Highly pathogenic avian influenza & other frequently asked bird health questions

The highly pathogenic avian influenza is causing illness and death in waterfowl, shorebirds, gulls, and birds of prey, including eagles. If you observe an injured, sick or dead (when there is no apparent cause) eagle or other wild bird, please report it to the Sick and Dead Bird Hotline: 1-866-527-3358.  

The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service is working closely with partners to document where the virus is occurring in wild birds, the bird species that are affected, and determine when, where and by whom action should be taken, including the collection of samples.  

Learn More: Highly Pathogenic Avian Influenza and Migratory Birds in Alaska | U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service (fws.gov) 

Visit Us

Togiak National Wildlife Refuge is situated in southwest Alaska between Kuskokwim Bay and Bristol Bay. It is bordered on the north by Yukon Delta National Wildlife Refuge, and on the east by Wood-Tikchik State Park. Togiak Refuge is roadless; primary access is via air or water. The Togiak Refuge is open to visitors year round, but some areas are restricted seasonally or require special permits. The eastern boundary of the refuge is about 350 air miles southwest of Anchorage. Primary access to Togiak Refuge itself is by chartered aircraft. Dillingham is the hub for many of the air taxis that have permits to operate within the Refuge, although some air taxis fly from Bethel and King Salmon. Typically, air taxis will drop off passengers and gear and return at a designated time and place for pick up. Our main office is located in Dillingham, Alaska. 

Activities

Guided public use is managed through a complex permitting program that includes air and water taxi services, sport fishing, big game hunting, and wildlife viewing. Unguided access is managed through public contacts and a force of Refuge Rangers who patrol more than 200 miles of rivers. In total, Togiak receives more than 20,000 visitor days per year.

We recommend you leave a detailed trip plan with a trusted friend or family member, as well as any air taxi or guide you are working with, in order to facilitate search and rescue efforts, if necessary. 

Rules and Policies

Trespassing

Togiak National Wildlife Refuge lands are adjacent to many private lands, including Native Corporation lands and Native Allotments. Visitors must be aware of these lands and avoid trespassing. Signs will not always be present to indicate private lands. There are several indicators to help you identify private lands. For more information, see the land ownership section of our website.

Commercial Activities

It is illegal to perform commercial activities on the refuge without a special use permit. This includes fish/hunt guiding, air taxi, flight seeing, and motion picture filming. Some permits for limited resources, such as guided float trips on rivers, are issued on a limited entry basis. Others, such as air taxi permits, are not limited at this time. Businesses and guides are responsible for obtaining and renewing permits. Visitors who hire commercial operators during their visits to Togiak Refuge should be sure that the operators have current permits for the activities they are conducting.

Pilots

Pilots are asked to contact Togiak refuge prior to visiting to learn about regulations and other relevant topics. The operation of aircraft at altitudes and in flight paths resulting in the herding, harassment, hazing, or driving of wildlife is prohibited under provisions of the Federal Airborne Hunting Act, Marine Mammals Protection Act, and other Federal laws. While flying over Togiak Refuge, the Federal Aviation Administration recommends that all aircraft, except for take off and landing, maintain a minimum altitude of 2,000 feet above ground level.

Marine Mammal Parts Tagging

The Marine Mammal Protection Act of 1972 requires that all marine mammal bony tissues be tagged by a representative of the U.S. government. Bony tissues of marine mammals include walrus tusks, marine mammal skulls, vertebrae, rib bones and other bony tissues. These regulations differ for Native Alaskans and non-Natives. Be sure to thoroughly understand the regulations that apply to you as an individual. For more information visit the Marine Mammals Office Marking, Tagging, and Reporting page. Staff at the refuge are authorized to tag marine mammal parts. This tagging is free and is available at our office during regular office hours. We can also direct you to other authorized tagging personnel in your home community, where applicable.

Visiting Cape Peirce

Cape Peirce, a seabird nesting and marine mammal haulout area on Togiak National Wildlife Refuge, is a special and sensitive environment, please contact Togiak Refuge. We recommend you contact the refuge office prior to visiting Cape Peirce. We can provide visitor's with information to assist in trip planning and to help ensure your visit is safe and follows regulations. Learn more about approach and viewing guidelines for Pacific Walrus.

Cultural Courtesies

When traveling in the Refuge, please be sensitive to the needs and customs of the local people. Respect subsistence fish nets and camp sites. If you find any artifacts or archaeological sites, let them remain in place for others to enjoy. Removing artifacts is illegal. 

Locations

Togiak National Wildlife Refuge Office
6 Main Street Dillingham, AK 99576-0270

Stop in at our office in Dillingham for informational brochures, to look at mounted wildlife specimens, or to ask questions.