Togiak National Wildlife Refuge

Quick Facts

Togiak National Wildlife Refuge

Alaska

(907) 842-1063

Map Directions

Things To Do

Overview

With the Ahklun Mountains in the north and the cold waters of Bristol Bay to the south, Togiak National Wildlife Refuge offers its visitors beautiful landscapes. Earthquakes and volcanoes filled the former role, and their marks can still be found, but it was the gradual advance and retreat of glacial ice that carved many of the physical features of this refuge. The refuge is home to 48 mammal species, 31 of which are terrestrial and 17 marine. More than 150,000 caribou from two herds, the Nushagak Peninsula and the Mulchatna, make use of refuge lands, which they share with wolves, moose, brown and black bears, wolverines, red foxes, marmots, beavers, and porcupines, among other land mammals. Seals, sea lions, walrus and whales are found at various times of year along the refuge's 600 miles of coastline. Some 201 species of birds have been sighted on Togiak Refuge. Threatened species can occasionally be found here, including Steller's and spectacled eiders. Several arctic goose species frequent the refuge, along with murres, peregrine falcons, dowitchers, Lapland longspurs and a rich variety of other seabirds, waterfowl, shorebirds, songbirds and raptors. Refuge staff and volunteers have also documented more than 500 species of plants, demonstrating a high degree of biodiversity for a sub-arctic area. And what a wealth of biological diversity these carved and crumpled lands support! The refuge is home to 48 mammal species, 31 of which are terrestrial and 17 marine. More than 150,000 caribou from two herds, the Nushagak Peninsula and the Mulchatna, make use of refuge lands, which they share with wolves, moose, brown and black bears, wolverines, red foxes, marmots, beavers, and porcupines, among other land mammals. Seals, sea lions, walrus and whales are found at various times of year along the refuge's 600 miles of coastline. Some 201 species of birds have been sighted on Togiak Refuge. Threatened species can occasionally be found here, including Steller's and spectacled eiders. Several arctic goose species frequent the refuge, along with murres, peregrine falcons, dowitchers, Lapland longspurs and a rich variety of other seabirds, waterfowl, shorebirds, songbirds and raptors. Refuge staff and volunteers have also documented more than 500 species of plants, demonstrating a high degree of biodiversity for a sub-arctic area.

Map of Togiak NWR

Latitude, Longitude: 59.328286, -160.274735

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Activities

  • Boating

    Expect motorboats on the river, and if possible please yield to motorboats in the area because they are often only able to travel in certain channels and deeper water. Also, rafters can usually hear approaching motorboats giving them time to move to the edge of the river; whereas motorboat operators often do not see rafters unitl they are in close proximity. There is no serious white water on these rivers but there are many sweepers - overhanging or fallen trees, etc. - pay attention and be prepared to navigate!

  • Bird Watching

    Togiak National Wildlife Refuge conserves habitat for at least 201 staging, migrating, or breeding bird species. Bird species groups include landbirds, shorebirds, seabirds, raptors, and waterfowl (including the northern pintail, shown at left). Birds from the North American Pacific Flyway and several Asiatic routes funnel through the area.

  • Camping

    There is a three day camping limit on all the rivers throughout Togiak Refuge. After the third consecutive day in one location, the group must move their camp at least one mile. The refuge asks that visitors please practice leave no trace (meaning after you camp in an area, there should be nothing left behind to show other groups that you were there).

  • Fishing

    You will need a current license, available from retailers in Dillingham and Bethal as well as online through the Alaska Department of Fish & Game. You may need a specific tag as well; for example, anglers fishing for Chinook (king) salmon are required to have a current king salmon tag (or "king stamp") in addition to their regular license. It is your responsibility to be sure you have all the necessary documents. Use only artificial lures with single hooks while fishing in the Wilderness Area.

  • Hunting

    Game animals are important to Alaskans, many of whom depend largely upon them for food. Respect the animal you are hunting by preparing adequately for your hunt. Be aware that Alaska's meat salvage regulations reflect the high value placed on game meat and that wasting of meat is taken seriously.

  • Wildlife Watching

    Togiak National Wildlife Refuge is home to more than 30 species of terrestrial mammals. With a wide variety of habitats, Togiak Refuge supports brown bear, moose, caribou, wolves and many smaller mammals. The Nushagak Peninsula, in the southeastern portion of Togiak Refuge, was the site of a 1988 caribou reintroduction, and the caribou population continues to grow. Moose populations on the refuge have increased substantially in recent years as well, much to the delight of local people. Lynx and wolverines continue their elusive ways, seldom seen except for tracks they leave in the snow.

    In addition, 17 species of marine mammals are found along the coastline. Togiak Refuge has haulout sites that provide animals a place to rest after feeding forays in the Bering Sea. Cape Peirce, on the southwestern tip of the refuge, is one of only two regularly used land-based haulouts for Pacific walrus in North America. Up to 12,000 male walrus may haul out here at one time. Endangered Steller's sea lions use haulouts within the refuge, as do harbor and spotted seals. Marine and terrestrial mammals are important food resources for local village residents, and are important in the local tourism economy as well.

Seasonality/Weather

Open year-round.

Directions

Flying

Most non-local visitors travel to Togiak Refuge by air charter services from airports in Dillingham (where the refuge office is located) and Bethel, Alaska. Visitors generally travel to these communities on commercial flights originating at Anchorage's Ted Stevens International Airport.

Phone Numbers

Primary

(907) 842-1063

Links