Togiak National Wildlife Refuge

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Togiak National Wildlife Refuge
IUCN category IV (habitat/species management area)
Ahklun and Wood River Mountains.jpg
Ahklun and Wood River Mountains, Togiak National Wildlife Refuge
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Map of Alaska, United States
Location Alaska, United States
Nearest city Dillingham, Alaska
Coordinates 59°20′00″N160°15′02″W / 59.3333333°N 160.2505556°W / 59.3333333; -160.2505556 [1] Coordinates: 59°20′00″N160°15′02″W / 59.3333333°N 160.2505556°W / 59.3333333; -160.2505556 [2]
Area 4,102,537 acres (16,602.38 km2)
Established 1980
Governing body U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service
Website Togiak NWR

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.

Ahklun Mountains mountain in United States of America

The Ahklun Mountains are located in the northeast section of the Togiak National Wildlife Refuge in southwest Alaska. They extend southwest from the Kanektok and Narogurum Rivers to Hagemeister Strait and Kuskokwim Bay and support the only existing glaciers in western Alaska. They are the highest Alaskan mountain range west of the Alaska Range and north of the Alaska Peninsula: some summits in the range have many glaciers. To the west is the Kuskokwim River and to the east are the Bristol Bay lowlands.

Bristol Bay easternmost arm of the Bering Sea, at 57° to 59° North 157° to 162° West in Southwest Alaska; 400 km long, 290 km, wide at its mouth; rivers flowing into it include the Cinder, Egegik, Igushik, Kvichak, Meshik, Nushagak, Naknek, Togiak, and Ugashik

Bristol Bay is the eastern-most arm of the Bering Sea, at 57° to 59° North 157° to 162° West in Southwest Alaska. Bristol Bay is 400 km (250 mi) long and 290 km, (180 mi) wide at its mouth. A number of rivers flow into the bay, including the Cinder, Egegik, Igushik, Kvichak, Meshik, Nushagak, Naknek, Togiak, and Ugashik.

Earthquake Shaking of the surface of the earth caused by a sudden release of energy in the crust

An earthquake is the shaking of the surface of the Earth, resulting from the sudden release of energy in the Earth's lithosphere that creates seismic waves. Earthquakes can range in size from those that are so weak that they cannot be felt to those violent enough to toss people around and destroy whole cities. The seismicity, or seismic activity, of an area is the frequency, type and size of earthquakes experienced over a period of time. The word tremor is also used for non-earthquake seismic rumbling.


The refuge has a surface area of 4,102,537 acres (16,602.4 km2). It is the fourth-largest National Wildlife Refuge in the United States as well as the state of Alaska, which has all eleven of the largest NWRs. It is bordered in the southeast by Wood-Tikchik State Park, the largest state park in the United States.

Wood-Tikchik State Park Alaskan state park

Wood-Tikchik State Park is a state park in the U.S. state of Alaska north of Dillingham. Over 1,600,000 acres (650,000 ha) (6,500 km2) in area—about the size of the state of Delaware—it is the largest and most remote state park in the United States, comprising more than half of all state park land in Alaska and 15% of the total state park land in the country. Despite being the largest state park in the nation, the park had no staff whatsover for its first five years, and even now at times only a single ranger is in charge of patrolling the entire park, usually by aircraft.


Caribou at the refuge Rentier fws 3.jpg
Caribou at the refuge

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 wolf packs, moose, brown and black bear, coyote, Canadian lynx, Arctic fox, muskrat, wolverine, red fox, marmot, beaver, marten, two species of otter, and porcupine, among other land mammals. Seals, sea lions, walrus and whales are found at various times of year along the refuge's 600 miles (970 km) of coastline.

Porcupine caribou subspecies of caribou

The Porcupine caribou or Grant's caribou is a subspecies of the reindeer found in Alaska, United States, and adjacent parts of Canada. It resembles the subspecies known as the barren-ground caribou and is sometimes included in it.

Northwestern wolf subspecies of mammal

The northwestern wolf, also known as the Mackenzie Valley wolf, Alaskan timber wolf, Canadian timber wolf, or northern timber wolf, is a subspecies of gray wolf in western North America. It ranges from Alaska, the upper Mackenzie River Valley; southward into the Canadian provinces of British Columbia, Alberta, and Saskatchewan as well as the Northwestern United States.

Alaska moose subspecies of mammal

The Alaska moose or giant moose or Alaskan moose is a subspecies of moose that ranges from Alaska to western Yukon. The Alaska moose is the largest North American subspecies of moose. Alaska moose inhabit boreal forests and mixed deciduous forests throughout most of Alaska and most of Western Yukon. Like all moose species, the Alaska moose is usually solitary but sometimes will form small herds. Typically, they only come into contact with other moose for mating or competition for mates. During mating season, in autumn and winter, male Alaska moose become very aggressive and prone to attacking when startled.

Within the refuge, the waters produce over 3 million Chinook, sockeye, coho, pink, and chum salmon. Not including the five species of salmon that inhabit the region, there are 27 species found in the waters, including Dolly Varden, Arctic grayling, and rainbow trout. The region's salmon are a primary subsistence source for locals, and provide a very important commercial and recreational fishery.

Chinook salmon species of fish

The Chinook salmon is the largest species in the Pacific salmon genus Oncorhynchus. The common name refers to the Chinookan peoples. Other vernacular names for the species include king salmon, Quinnat salmon, spring salmon, chrome hog, and Tyee salmon. The scientific species name is based on the Russian common name chavycha (чавыча).

Sockeye salmon species of fish

Sockeye salmon, also called red salmon, kokanee salmon, or blueback salmon, is an anadromous species of salmon found in the Northern Pacific Ocean and rivers discharging into it. This species is a Pacific salmon that is primarily red in hue during spawning. They can grow up to 84 cm in length and weigh 2.3 to 7 kg (5–15 lb). Juveniles remain in freshwater until they are ready to migrate to the ocean, over distances of up to 1,600 km (1,000 mi). Their diet consists primarily of zooplankton. Sockeye salmon are semelparous, dying after they spawn. Some populations, referred to as kokanee, do not migrate to the ocean and live their entire lives in freshwater.

Coho salmon species of fish

The coho salmon is a species of anadromous fish in the salmon family, one of the several species of Pacific salmon. Coho salmon are also known as silver salmon or "silvers". The scientific species name is based on the Russian common name kizhuch (кижуч).

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, seven species of owls, 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.

Stellers eider species of bird

The Steller's eider is a smallish sea duck that breeds along the Arctic coasts of eastern Siberia and Alaska.

Spectacled eider species of bird

The spectacled eider is a large sea duck that breeds on the coasts of Alaska and northeastern Siberia.

Owl order of birds

Owls are birds from the order Strigiformes, which includes about 200 species of mostly solitary and nocturnal birds of prey typified by an upright stance, a large, broad head, binocular vision, binaural hearing, sharp talons, and feathers adapted for silent flight. Exceptions include the diurnal northern hawk-owl and the gregarious burrowing owl.

See also

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Togiak Wilderness

Togiak Wilderness is a federally designated wilderness area in the Dillingham and Bethel Census Areas in the southwestern part of the U.S. state of Alaska. At 2,274,066 acres (920,282 ha), it occupies the northern half of the Togiak National Wildlife Refuge. It protects pristine rivers, lakes, and steep-sloped mountains, including the rugged Ahklun Mountains and Wood River Range, which are located partly within the wilderness. Parts of the Kanektok, Goodnews, and Togiak drainages are also located within the boundaries of the Togiak Wilderness.

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  1. "Togiak National Wildlife Refuge". Geographic Names Information System . United States Geological Survey.
  2. "Togiak National Wildlife Refuge". Geographic Names Information System . United States Geological Survey.

PD-icon.svg This article incorporates  public domain material from websites or documents ofthe United States Fish and Wildlife Service .