Summer is finally here! As we welcome it with open arms, we also realize how fleeting it can be. So as thoughts of upcoming outdoor adventures wander through your minds and you plan out those precious few weekends that you've suffered through the long winter for, I would like to point out a few of the opportunities, rules and regulations that are present on the Kenai National Wildlife Refuge to ensure that all your ventures onto the Refuge are enjoyable and trouble free.
Many public use areas have kiosks (see photo) in place where the rules specific to that area are posted. This provides an additional opportunity for you to check out the activities available in the immediate vicinity and they are especially helpful if your plans changed at the last minute and left you without time to do your homework. Also at the kiosk, we'll often post recent bear sightings in the area.
Camping, to suit all tastes, is available throughout the Refuge whether your idea of camping is packing out for the weekend with what you can carry on your back, canoeing through some pretty exceptional back-country lakes, or pulling that 40-foot luxury coach into a paved site for a week on Hidden lake. Whichever your style, they all get you into the great outdoors. So when you're sitting around that fire and realize that you've just tossed in the last of the fire wood, remember that Refuge regulations only allow the use of dead and down trees (see photo).
Hunting and fishing opportunities are available throughout the Refuge and commonly follow the State of Alaska's regulations. However, there are a few Refuge-specific regulations regarding these activities which are well explained in the Refuge regulation handout (and accompanying maps) that are available online or can be picked up at our office on Ski Hill Road.
There is also a large section that covers other public uses within the Refuge, from camping to wheeled vehicle use, and is exceptionally informative when planning your upcoming trip.
Motorboating on the refuge is a great pastime for many of our visitors and most access points have been signed to reflect horsepower and wake restrictions.
However, motorboats are not authorized in some lakes and sections of rivers on the Refuge. Similarly, only certain lakes are designated for landing by floatplanes. Both powerboat and floatplane restrictions are covered in the Refuge regulation handout.
Off-road vehicles, other than powerboats and snow machines, are only authorized by a special use permit from the Refuge manager. So make sure, if you happen to have that quad, Raptor, or any other off-road vehicles, that they stay on the trailer while visiting the Refuge.
During the planning phase of your trip, I suggest you contact the Kenai National Wildlife Refuge (907-262-7021) with any questions, or visit our website (http://kenai.fws.gov/regulations.htm) to ensure that the activities you are planning fit within the boundaries of the regulations in place on the Refuge.
We will be more than happy to help, in any way we can, to make your visit to the Kenai National Wildlife Refuge an enjoyable and unforgettable experience. We look forward to seeing you!
Duston Beyer is a law enforcement officer and pilot at the Kenai National Wildlife Refuge. You can find more information about the Refuge at http://kenai.fws.gov or http://www.facebook.com/kenainationalwildliferefuge.