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

You can tell that winter is on the way when the tundra explodes with color
Ski Hill Road
P.O. Box 2139
Soldotna, AK   99669
E-mail: kenai@fws.gov
Phone Number: 907-262-7021; toll free 1-877-285-5628
Visit the Refuge's Web Site:
Rugged mountains of the Kenai National Wildlife Refuge.
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  Recreation and Education Opportunities

Environmental Education
Since 1983, 34,000 students have participated in field trips to the Kenai National Wildlife Refuge, experiencing high quality environmental education programs. These have focused on critical resource issues facing the long-term health and viability of refuge wildlife and the habitat they need to survive. Successful refuge programs include: Animals and Their Senses, The Role of Predators in the Ecosystem, Fire in the Ecosystem, Wetlands and Wildlife, Winter Ecology, and Leave No Trace (learning minimum impact outdoor techniques as a life skill).

In addition to school groups, broad spectrums of youth groups take advantage of the refuge's visitor center and trail facilities. Youth groups including home school students, Girl Scouts, Boy Scouts, 4-H and Campfire Kids have participated in wildlife, conservation, and career programs led by refuge staff and volunteers.

The Kenai National Wildlife Refuge maintains the Outdoor Education Center, an overnight group activity area near the Swan Lake and Swanson River Canoe Trail Systems. For educational groups planning a nature experience, the site is free of charge, but requires a reservation and assistance with maintenance.

Each year fishing attracts the majority of refuge's 500,000 visitors. Angling opportunities vary from shoulder-to-shoulder red salmon fishing along the Russian River to wilderness rainbow trout fishing on the Swan Lake Canoe System. These angling adventures, and many more, are waiting for you on Kenai National Wildlife Refuge.

Hunting is available year-round on Kenai National Wildlife Refuge. Hunting season for highly sought-after moose, Dall sheep and caribou begins in mid-August. While the majority of refuge lands are open to hunting, there are restricted and closed areas. These include the Skilak Wildlife Recreation Area, the Sterling Highway Corridor and the headquarters/visitor center complex and adjacent trails. When planning your hunt, check with refuge staff and consult the State of Alaska hunting regulations.

Visitors enjoy wildlife and natural history programs year round. Summer programs include campfire talks, nature walks, and discovery hikes. Wildlife videos are regularly scheduled at the refuge visitor center in Soldotna throughout the year. Kids can become Jr. Rangers by completing self-guided activities with their families. Seasonal celebrations include National Wildlife Refuge Week events, Winter Fun Day, and recreation seminars.

Wildlife Observation
More than 200 wildlife species are found on the refuge. Roads, trails and waterways provide opportunities for wildlife observation. The most frequently observed large animals include moose and bald eagles. Often visitors sight Dall sheep, black bears, and salmon. More elusive wildlife include wolves, lynx, and brown bear. Birders find opportunities to add to their life lists when searching for such resident birds as spruce grouse and willow ptarmigan or such migratory visitors as trumpeter swans, common loons and arctic terns.

With a diversity of landscapes, from alpine tundra to lowland lake country, Wildlife and scenery tempt photographers virtually everywhere on Kenai National Wildlife Refuge. Mid-June is peak wildflower season, with woodland expanses of dwarf dogwood and star flower; road sides decorated in wild rose, lupine, and yellow paintbrush; and wetlands decorated with wild iris and yellow pond lily. Fall colors peak in mid-September, featuring golden-leaved birch and aspen and red understory plants including cranberry, currant and mountain ash. Cold, clear winter days offer their own chilling beauty, in the form of delicate hoarfrost formations and lingering rose magenta sunsets.

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)

The refuge is open year round. Summer visitor center hours are weekdays: 8:00 a.m.to 5:00 p.m., and weekends: 9:00 a.m.to 6:00 p.m. From September 1 to May 31, visitor center hours are weekdays: 8:00 a.m.to 4:30 p.m. and weekends: 10 a.m.to 5:00 p.m.

Entrance Fees
Day use on the refuge is free-of-charge, but certain campgrounds and the Russian River Ferry Access area have user fees. In winter many areas and facilities, including secondary roads and campgrounds, are unmaintained.

- Refuge Profile Page -