Coronavirus (COVID-19) Notice
Although most refuge lands and outdoor spaces have remained open for the public to enjoy, we ask that you recreate responsibly.

  • Check alerts and local conditions on this website and call ahead for current information. Operations vary based on local public health conditions.
  • Consistent with CDC recommendations, all visitors (age 2 and older), who are fully vaccinated are required to wear a mask inside of federal buildings in areas of substantial or high community transmission.. All visitors who are not fully vaccinated must continue to wear masks indoors and in crowded outdoor spaces.
  • Most importantly, stay home if you feel sick and continue to watch for symptoms of COVID-19 and follow CDC guidance on how to protect yourself and others.


  • Camp at Sunset

    Refuge Galleries

    Take a virtual trip to Selawik Refuge by viewing one of our online photo galleries: scenery, wildlife, or plants.

    View pictures...

  • Updated Mammal List

    our refuge mammal list has a fresh new look for 2021 and now includes Iñupiaq names!

    Selawik Refuge mammal list

  • Cloud reflection

    Find us on Facebook

    Check out our Facebook page for photos, links & natural history tidbits from northwest Alaska. Comments welcome!

    Selawik NWR on Facebook

Items of Note

Western Arctic Caribou Herd

The Western Arctic Caribou Herd is one of the most spectacular resources of the Selawik Refuge. Numbering around 244,000 animals, the herd is the largest in Alaska, roaming an area of 140,000 square miles—the size of Montana—in northwest Alaska. Most of the herd crosses refuge lands during both their northerly spring and southerly fall migrations. Tuttu, as caribou are known in Iñupiaq, have been a vital element of Iñupiaq life for millenia.

More about flora and fauna of the refuge...

Science-Culture Camp

Culture Camp working on fish

Each fall for the past 15+ years, students, elders, teachers, and community members from the Iñupiaq village of Selawik have celebrated their connection to land and culture at a Science-Culture Camp. Every morning for two weeks, rain or shine, participants eagerly climb aboard boats for the 15-minute ride to the camp. Highlights from camp include catching and processing fish for drying into paniqtuq (a local food staple), picking berries, hunting caribou, exploring the area's ecology and learning survival skills.

Read more about our educational programs...
Refuge Highlights

About the Refuge

In a remote corner of northwestern Alaska lies Selawik Refuge, a special place of extreme climate, free-flowing rivers, and abundant wildlife. Here where the boreal forest of Interior Alaska meets the arctic tundra, thousands of waterfowl, shorebirds, fish, insects and other creatures rest, breed and feed in the vast wetlands complex that is the heart of the Selawik Refuge. Here also is the homeland of the Iñupiat, where local people hunt, fish and gather as their ancestors have done for thousands of years. Over two million acres of land make up the refuge, which straddles the Arctic Circle and offers adventure and rejuvenation for visitors.

About the NWRS

National Wildlife Refuge System


The National Wildlife Refuge System, within the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, manages a national network of lands and waters set aside to conserve America's fish, wildlife, and plants.

Learn more about the NWRS