Resource Management

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Tetlin National Wildlife Refuge’s management challenge is to continue this country’s conservation legacy by ensuring present and future resource protection and encouraging long-term stewardship. The Refuge has three main programs: biological, fire management, and public use.



The biological program centers around conserving and maintaining the refuge's fish and wildlife populations in their natural diversity. Refuge habitats have not been significantly impacted by human activities. Therefore, the biological programs focus on baseline inventories and monitoring, as well as studies of wildlife populations. These include frequent surveys of waterfowl, landbirds, shorebirds, raptors, small mammals, moose, caribou, and furbearers. Other research, often crafted to answer specific questions, has focused on whitefish, landbirds, loons, swans, osprey, lynx, wolves, bears, moose, caribou, wood frogs, and refuge water quality. Refuge management plans identify actions to be taken to conserve and protect these resources. These efforts help staff meet the goals of managing biological diversity on refuge lands.

Special subsistence hunts are established for local residents. The Refuge participates in local traditional ecological knowledge workshops and works with local villages to perpetuate traditional resource knowledge that helps sustain their culture.


The fire management program’s primary function is maintaining the Refuge’s habitats in their natural diversity through the management of naturally occurring fires and prescribed burns. Managed wildfire is allowed to continue its natural role in contributing to plant and animal diversity and environmental health.

Prescribed fire and other mechanical methods are used to reduce fuels near Native villages and high priority sites and to enhance wildlife habitat. This ensures that key areas are more defendable against wildfire. Pre and post vegetation sampling, fuel consumption studies and weather monitoring are integral parts of the fire program.

Public Use

Numerous opportunities for recreation, education and interpretation are provided through the public use program. Displays and interpretive presentations at the Refuge Visitor Center, evening campfire programs Deadman Lake Campground, classes, camps and special activities for youngsters offer enjoyable learning experiences to traveling and local visitors.

Comprehensive Conservation Plan

In September 2008, we completed a revised Comprehensive Conservation Plan for the Tetlin National Wildlife Refuge. This plan provides broad policy guidance and management direction for the Tetlin Refuge for the next 15 years, to ensure that management actions and uses are compatible with Refuge purposes, the mission of the National Wildlife Refuge System, and comply with other legal mandates. The plan also provides a description of the Refuge's resources and defines long-term management goals and objectives toward which refuge management activities are directed.