|a l a s k a j o u r n e y . c o m|
|Kodiak & the Alaska Peninsula|
Location/Size: Kodiak Island and a portion of Afognak Island. 1.86 million acres (two-thirds of Kodiak Island, several native corporation and state land inclusions).
Main Activities: Fishing, hunting, bear viewing, backcountry lodging, hiking, backpacking, rafting, flightseeing, coastal exploring.
Gateway Towns/Getting There: Kodiak/scheduled air service from Anchorage, ferry service from Homer. Refuge access by charter air or boat from Kodiak; limited road access from Kodiak to eastern edge of the refuge.
Facilities, Camping, Lodging: No facilities. Primitive camping only (some well-used sites), several backcountry cabins are reservable through the headquarters. Private backcountry lodges operate adjacent to refuge lands.
About two-thirds of Kodiak Island, all of Uganil Island, and an additional 50,000 acres on Afognak and Ban Islands are encompassed in the Kodiak National Wildlife Refuge. Spruce forest covers much of Afognak and a number of coastal shores and valleys of northern and eastern Kodiak Island, but much of the refuge features a lush, dense cover of shrubs, tundra, and grass. The terrain consists of steep hills with 2,000- to 4,000-foot summits, tight valleys, and numerous streamsthough in the far southwest, bog lands and low, rolling, grassy hills predominate. The coastline is ragged with fjords and headlands while a few fair-sized lakes fill interior valleys.
The refuge was established in 1941 to protect the habitat of the Kodiak brown bearlargest of all bears and considered by some to be a genuine subspecies. Only five other mammals are native to the island (little brown bat, red fox, river otter, short-tailed weasel, and tundra vole), though introduced species, including black-tailed deer and beaver, thrive. As many as 2 million seabirds live along the coast.
Though hunting affects bear behavior, there are good viewing locations. Here as elsewhere, bears congregate in the summer along the salmon streams to feast. Ask the refuge manager about the OMalley Lake viewing lottery. Fishing is also popular in the refuge, as are the nine reservable Fish and Wildlife Service cabins, four on southwestern lakes and five on the north coast.
Most access is via floatplane shuttle or drop-off from Kodiak. Hiking is difficult in forest and brush, easier on ridgecrests and high slopes. There are good options for extended ridge routes. Coastal explorations by sea kayak are possible, though headlands are exposed in many areas. The Karluk River is a popular float with access from Karluk Lake, and is only a 4-mile portage from Larsen Bay. Air taxis serve drop-offs and the tiny town of Karluk.