It could be argued that Selawik National Wildlife Refuge contains some of the most historically significant acreage in North America, as the refuge lands once formed part of the American portion of the vast Bering Land Bridge that, some scientists speculate, was the route followed by the ancestors of many of today's large mammals, as well as early humans, when traveling between Asia and the Americas some 12,000 years ago. Today, the refuge is home to a variety of wildlife. Hundreds of thousands of caribou from the Western Arctic Caribou Herd, the largest in Alaska, travel through the refuge in spring and fall. Portions of the herd sometimes winter in the area. Moose, brown bear, wolverine and other furbearers are present year-round. Selawik's approximately 24,000 lakes and wetlands also serve as breeding or stop-over resting places for hundreds of thousands of migratory birds, some arriving from as far away as Australia. And, in addition to the sheefish that gave the refuge its name, whitefish, arctic grayling and northern pike are present in Selawik's waters.
To reach the refuge one usually takes a commercial air service from Anchorage to Kotzebue; Kotzebue cannot be reached by road. From Kotzebue, visitors generally travel into the refuge by small bush aircraft or snowmobile (in winter). Air taxi operators also provide service to the refuge from Galena, which has air access from Fairbanks. The refuge office is in Kotzebue at 160 2nd Avenue and is within walking distance of the airport. Exit the airport left to Third Avenue. Go right on Third to Lake Street. Go left to Second Avenue, then turn right. The office is in the middle of the block on the right. Taxi service from the airport to the refuge office is also available.
160 2nd Ave P.O. Box 270 Kotzebue, AK 99752
Boating Fishing Hunting
FWS - Fish and Wildlife Service