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

There are no roads on the Refuge, access is limited to small aircraft, watercraft, snowmobiles, and dogsled.
101 12th Ave.
Fairbanks, AK   99701
E-mail: kanuti_refuge@fws.gov
Phone Number: 907-456-0329
Visit the Refuge's Web Site:
Float plane on Kanuti Lake
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  Wildlife and Habitat

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Kanuti Refuge is composed in large part by boreal forest. This forest type extends around the Arctic region, and comprises one third of the planet's total forest system. Overlaying discontinuous areas of permafrost, this forest is a mosaic of successional plant communities sensitive to varying environmental conditions. Black and white spruce dominate the tree species, with patchy areas containing alder, birch and willows. The boreal forests of Kanuti Refuge are interspersed with numerous water bodies ranging from rivers and streams meandering through the Kanuti Flats, to lakes, ponds and wetland areas spread as far as the eye can see. A small portion of Kanuti Refuge is another ecosystem altogether, tundra. These ecosystems support a variety of specialized plants adapted to withstand the frigid Arctic temperatures and short growing seasons. Although Kanuti Refuge receives little precipitation each year, the underlying permafrost inhibits drainage of surface water. The result is a wet, soggy landscape, where even a quarter inch of elevation change influences the species growing.

Kanuti Refuge is home to over 130 species of birds, 30 species of mammals, and 16 species of fish. On Kanuti Refuge predator/prey relationships function as they have for centuries. Look closely for the small mammals of the refuge, including snowshoe hares and yellow-cheeked voles. Watch moose browse on willow branches and the occasional caribou graze on lichens in the winter, while wolves and lynxes hunt for their prey. This intact ecosystem welcomes visitors with numerous opportunities for wildlife sightings. Be sure to observe animals from a distance and allow them to go about their business.

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