TOGIAK NATIONAL WILDLIFE REFUGE
Dominated by the Ahklun Mountains in the north and the cold waters of Bristol Bay to the south, Togiak National Wildlife Refuge confronts the traveler with a kaleidoscope of landscapes. The natural forces that have shaped this land range from the violent and powerful to the geologically patient. Earthquakes and volcanoes filled the former role, and their marks can still be found, but it was the gradual advance and retreat of glacial ice that carved many of the physical features of this refuge.
And what a wealth of biological diversity these carved and crumpled lands support! 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 wolves, moose, brown and black bears, wolverines, red foxes, marmots, beavers, and porcupines, among other land mammals. Seals, sea lions, walrus and whales are found at various times of year along the refuge's 600 miles of coastline.
Some 201 species of birds have been sighted on Togiak Refuge. Threatened species can occasionally be found here, including Steller's and spectacled eiders. Several arctic goose species frequent the refuge, along with murres, peregrine falcons, dowitchers, Lapland longspurs and a rich variety of other seabirds, waterfowl, shorebirds, songbirds and raptors. Refuge staff and volunteers have also documented more than 500 species of plants, demonstrating a high degree of biodiversity for a sub-arctic area.
Diversity is the name of the game at Togiak National Wildlife Refuge. A myriad of habitats host diverse populations of flora and fauna thriving in their natural balance.
Togiak National Wildlife Refuge and southwest Alaska have a rich cultural heritage that continues through the present, as many groups of immigrants have added their traditions to those of the native Yup'ik Eskimos. The colorful history has been shaped by many influences, from Russian exploration, through fur trapping, gold prospecting, and the development of the fishing industry that has been the mainstay of the region for decades.