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Becharof National Wildlife Refuge, AK
Fish and Wildlife Service
Becharof National Wildlife Refuge is a land of contrasts. From its rugged coastline to the 4,835-foot summit of the Mt. Peulik volcano (the name is taken from an Alaska Native word meaning "smoking," or "smoking mountain"), it includes everything from tundra to braided, glacier-fed rivers to saw-toothed mountain ranges. But few would argue the assertion that the biological heart of the refuge is the lake that bears its name. Becharof Lake is huge; 35 miles long, 15 miles wide and as much as 600 feet deep, and is fed by two major rivers and numerous streams. This, the second biggest lake in Alaska and the largest in the entire National Wildlife Refuge System, is a veritable salmon factory. The 300,000 acre lake serves as a nursery for the world's second largest run of sockeye salmon. It's estimated that Becharof Lake and its tributaries provide the Bristol Bay fishery alone with as many as six million adult salmon per year. When Becharof's salmon are spawning, they attract and feed one of the largest concentrations of brown bears in Alaska. Moose are also present on the refuge in moderate numbers. Caribou of the Northern Alaska Peninsula Herd migrate through, and winter upon, Becharof. Wolverine, fox, river otter and beaver round out the list of larger land animals; while harbor seals, sea lions, sea otters and whales are found offshore. Seabirds, as well as eagles and peregrine falcons, nest upon the refuge's coastal cliffs, and migratory waterfowl use the wetlands and coastal estuaries, both as nesting grounds and as staging areas on the way to and from their nest sites in the arctic.
Address:Building 4, Fish and Wildlife Service Road
P.O. Box 298
Phone: 907-246-4250 or 907-246-3339
Directions:The Refuge office is located approximately 1/8 mile from the King Salmon Airport. Signs leading to the office complex are readily visible, and assistance can be obtained from the refuge visitor center which is adjacent to the airport terminal. Regularly scheduled commercial flights are available between King Salmon and Anchorage.