U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service logo A Unit of the National Wildlife Refuge System
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National Wildlife Refuge

Travelers typically use rafts, canoes, and kayaks to float the upper section of the Nowitna River
101 Front St.
P.O. Box 287
Galena, AK   99741
E-mail: nowitna@fws.gov
Phone Number: 907-656-1231
Visit the Refuge's Web Site:
Canoeist on the Nowitna River
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Continued . . .

Subsistence activities such as moose hunting, fishing, berry collecting and trapping for furs continue on the Refuge to this day.

Many Native camps along the Yukon River (the Refuge's northern boundary) have disappeared since Russians first made contact with the Koyukon people in 1837. Gold strikes attracted prospectors in the early 1900's, but few stayed after that boom went bust, and miners abandoned most settlements adjacent to the Refuge. The present day villages of Ruby and Tanana lie just outside the Refuge boundary. Traces of abandoned settlements such as Kokrines and Birches may still be found adjacent to the refuge on the banks of the Yukon River. Fur trapping has a long, colorful history on the Refuge. Travelers on the Nowitna River can imagine the days when native families spent winters trapping and came downriver in springtime, their handmade boats loaded with dogs and the winter catch of furs. Some families continue to trap and live a subsistence lifestyle by special permit on the Refuge.

More than 2 million acres of wetlands, forests and tundra were set aside by Congress in 1980 when it created the Nowitna National Wildlife Refuge. Not only are the rich lands and waters, wildlife and plants conserved on the Refuge, but also a way of life. Here, future generations will have the opportunity to hunt, fish, trap, and enjoy the untrammeled wilderness as people have for thousands of years.

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