Birds are sensitive during the nesting season. Vegetation clearing, ground disturbance, heavy wake near shorelines and other site construction and recreational activities can destroy eggs or nestlings or cause nest abandonment. If you encounter an active nest, leave it be and give it space until young hatch and depart the area. Do not destroy eggs, chicks, or adults of wild bird species. Learn about the laws that govern migratory birds in Alaska including possible exceptions for subsistence gathering. More information on avoiding waterbird harassment and timing recommendations for construction activities to minimize impacts to nesting birds.

Coastal Plain Draft Supplemental Environmental Impact Statement

We're working with the Burueau of Land Management (BLM) on the Coastal Plain Draft Supplemental Environmental Impact Statement (SEIS). The public comment period ended on November 7, 2023. More information, including Draft Statement. (BLM).

Arctic National Wildlife Refuge sustains people, wildlife, and fish in the northeastern corner of Alaska, a vast landscape of rich cultural traditions and thriving ecological diversity. It is located on the traditional homelands of the Iñupiat and Gwichʼin peoples.

Approximately the size of South Carolina, the refuge has no roads or facilities. The lands and waters are a critical home to migratory and resident wildlife, have unique recreational values, and contain the largest designated Wilderness within the National Wildlife Refuge System. Many people may know of the refuge by an abbreviation: ANWR (pronounced an-whar). The full name reminds us that the refuge is part of our national heritage, designated for wildlife conservation.

Boat-based polar bear viewing on waters of Arctic Refuge around Kaktovik is currently unavailable.

Visit Us

Paddling a river in Arctic Refuge

Interactive map of Arctic Refuge.

A trip to Arctic National Wildlife Refuge can be an inspiring, life-changing experience. Whether you want to photograph, fish, hunt, challenge yourself with travel in the backcountry, or just spend quiet time in an immense and humbling landscape, this is a truly remarkable place.

All refuge lands are open to the public, and there are no visitor fees or specific entry points. Visitors plan and arrange their own transportation, trip locations, and itineraries; careful preparation, and self-reliance are a must. There are no roads, established trails, or facilities of any type within the refuge's 19 million acres. Most bring their own food and gear, and access the refuge by air taxi, flying in from nearby communities. First-time visitors may wish to participate in a guided trip. Even experienced visitors may wish to use the support of commercial recreational services (see Tours for information about authorized recreational guides, hunting guides, and air taxi operators). Although there is no cell phone coverage, satellite phones do work in many areas. Explore the Activities section and see Rules and Policies for additional helpful trip planning information.

Location and Contact Information

      Our Organization

      A bright blue sky obstructed by fluffy white clouds reflected off of a stream shot from inside a kayak
      The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service manages an unparalleled network of public lands and waters called the National Wildlife Refuge System. With more than 570 refuges spanning the country, this system protects iconic species and provides some of the best wildlife viewing opportunities on Earth.

      Our Species

      Muskox in Arctic Refuge

      Arctic Refuge is home to all three species of North American bears (black, brown, and polar), and to the Porcupine caribou herd, the Central Arctic caribou herd, Dall sheep, muskox, wolves, and wolverines. More than 200 species of birds from all 50 states and across the world flock to Arctic Refuge to nest, rear their young, and feed. Dolly Varden char thrive here, including a relatively small resident form and a large salmon-sized anadromous form (thanks to perennial springs that stay unfrozen year-round). 

      Our Library

      a line drawing of a sea otter holding her pup
      Download these digital coloring pages created by Alaskan artists to learn more about wildlife and conservation, while creating works of art.

      Projects and Research