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Kenai National Wildlife Refuge
Kenai National Wildlife Refuge Review
Its nearly 2 million acres include a portion of the Harding Icefield as well as two large and scenic lakes, Skilak and Tustumena. The refuge is not only the finest moose habitat in the region, but its waterways are great for canoeing and kayaking. The refuge maintains two visitor centers. The main center, in Soldotna, has wildlife dioramas, free films and information, and a bookstore and gift shop. There's also a seasonal "contact" center at Mile 57.8 of the Sterling Highway, open from mid-June to mid-August.
Wildlife is plentiful even by Alaskan standards: the refuge was originally established to protect the Kenai moose. Although caribou seldom appear near the road, Dall sheep and mountain goats live on the peaks near Cooper Landing, and black and brown bears, wolves, coyotes, lynx, beavers, and lots of birds reside here as well.
The refuge also contains a canoe trail system through the Swan Lake and Swanson River areas. Covering more than 140 mi on 100 lakes and the Swanson River, this route is an underused portion of the refuge that escapes the notice of most visitors and residents alike. This series of lakes linked by overland portages offers fantastic access to the remote backcountry, well away from what passes for civilization in the subarctic. The fishing improves exponentially with distance from the road system, and opportunities for undisturbed wildlife viewing are nearly unlimited.
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