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.

Koyukuk Refuge lies within the extensive floodplain of the Koyukuk River of interior Alaska, about 270 miles west of Fairbanks and contains a unique geological feature: the Nogahabara Sand Dunes. The refuge's rich wetlands combine with lowland boreal forests of spruce, birch and aspen to support a diversity of wildlife, from healthy numbers of moose populations to large waterfowl populations from four continental flyways.

Location and Contact Information

      About Us

      Homeland of the Koyukon Athabascans, Koyukuk National Wildlife Refuge was established in 1980 with the Alaska National Interest Lands Conservation Act (ANILCA) was enacted. Located about 270 miles west of Fairbanks, access to the refuge is limited to air and river travel. The refuge contains 14 rivers and more than 15,000 lakes. Found within the boreal forest of the refuge, a unique geological feature is found- the Nogahabara Sand Dunes. The roughly circular active dune field spans about 6 miles in diameter, and was formed thousands of years ago when wind-blown glacial sand was deposited at the base of the Nulato Hills. Various wildlife call the refuge home including moose, brown bear, black bear, lynx, coyotes, red foxes, wolves, wolverines, beavers, and thousands of migratory waterfowl. 

      What We Do

      We work to conserve fish and wildlife populations and habitats in their natural diversity including, but not limited to waterfowl, raptors and other migratory birds, furbearers, moose, caribou (including participation in coordinated ecological studies and management of the Western Arctic caribou herd), furbearers, and salmon. We also work to fulfill the international treaty obligations of the United States with respect to fish and wildlife and their habitats. The refuge works to provide the opportunity for continued subsistence uses by local residents. Lastly, we work on water quality and necessary water quantity within the refuge.

      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.

      Get Involved

      So much of our work depends on volunteers, Friends, and partnerships.

      Projects and Research