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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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  Recreation and Education Opportunities

Environmental Education
School programs and summer activities related to refuge wildlife and habitats are conducted in Galena and Ruby by refuge staff. The Nowitna Refuge office in Galena has an extensive library of teaching materials, including curricula, videos, posters, reference books and teaching kits. A catalog of items which may be borrowed from the library is available from the refuge office. Refuge faunal lists and summaries of refuge biological studies are available on the Region 7 Nowitna Refuge website.

Salmon from several runs on the Yukon and its tributaries provide a valuable source of food for people living near the refuge. The most popular sport fish in Nowitna Refuge waters is the northern pike. This voracious predator can weigh more than 20 pounds, and is present in mid-to-lower sections of rivers and streams, as well as larger lakes. Sheefish are also present in refuge streams, and may be caught near the mouth of the Nowitna River. Arctic grayling are present in the clear waters of the upper Nowitna River and smaller streams.

Athabascan people of the area have hunted on lands of Nowitna Refuge for centuries, and subsistence hunting is still important to the livelihoods and culture of many local residents. Refuge lands are open to sport hunting as well, subject to Alaska state regulations. Most hunters visiting Nowitna travel the lower sections of the Nowitna river in search of moose. The region is also home to wolves, black and grizzly bears, and smaller game including snowshoe hares, grouse and ptarmigan.

The Nowitna Refuge office offers interpretive displays, books, maps, videos and other resources related to wildlife, plants, and ecosystems of the region. Naturalist-led activities, such as bird walks, plant identification field trips, and nature/art workshops are conducted periodically. Contact the refuge office for schedules.

Wildlife Observation
Given the generally gentle nature of the Nowitna River, it's not surprising that float trips are among the most popular recreational uses of the refuge. The lush riverbanks provide an important corridor for wildlife. In addition to the species mentioned above, lynx, beaver and wolverines might be spotted by sharp-eyed wildlife watchers. More than 120 species of birds are found on the refuge during summer months, including such raptors as bald eagles, peregrine falcons, northern harriers and both rough-legged and red-tailed hawks, as well as colorful migratory songbirds and waterfowl.

With its abundant wildlife, Nowitna National Wildlife Refuge has much to offer the adventurous photographer. Those who float the Nowitna River with camera in hand will have the benefit of the often breathtaking backdrop provided by the wild, free-flowing river and low rolling hills. The vivid light of summer and the long northern twilight delight photographers. The region is particularly stunning when autumn colors peak in late August or early September, and when northern lights shimmer and dance in the winter skies.

Refuge lands are open to the public at all times. The refuge office in Galena in open Monday through Friday from 8:00 a.m. to 4:30 p.m.

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

- Refuge Profile Page -