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Travel Advisory for Eastern Beaufort Sea Coast

Attention Arctic Refuge Visitors: Due to increased risk of polar bear encounters, avoid hiking, camping, or paddling along barrier islands and coastline.

Due to low seasonal ice conditions there are currently reports of increased polar bear sightings along the Eastern Beaufort Sea Coast between Cross Island and the Canadian border, including all of the coastal areas of Arctic National Wildlife Refuge and surrounding the village of Kaktovik. Polar bears are expected to continue to use these coastal areas through October.

Close encounters with polar bears may lead to the injury or death of people or bears. If you have plans to hike, camp, or paddle along the barrier islands and/or Beaufort Sea coastline, you are strongly encouraged to alter plans to avoid these areas.

Full Travel Advisory


Please be aware that there will be increased ground and air activity across the 1002 portion of the Arctic Refuge's coastal plain this year. This increased activity is related to the collection of data prior to oil and gas lease sales included in the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act of 2017.

The following links will take you directly to content within our web site. 

For All Visitors:

Make sure you're not bringing Alien Invaders with you!

For Polar Bear Viewers:

Pledging to help polar bears helps us all (380 kb PDF)
List of commercial guides who lead Polar bear viewing trips 
Avoiding disturbance while viewing polar bears (220 kb PDF)
Best practices for polar bear viewing (390 kb PDF)
Best practices for polar bear viewing (German) (200 kb PDF)
Best practices for polar bear viewing (Japanese) (350 kb PDF)
Kaktovik community information: Street map and list of services. (2.1 mb PDF)
Kaktovik guidelines for community visitors (see first page) (200 kb PDF)
Kaktovik guidelines for community visitors (German) (see first page) (200 kb PDF)
Kaktovik guidelines for community visitors (Japanese) (see first page) (350 kb PDF)

When Visiting Polar Bear Country:

Traveling safely in polar bear habitat along the coast (300 kb PDF)
Human-Polar Bear Safety and Interaction Plans (140 kb PDF)

About Polar Bear Viewing Management:

Managing Polar Bear Viewing for the Future (310 kb PDF file)
Polar Bear Viewing Highlights from the 2016 Season (7 mb PDF file)
Polar Bear Viewing Summary Report for 2015-2016, presented in conjunction with 2011-2014 data (1 mb PDF file)
Guided Recreational Polar Bear Viewing: 2011-2014 Summary Report (610 kb PDF)
Polar Bear Source Book of viewing information (5.8 mb PDF)

About Polar Bear Biology:

Polar Bears in Arctic Refuge
Polar bear denning locations and habitats 
Kaktovik guidelines for community visitors (see second page) (200 kb PDF) 
Kaktovik guidelines for community visitors (German) (see second page) (200 kb PDF) 
Kaktovik guidelines for community visitors (Japanese) (see second page) (350 kb PDF)

About Community-Based Polar Bear Conservation:

Polar Bear podcast This 12 minute audio recording is a conversation with Jennifer Reed, Arctic Refuge Public Use Manager, about managing polar bear viewing, and relationships between Refuge staff and the community of Kaktovik. (4.3 mb mp3 file)
Kaktovik Youth Ambassadors: Youth leadership in polar bear management (520 kb PDF)
Timeline of collaborative polar bear management (100 kb PDF)
Community-based conservation for polar bears

For Commercial Guides for Polar Bear Viewing:

Polar Bear Source Book of viewing information (5.8 mb PDF)
Requirements for motor boat businesses and operators for polar bear viewing (250 kb PDF)
Permit information for Polar Bear Viewing Guides and/or Water Taxi Operators 
Best practices for polar bear viewing (390 kb PDF)
Avoiding disturbance whileviewing polar bears (220 kb PDF)

Additional Polar Bear Information from the Office of Marine Mammal Management in Anchorage, Alaska

Alaska-wide polar bear viewing guidelines (160 kb PDF)
Guidelines for Commercial or Educational Photography and Filming of Polar Bears (530 kb PDF)
Guidelines for drone use near polar bears and other marine mammals (100 kb PDF)
What to do if you find a dead polar bear (6.2 mb PDF)
Minimizing polar bear and human interactions (4.5 mb PDF)
Polar bear harvest management in Alaska (2 mb PDF)
Ongoing polar bear research in Alaska (1.5 mb PDF)
Polar bears and humans: Safety guidelines (2 mb PDF)
Polar bear status, threats and management (2.2 mb PDF)  
Polar bear information

Using the Refuge:

Plan your visit
Things to know before you come
Things to do before you come
Additional resources in gateway communities
Visitor Activities
Common visitor activities
You're up for the challenge ... Right?
Immersed in wilderness
Minimizing your impacts (400 kb PDF)
Traveling safely in polar bear habitat along the coast (300 kb PDF)
Other resources for trip planning
Be aware of non-Refuge lands within the Refuge boundary
Prepare your trip emergency plan
Obtain map resources
High resolution image of quad maps covering the Refuge (5.9 mb JPEG)
Commercial airlines to gateway communities
A Sense of the Refuge booklet (1.1 mb PDF)
Day hiking in Atigun Gorge (260 lb PDF)
Weather forecasts for the Refuge
Invasive plants (235 kb PDF)
Subsistence users
Law enforcement
Regulations
Rules, regulations, and acts
Examples of activities generally not allowed on Refuges
Airboat restrictions (320 kb PDF)
Sheep hunting restrictions in Game Management Unit 25A (400 kb PDF)
Protecting archaeological resources
Recreational Users Survey 

Visitors seeking commercial guides and flight services:

Recreational guides
Hunting guides
Polar bear viewing guides
Air operators

Commercial use requirements (includes guide businesses):

Permits Overview (businesses, research, etc.) 
Recreational Guiding and Educational Group Guiding
Polar Bear Viewing Guides and/or Water Taxi Operators
Air Transporter/Taxi Operators
Videography/Photography
Scientific Research
Information about motor boat businesses and operators for polar bear viewing (250 kb PDF)

Species information:

Bird list
Mammal list
Fish list
Butterfly list
Caribou migration

Off-Refuge activities:

Gateway communities
Geocaching - an off-Refuge odyssey
Kaktovik visitor information pamphlet (2.1 mb PDF)

Non-Refuge links:

Bear safety information (Alaska Department of Fish and Game, and Alaska State Parks)
Kaktovik
Fort Yukon
Dalton Highway
Arctic Interagency Visitor Center - Coldfoot
Tips for Dalton Highway hunters
Fairbanks
General public lands information (trip planning help and bear barrel loans) - Fairbanks
University of Alaska Fairbanks - Outdoor Adventures - Fairbanks
Morris Thompson Cultural and Visitor Center - Fairbanks
Museum of the North - Fairbanks
Georgeson Botanical Garden - Fairbanks
Large animal research station - Fairbanks
Creamer's Field Migratory Waterfowl Refuge - Fairbanks
Introduction to geocaching
Weather information from NOAA Alaska (forecasts, climate data, hydrology/river forecasts, etc.)