Yukon Flats National Wildlife Refuge

Gorp.com

Refuge Manager
Yukon Flats National Wildlife Refuge
Federal Building and Courthouse
Box 20, 101-12th Avenue
Fairbanks, Alaska 99701
(907) 456-0440

Yukon Flats is about 100 miles north of Fairbanks—the most northerly point reached by the Yukon River. Here the river breaks free from canyon walls spreading unconfined for 200 miles through a vast flood plain. In the spring millions of migrating birds converge on the flats before ice moves from the river. The migrating birds come from four continents to raise their young.

The refuge has one of the highest nesting densities of waterfowl in North America. By August the surfaces of over 40,000 lakes and ponds ripples with scurrying ducklings and molting adults. Yukon Flats contributes more than two million ducks and geese to the migration routes (flyways) of North America.

Birds are not the only migratory wildlife dependent on wetlands of the flats. Salmon from the Bering Sea ascend the Yukon River to spawn in the freshwater streams of their birth (some salmon travel nearly 2,000 miles into Canada). Runs of king, coho, and chum salmon pass through and spawn in the flats each summer—the longest salmon run in the U.S. Mammals on the refuge include moose, caribou, wolves, black and grizzly bears.

VISITOR USE: Most summer use of Yukon Flats is confined to the major waterways. Several rivers are floated by canoe, kayak, and rafts. Fishing for northern pike can be excellent.


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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