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Kodiak National Wildlife Refuge

USFWS Alaska Region Home Page

Kodiak National Wildlife Refuge
1390 Buskin River Road

Map of the Refuge

Read Bear Facts

A Home for Wildlife
Kodiak Refuge belongs to the bears, eagles, and the salmon. The first two flourish largely because of the abundance of the last. The refuge is known world-wide for the Kodiak brown bear. Besides the brown bear; five other native land mammals live on Kodiak - red fox, river otter, short-tail weasel, little brown bat, and tundra vole. Introduced mammals include the Sitka black-tailed deer, beaver, snowshoe hare, and the mountain goat. Whales, porpoises, seals, sea otters, and sea lions inhabit the bays.

The island has hundreds of miles of coastline and tidal zones, 117 salmon streams, 14 major watersheds, 11 large lakes, shallow marshes, bogs, salt flats, and meadows where wetlands abound. No place on the refuge is more than 15 miles from the ocean.

Kodiak refuge provides spawning and rearing habitat for six species of Pacific Salmon- pink Chinook, chum, sockeye, steelhead and silver. The adult salmon return the Kodiak's streams in late May to September decreasing in number by October. Approximately 64 percent of the salmon harvested by commercial fishermen in the Kodiak area originate from the streams on the refuge. Other abundant fish include: rainbow trout, Dolly Varden and Arctic char. These fish spawn in freshwater streams on the island. Salmon usually spend one to five years at sea feeding on a variety of food from plankton to small fish. Other species important to the commercial fishing industry include halibut, other bottomfish and crab.

Over 200 Species of Birds
Shoreline marshes attract waterfowl and seabirds. Bays harbor Arctic and Aleutian terns, scaup, scoter, mallard, pintail, bufflehead, and harlequin ducks. Song sparrows, rock sandpipers, and turnstones reside on the beaches. Shoreline rocks and cliffs are home to black-legged kittiwakes, horned and tufted puffins, black oystercatchers, and common murres.

Bald Eagles
Bald Eagles reside year-round on the refuge in such numbers as to be considered very common. At least 200 pairs nest on the shoreline pinnacles, cliffs, and cottonwood trees.

Kodiak Brown Bear
Kodiak brown bears are the world's largest carnivore. Large females weigh about 650 pounds and males can weigh up to 1,500 pounds. When the bears emerge from their dens in the spring their diet consists of sedges and grasses until salmon are available. They feed primarily on salmon until late summer when berries become the mainstay of their diet. Most bears enter winter dens from late October to mid-December. They remain without food or water until spring.

A visitors center is located one mile north of the state airport offering displays and trip planning information. The center is open from 8am to 2:30pm weekdays and seasonally from noon to 4:30pm on Sat. and Sun.

Some of the lands formerly part of the refuge are now under Native ownership. These areas must be respected as private property. Visitors should obtain permission to use private lands. If you are uncertain about land status contact the refuge office.

Recreational activities include wildlife conservation, photography, rafting, canoeing, camping, backpacking, hiking, hunting, and fishing. A limited number of recreational use cabins are available on a reservation basis by lottery held four times a year.

Information on hunting and fishing is also available from the Alaska Department of Fish and Game.

Back Country Basics

Be bear safe: keep a clean camp. Cook, clean and store food away from sleeping areas. Bear-proof food container are recommended.
Use existing fire rings and use only down and dead wood. If you must make a new fire ring, remove it after use.
Do not camp within 100 feet of a drinkable water source. Don't litter; pack out cigarette butts, shell casings when possible, and all non-burnable trash. There should be little or no sign of your use when you are ready to leave.
Toilet areas should be away from sleeping areas and water sources. Bury human waste at least six inches deep.
Disturbing and/or removing archaeological artifacts is illegal.

Prepare for changes in weather and unexpected delays.
Practice the principals of minimum impact back country travel.

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Compiled in part from Kodiak National Wildlife Refuge handout.