Alaska Maritime National Wildlife Refuge
Encompassing 4.9 million acres (20,000 square kilometers), the Alaska Maritime National Wildlife Refuge is America’s largest marine refuge, spread out along most of Alaska’s 47,300 miles (76,122 kilometers) of coastline.
It is home to a range of ecosystems, wildlife species and experiences as well as a wide range of contrasting landscapes, some of which include beaches, tundra, mountains, rainforests, valleys, cliffs, lakes and volcanoes. It’s also a bird-watchers paradise, known for its 40 million seabirds representing 30 species. The Pribilof Islands are said to be the best place to see birdlife, although the wildlife refuge encompasses over 2,500 islands, rocks, reefs, spires, islets, waters and headlands.
Visitors to the Alaska Maritime National Wildlife Refuge can explore the volcanic islands of the Aleutian chain, the tiny islands, rainforests and and majestic fjords of the Gulf of Alaska, and various destinations near the Alaska Peninsula and Bering Sea. In total, there are 10 distinct congressionally-designated Wilderness areas in the refuge. While it’s difficult to truly grasp just how large this attraction is, traveling between its two farthest points would be similar to driving across the United States. The best way to begin exploring the Alaska Maritime National Wildlife Refuge is to head to the their headquarters at the Alaska Islands and Ocean Visitor Center located in Homer, Alaska.