:                 ESRI geodatabase, exported to an XML file
ArcGIS version:    10.x
Datum:                  NAD83
Projection:            Alaska Albers Equal Area
Current To:          October 22, 2012

Click here to download NWR Land Status (162 MB)
Click here to download Layer File - Surface Estate

Click here to download Layer File - Subsurface Estate
Graphic of NWR land status
View Metadata


Questions regarding the GIS data posted here should be directed to:
Chief, Branch of Mapping Sciences
U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service
1011 E. Tudor Road
Anchorage, AK  99503
(907) 786-3462


This page was last updated: October 22, 2012

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