Kodiak National Wildlife Refuge  

  • Size: 1.9 million acres
  • Established: 1941

One of Alaska’s oldest and best-known refuges, Kodiak is famous for its huge brown bears, the largest meat-eating land animal in the world. Feasting on Kodiak Island’s  abundant salmon, they can grow to be 10 feet tall on their hind legs and weigh three-quarters of a ton. Some 2,300 of the bears prowl the refuge, drawing hunters from all over the world.

The salmon that flood the Refuge’s many rivers and streams attract sport fishermen and supply about two-thirds of the catch for the local commercial salmon fleet.

Some lands from the Refuge were given back to Native ownership as part of Alaska’s Native Claims settlement. The 1980 Alaska National Interest Lands Conservation Act added some offshore island parcels and another 275,000 acres were re-acquired with compensation paid by Exxon after its 1989 oil spill hit parts of the area.

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