Fish and Wildlife Service, Alaska.
Alaska Maritime National Wildlife Refuge is a place of great distances and greater dramas. Here winds whip through the grasses of rugged, wave-pounded islands; and active volcanoes simmer, venting steam above collars of fog. It is a place of contrasts, where relics of a past war slowly rust in deserted valleys, while, nearby, great forests of kelp team with life. It is, and has long been, a place of refuge, and has seen some of the most dramatic wildlife conservation stories in our nation's history. Containing some of the first conservation-unit areas to be established in America, today's Alaska Maritime National Wildlife Refuge includes lands that were formerly parts of ten previously established refuges. Many of these units are still represented among the ten distinct congressionally-designated Wilderness areas included in Alaska Maritime, which range in size from the approximately 1.3 million acre Aleutian Islands Wilderness to the 32 acre Hazy Islands Wilderness. Because it is spread out along most of the 47,300 miles of Alaska's coastline, the sheer span of this refuge is difficult to grasp. Its more than 2,500 islands, islets, spires, rocks, reefs, waters and headlands extend from Forrester Island, to the north of Canada's Queen Charlotte Islands deep in the southeast tongue of the state, to the westernmost tip of the Aleutians (and of America!), and north to Cape Lisburne on the Arctic Ocean. Traveling between its farthest-flung points would be the equivalent of taking a trip from Georgia to California. No other maritime National Wildlife Refuge in America is as large or as productive. Alaska Maritime's seashore lands provide nesting habitat for approximately 40 million seabirds, or about 80% of Alaska's nesting seabird population.
The refuge is headquarterd in the Alaska Islands and Ocean Visitor Center located in Homer, which is at the end of the Sterling Highway, approximately 225 miles south of Anchorage. Regularly scheduled flights are available from Anchorage. The Alaska State Ferry System also serves Homer. Since most of the refuge is very remote, access is difficult and expensive. Visitors should contact the refuge for specific information about particular sites.