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We operate trips on three rivers within the 4.7 million acre Togiak National Wildlife Refuge

The Alaska National Interest Lands Conservation Act was passed in 1980, creating the Togiak National Wildlife Refuge (ANILCA).

There are nearly 500 lakes larger than 25 acres and 1,500 kilometers of streams and rivers inside its 4.7 million acres of land, which together sustain some of the best remote sport fishing in the world. The refuge is home to Rainbow trout, Arctic grayling, Dolly Varden, and five different species of salmon. One of the largest wilderness areas in the National Wildlife Refuge System is located in the refuge's northern 2.3 million acres. The wilderness area of the refuge provides visitors with exceptional wildlife watching, world-class fishing, and a true wilderness experience.

According to ANILCA,

the Togiak Refuge's goals are to protect water quality and quantity within the refuge's boundaries, conserve fish and wildlife populations and habitats in their natural diversity, fulfill our country's obligations under international treaties to protect the fish and wildlife resources we share with other countries, and continue to allow local residents to use them for subsistence. Understanding how local people use fish and animal resources for subsistence is essential to comprehending the significance of this final goal. Yup'ik Eskimos, who are native to western Alaska, have a similar culture and language to the Alaska Natives that reside in or close to the refuge. Seven towns can be found inside or close to the Refuge's limits. These villages have mixed subsistence-market economies, meaning that a sizable percentage of people' time is spent hunting, fishing, and gathering food, which is essential to their physical and cultural survival. These activities are complemented by monetary income. The economic, social, and cultural framework of Alaska's rural villages is largely dependent on subsistence activities. Up to 70% of the food consumed by locals in the settlements of the Togiak Refuge comes from food that has been foraged from the surrounding wilderness. The average yearly wild food harvest in the area is 600 pounds per person, with fish making up a sizable chunk of that total. Alaska Rainbow Adventures works hard to avoid or minimize any potential negative effects on local subsistence practices. Subsistence fishing is conducted by local residents using gill nets. This is legal and consistent with refuge management policy. Subsistence fishing at this level has very little impact on the resource and has priority over sport fishing.

The Togiak National Wildlife Refuge


Is 4.7 million acres of pristine fish and wildlife habitat.

This region is a kaleidoscope of landscapes, including mountain crags, fast-flowing rivers, deep lakes, tundra, marshy lowlands, ponds, estuaries, coastal lagoons, and sea cliffs. The refuge is home to dozens of rich salmon rivers and streams that offer incredible fishing for our anglers.

Three major river systems, comprising over 1,500 miles of water, lie within the Togiak Wilderness (Togiak, Kanektok, and Goodnews).

Untold numbers of salmon return to these waters each year to spawn. These rivers are each in their own right "destination waters" for anglers in the know, there is prolific fishing to be had here, and it is to these very waters that millions of salmon return each year and provide a myriad of opportunities to test your mettle against any if not all of the five species of Pacific salmon, but also colorful and feisty Arctic Char and Dolly Varden as well as some of the most beautiful trophy rainbow trout in the world! These rivers make up an Anglers Shangri-La in Southwest Alaska within the Togiak National Wildlife Refuge!

The northern 2.3 million acres of the refuge is a Wilderness Area.

The Togiak Wilderness covers about half of the refuge and includes pristine rivers, clear mountain lakes, and steep-sloped mountains. It provides outstanding opportunities for solitude and primitive recreation. The rugged Ahklun and Wood River Mountains, partly within the wilderness area, are noteworthy for their scenic values.

One of the primary purposes of Togiak National Wildlife Refuge

is to continue providing local people with subsistence opportunities. The indigenous peoples here are the Yup'ik Eskimos. There has been evidence of human habitation in this area for 5000 years. Many people living in this region today live a subsistence lifestyle. Locals rely on wildlife for meat, so it is possible to provide all the meat a family can eat from the land.

Occasionally, threatened species can be observed,

including Steller and spectacled eiders. Several arctic goose species frequent the refuge, along with murres, seven species of owls, peregrine falcons, dowitchers, Lapland longspurs, and a wide variety of other seabirds, waterfowl, shorebirds, songbirds, and raptors.

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 wolf packs, moose, brown and black bear, coyote, Canadian lynx, Arctic fox, muskrat, wolverine, red fox, marmot, beaver, marten, two species of otter, and porcupine, among other land mammals. Seals, sea lions, walruses, and whales are found at various times of year along the refuge's 600 miles (970 km) coastline.

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Scenic rivers and mountains decorate the backdrop of this protected habitat, home to 48 species of land and marine mammals and 201 species of birds.

Protecting important seabird nesting sites and major salmon spawning rivers, Togiak National Wildlife Refuge extends over 4.7 million acres - an area the size of Connecticut and Rhode Island combined - from the cold waters of Bristol Bay to the treeless tundra uplands of the Ahklun Mountains in Southwest Alaska. Almost half of these lands - the northern 2.3 million acres - are designated as the Togiak Wilderness Area, the second largest contiguous Wilderness Area within the National Wildlife Refuge System.

THINGS TO DO

The majority of visitors arrive at Togiak National Wildlife Refuge during the summer for guided float trips on refuge rivers, focusing on fishing and hunting. The Togiak Refuge’s rivers are prime habitat for all five species of Pacific salmon, rainbow trout, Arctic grayling, Dolly Varden, and Arctic char.

Other activities in the refuge include flightseeing, kayaking, hiking, backpacking, birding, photography, and wildlife viewing. Cape Peirce is a popular viewpoint located on the far western edge of Bristol Bay, where visitors have the opportunity to see Pacific walrus, spotted and harbor seals, and a variety of nesting seabirds, including horned and tufted puffins and common murres.

WILDLIFE

The refuge's striking landscapes are complemented by a wide variety of wildlife. Togiak National Wildlife Refuge is home to moose, brown bears, wolverines, wolves, and many smaller mammals. The Nushagak Peninsula, in the southeastern portion of Togiak Refuge, was the site of a successful 1988 caribou reintroduction.

Along the 600 miles of coastline, seals, sea lions, walrus, and whales can be spotted at various times throughout the year. Cape Peirce, on the southwestern tip of the refuge, is one of only two regularly used land-based haul-outs for Pacific walrus in North America, with up to 12,000 male walrus hauling out here at one time. At least 201 species of migratory and resident birds flock to the refuge for feeding, staging, and nesting, including seabirds, waterfowl, songbirds, shorebirds, and raptors.

LANDSCAPE

The rugged Ahklun and Wood River Mountains lie partly within the refuge, which also includes drainages for the Kanektok, Goodnews, and Togiak Rivers. These pristine, free-flowing rivers offer scenic views and outstanding recreation opportunities while providing important subsistence salmon fisheries. The rivers contribute a large part of Togiak's production of nearly three million Chinook, sockeye, chum, pink, and Coho salmon annually - the primary subsistence resource for residents of seven local villages.

Togiak National Wildlife Refuge encompasses a wide variety of landscapes including the Akutan Mountains, tundra, sea cliffs, rivers, lakes, estuaries, and marshy lowlands.

HISTORY

Archaeological sites found within the refuge indicate that the area has been occupied by Alaska Native peoples for over 4,000 years. Under the Alaska National Interest Lands Conservation Act, the refuge was expanded from 265,000 acres to its present-day 4.7 million acres in 1980.

FACILITIES AND CAMPING

Togiak National Wildlife Refuge has no roads, trails, campgrounds, or visitor services. Backcountry camping is permitted. The refuge headquarters is located in Dillingham.

GETTING HERE

Primary access to the refuge is by chartered aircraft or boat out of the communities of Dillingham, Bethel, and King Salmon. All three communities are accessible by daily air service from Anchorage.

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Interested in visiting the refuge? ... Drop us a note from our convient contact form!