Arctic is the most northern of all of the wildlife refuges. The refuge encompasses one of the most spectacular assemblages of arctic plants, wildlife and land forms in the world. Designed to embrace the range of the great Porcupine caribou herd, the Arctic is home to free-roaming herds of muskox, Dail sheep, packs of wolves and such solitary species as wolverines, polar and grizzly bears.
Winter on the refuge is long and severe; summer is brief and intense. Snow usually covers the ground at least nine months of the year. Arctic adapted plants survive even though permafrost is within 1.5 feet of the surface. The annual growth of trees and shrubs is slight. It may take 300 years for a white spruce at tree-line to reach a diameter of five inches; small willow shrubs may be 50-100 years old.
The Arctic offers a rich pageant of wildlife including 140 bird species. It protects a large portion of the migration routes of the Porcupine caribou herd (180,000 animals) - one of the two largest herds in Alaska. The caribou migrate from wintering grounds south of the Brooks Range to calving grounds on the northern coastal plain of the refuge and the Yukon Territory. The migration covers more than a thousand miles.
Arctic's use is increasing. Activities include: float trips, hiking, backpacking, hunting, fishing and wildlife observation.
For information contact
Refuge Manager - (907)456-0250
Arctic National Wildlife Refuge
Box 20, 101-12th Avenue
Fairbanks, AK 99701