Refuge Notebook: Planning your summer flights on the Kenai National Wildlife Refuge

Posted: Friday, June 25, 2010

Here we are again, at the beginning of what is shaping up to be another beautiful summer.

As we drag ourselves out of our winter/break-up lethargy and prepare our gear for the season, here are a few reminders for aircraft use on the Kenai National Wildlife Refuge.

As the floats are being fitted and you are scanning your charts for new areas to discover, be aware that, although the refuge has abundant opportunities to satisfy the wandering spirit of any floatplane pilot, there are some areas closed to floatplane use for purposes of public safety, wildlife protection, and wilderness solitude.

Operating aircraft on the rivers within the Kenai National Wildlife Refuge is limited to the Kasilof River, the Chickaloon River outlet, and the Kenai River below Skilak Lake from June 15th through March 14th. All other rivers on the refuge are closed to aircraft.

Also, be aware that from May 1 to Sept. 30, it is prohibited to land on any lake on the refuge where nesting trumpeter swans and/or their broods are present. Be sure to note that Windy, Scenic, and Lonesome lakes are closed from May 1 to Sept. 10 regardless of whether swans are present or not.

Lakes in areas of high public use such as in campgrounds and at trailheads are closed to aircraft use for public safety. Some of the more popular lakes closed to floatplane use include Dolly Varden, Rainbow, and Hidden lakes.

You can obtain a full list of the lakes both open and closed to floatplane use from the Kenai National Wildlife Refuge Visitor Center, or you can view the regulations on-line at

Color maps of these areas are available at the Visitor Center or can be mailed to you free of charge. Please feel free to contact us at 262-7021 or stop by and we will do our best to assist you in planning your next outing on your Kenai National Wildlife Refuge.

Once you know where to go, with almost 2 million acres of refuge lands, you can be sure that you will always have someplace new and exciting to explore.

Duston Beyer is a law enforcement officer at the Kenai National Wildlife Refuge.


Previous Refuge Notebook articles can be viewed on the refuge website You can check on local birds or report your bird sighting on the Kenai National Wildlife Refuge Birding Hotline at 907-262-2300.

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