Selawik National Wildlife Refuge

Refuge Manager
Selawik National Wildlife Refuge
P.O. Box 270
Kotzebue, Alaska 99752
(907) 442-3799

Selawik straddles the Arctic Circle in northwestern Alaska about 360 miles northwest of Fairbanks. The refuge is composed of estuaries, lakes, river deltas, and tundra slopes. The most prominent feature is the extensive system of tundra wetlands that are nestled between the Waring Mountains and Selawik Hills.

Selawik is located where the Bering Land Bridge once existed. Plants, animals, and humans migrated freely across this land mass connecting Asia and North America many years ago. The refuge retains evidence of these ancient migrations.

Selawik is a breeding and resting area for a multitude of migratory waterbirds returning from North and South America, Asia, Africa, and Australia. Nesting ducks number in the hundreds of thousands. Thousands of caribou winter on the refuge as they feed on the lichen-covered foothills. Other common mammals include moose, grizzly bear, and furbearers. Sheefish, whitefish, grayling, and northern pike inhabit lakes, ponds, streams, and rivers. Sheefish weighing 40 to 50 pounds are not uncommon.

VISITOR USE: Portions of the Selawik River are nationally designated as a wild river. The river provides good river rafting and sport fishing. A limited commercial guide service is available.

Published: 29 Apr 2002 | Last Updated: 15 Sep 2010
Details mentioned in this article were accurate at the time of publication


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