About the Refuge

Moose cow and calf crossing river

Sunlight slants through the yellow-gold leaves of a birch forest; hundreds of geese take flight from wetland lakes; a moose with velvet antlers wades through pond lilies. Welcome to the Innoko National Wildlife Refuge, one of America’s most remote landscapes.

The Innoko Refuge typifies wilderness. With no inhabited human settlements, no roads, and a lack of easy access to the Refuge, human visitors are few and far between. However, an abundance of summer migrant and year-round resident wildlife calls the Innoko Refuge home.

Each spring and summer, thousands of waterfowl come to nest and molt on the plentiful wetland lakes, creeks, and rivers that make the Innoko Refuge one of the largest staging areas for migrating waterfowl in Alaska. Moose, bear, fish, waterfowl, berries, as well as other plants and animals provide valuable subsistence resources for communities along the Yukon River, which forms the western border of the Refuge. Recreational opportunities abound and difficult access ensures a chance to experience unparalleled solitude.

Innoko brochure map

Refuge Purpose 

The Innoko National Wildlife Refuge was one of several Alaskan refuges established by the Alaska National Interest Lands Conservation Act (ANILCA), which became law on December 2, 1980. ANILCA established the refuge in two units totaling 4.6 million acres. The northern unit of the Refuge (also called Kaiyah Flats) is 751,000 acres; the larger southern unit (depicted in the map above) comprises 3.85 million acres.

The primary purposes for which the Innoko National Wildlife Refuge was established, and shall be managed:

1. to conserve fish and wildlife populations and habitats in their natural diversity including, but not limited to, waterfowl, peregrine falcons, other migratory birds, black bear, moose, furbearers, and other mammals and salmon;

2. to fulfill the international treaty obligations of the United States with respect to fish and wildlife and their habitats;

3. to provide the opportunity for continued subsistence uses by local residents;

4. to ensure water quality and necessary water quantity within the refuge.