U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service logo A Unit of the National Wildlife Refuge System
Banner graphic displaying the Fish & Wildlife Service logo and National Wildlife Refuge System tagline

National Wildlife Refuge

Volcanoes simmer in the distance as brown bears wander the shores of the Izembek National Wildlife Refuge
1 Izembek Street
P.O. Box 127
Cold Bay, AK   99571
E-mail: izembek@fws.gov
Phone Number: 907-532-2445
Visit the Refuge's Web Site:
Pavlof volcano during the 1996 eruption
Gray horizontal line
  Recreation and Education Opportunities

Environmental Education
Refuge staff work the with nearby villages and schools in Nelson Lagoon, Sand Point, King Cove, False Pass and Cold Bay to further educate and inform students and residents about local and refuge wildlife and habitats. Numerous programs and activities are conducted in Cold Bay for residents, and particularly for the children of the area. Programs included presentations on endangered Steller's eiders, Alaskan caribou and the mission and purpose of the National Wildlife Refuge System. Through new digital video satellite technology implemented by the Aleutians East Borough, programs at the Cold Bay school were viewed by students in King Cove, False Pass, and Sand Point.

Five species of salmon: silver [coho]; pink [humpback]; sockeye [red]; chum [dog];and chinook [king], fill the waters of the Refuge in a series of runs lasting from mid-summer through fall. Fishing opportunities for salmon are best from August through September. Depending upon location and time of year, lucky anglers can also expect to harvest Dolly Varden char and steelhead trout from refuge and local streams. The annual Silver Salmon Derby is held in Cold Bay every year during the Labor Day weekend. As always, when fishing, be bear-aware! The large coastal brown bears are feeding on the same salmon you're trying to catch!

Izembek's hunting opportunities, particularly for brown bear and waterfowl, are world famous. When salmon are running, brown bear densities can be among the highest recorded; as many as six bears per mile along some streams. Fall waterfowl hunting is spectacular, as well, and hardy wetland enthusiasts can pursue light and dark geese (Canada geese, black brant), dabbling ducks (mallard, pintail), diving ducks, and sea ducks. Ptarmigan are abundant and are year round residents. Izembek is home to approximately 180 species of birds, and of these, there are a wide variety of waterfowl available to hunt. The Southern Alaska Peninsula Caribou Herd is currently at a healthy level (>5400 animals, 2002), and can support human harvest, with both resident and non-resident seasons available. A resident moose season also takes place in December and January, allowing local hunters to harvest one bull.

At Grant Point, overlooking the world famous Izembek Lagoon, the refuge has constructed a small observation building. Through the 360-degree viewing windows, visitors have the opportunity to view a variety of wildlife, including waterfowl, shorebirds, sea otter, seals, and both gray and killer whales. Interpretive panels help the visitor learn more about the variety of species found in the area, as well as about this important marine eelgrass lagoon environment. An interpretive display is also maintained in the Cold Bay airline terminal. A mini-visitor center at the refuge headquarters houses several wildlife displays; and a variety of maps and printed information is available to assist visitors. Refuge staff are always available to answer questions and provide information as needed.

Wildlife Observation
The flocks of waterfowl and abundant bears that attract hunters also lure those who prefer to watch or photograph wildlife. Izembek allows such visitors to pursue their interests while enjoying the experience of a true wilderness adventure in an area of unsurpassed scenic beauty. Backpacking and remote camping can be spectacular. However, caution should always be used in regard to rapidly changing weather conditions. Even during the summer months, high winds and heavy rainstorms are common. And, of course, the entire refuge is bear habitat; visitors should hike and camp accordingly.

From the pristine waters of its lakes and streams, to the looming cone of Shishaldin volcano, to a horizon of barren, glacier-shouldered mountains, Izembek offers the visiting photographer spectacular scenery as well as abundant wildlife. The sharp contrast between tidal wetlands and steep, mountainous terrain afford many photo opportunities. Wandering caribou, bears, and foxes can be photogenic additions to landscape images. Of course, visitors of the Refuge are advised to be aware of the possibility of bear encounters at all times, and to use a long lens, rather than a risky approach, to get that prized bruin close-up.

Leave No Trace
Leave No Trace is a national educational program to inform visitors about reducing the damage caused by outdoor activities, particularly non-motorized recreation. Leave No Trace principles and practices are based on an abiding respect for the natural world and our fellow wildland visitors. We can act on behalf of the places and wildlife that inspire us by adopting the skills and ethics that enable us to Leave No Trace.

1. Plan ahead and prepare.
2. Travel and camp on durable surfaces.
3. Dispose of waste properly.
4. Leave what you find.
5. Minimize campfire impacts.
6. Respect wildlife.
7. Be considerate of other visitors.

For more information on Leave No Trace, visit the Leave No Trace Center for Outdoor Ethics Web site. (http://www.lnt.org)

Refuge lands and waters are open to the public at all times. Refuge headquarters, and the mini-visitor center, are open Monday through Friday during normal working hours. Due to a relatively small staff (5 people), there may be times when the office is closed if field projects are underway. Refuge staff often take advantage of infrequent sunny days to get outdoor work accomplished!

Entrance Fees
There are no visitor's fees charged anywhere on the refuge.

- Refuge Profile Page -