Resource Management


The Alaska Native Claims Settlement Act (ANILCA) established Togiak National Wildlife Refuge.

The four major purposes of Togiak National Wildlife Refuge set forth by ANILCA are:

  1. to conserve fish and wildlife populations and habitats in their natural diversity including salmon, marine birds and mammals, migratory birds, and large mammals 
  2. to fulfill international treaty obligations 
  3. to provide for continued subsistence use by local residents 
  4. to ensure necessary water quality and quantity within the Refuge 

Managers on Togiak Refuge don't spend much time moving dirt, modifying water levels, burning the woods, or fighting exotic invaders, tasks that often consume the time of refuge staffers in the Lower 48. Mother Nature handles most of those activities here. Management consists primarily of keeping a finger on the pulse of the ecosystem and managing human uses to ensure the continuation of the pristine conditions that have existed over the millennia. To this end, the refuge staff monitor the populations of a host of terrestrial, aquatic and marine fish and wildlife species and their habitats, as well as environmental conditions.

For example, providing subsistence opportunities for the residents of eight local villages is a refuge priority. Monitoring subsistence species gives the refuge manager the information necessary to manage wildlife resources for the continuing benefit of subsistence users. 

Guided public use is managed through a complex permitting program that includes air and water taxi services, sport fishing, big game hunting, and wildlife viewing. Unguided access is managed through public contacts and a force of Refuge Rangers who patrol more than 200 miles of rivers. In total, Togiak Refuge receives a public use level of more than 20,000 visitor days per year.

 The refuge's outreach program is the key to gaining public support for management activities. Efforts include three environmental education camps, 80 to 100 classroom visits per year in 14 communities, a weekly radio program, teacher workshops, interpretive programs at the local airport and village public meetings.