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.

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By Air

Like much of rural Alaska, the Innoko Refuge is not accessible by car since there are no roads in this part of the country. Access is typically by small airplanes equipped for water landings (floatplanes) during the spring, summer, and fall. Winter access is by small ski planes, snowmobile or dogsled, when ice and snow conditions are adequate. Most visitors reach the refuge using privately owned aircraft, commercial guiding & outfitting services, or commercial air taxi operators. Many of the outfitting services and air taxis operate out of the village of McGrath, which is served by commercial airlines out of Anchorage. For more information on current outfitters and transporters, please contact us. 

By River

Accessing the refuge by boat requires a little more planning. It is a 111-mile boat trip from the mouth of the Innoko River to the southern refuge boundary. During high water, boaters can also enter from the Yukon River through Holikachuk Slough. From the east, boaters can access the upper Innoko River at the abandoned mining town of Ophir, though low water may be encountered in late summer. Take a look at our refuge map for more detailed information. Watercraft transportable by small aircraft, such as inflatable rafts and folding kayaks, can be used for transportation within the refuge and offer unique opportunity for wildlife viewing.


Innoko National Wildlife Refuge Headquarters
101 Front StreetGalena,AK99741

Innoko National Wildlife Refuge is managed together with Koyukuk and Nowitna refuges as a complex. A complex is an administrative grouping of refuges with a shared staff and resources. The complex is headquartered in Galena.