Press Release
U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service Withdraws Kenai National Wildlife Refuge Proposed Rule
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The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service today announced the withdrawal of a proposed rule that was published in 2020 to revise the Kenai National Wildlife Refuge public use regulations. The proposed rule, if finalized, would have allowed the harvest of brown bears over bait; removed a permit requirement for trapping; allowed the discharge of firearms along the Kenai and Russian rivers; increased access for the public using bicycles and game carts; and allowed the use of snowmobiles, all-terrain vehicles and utility task vehicles on certain lakes during periods of adequate snow and ice cover. 

The Service received approximately 45,000 public comments regarding the proposed changes to the regulations, including new information and literature not previously considered. Based on the extensive public comments in opposition to all or part of the proposed rule, the new information and scientific literature, the Service has determined that the best course of action is to withdraw the proposed rule.  

Public use regulations are intended to ensure safe, high-quality opportunities for public use, consistent with the Service’s responsibilities to conserve fish, wildlife and habitats in their natural diversity, protect cultural resources, steward designated wilderness and provide continued opportunities for subsistence uses.  

The Kenai National Wildlife Refuge is Alaska’s most visited national wildlife refuge national wildlife refuge
A national wildlife refuge is typically a contiguous area of land and water managed by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service  for the conservation and, where appropriate, restoration of fish, wildlife and plant resources and their habitats for the benefit of present and future generations of Americans.

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and provides countless opportunities for hunting, fishing, hiking, camping, river rafting, canoeing and wildlife viewing and photography. The Service is committed to continuing to provide safe, high-quality opportunities for public use, consistent with the Service’s many other responsibilities. 

For more information on the proposed rule and additional details, visit, Docket No.: FWS-R7-NWRS-2017-0058. The notice withdrawing the rule will be officially available on March 7, 2023. 

The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service works with others to conserve, protect, and enhance fish, wildlife, plants, and their habitats for the continuing benefit of the American people. For more information, visit

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