Who Owns the Land? Wildlife-viewing sites in this guide are managed by a variety of entities, for a variety of uses. Almost all are on public lands. Being familiar with the ownership of the lands you are visiting will help you know what to expect in terms of regulations, allowed uses, fees, and contact information.

State of Alaska Lands                                                               

State Wildlife Refuges and Critical Habitat Areas

Alaska Department of Fish and Game (ADF&G)


These lands are established to protect and preserve natural habitat and wildlife populations. There are 12 refuges, 17 critical habitat areas (five on the Kenai Peninsula), and 3 sanctuaries statewide. Hunting and fishing are allowed within most refuges and critical habitat areas.

Alaska State Parks

Alaska Department of Natural Resources


These are lands recognized and managed for their scenic, wildlife, and cultural values. They are designated and managed for public recreational use. State Recreation Sites are developed areas, such as campgrounds and wildlife viewing sites, within State Parks. State Marine Parks are lands that border marine waters of high recreational, scenic, and cultural value. Facilities within State Parks and State Marine Parks may include campgrounds, public access cabins, boat launches, and wildlife viewing platforms and trails. Access and uses vary by park. Use fees apply. In 2007 the day use parking fees on the Kenai are $5/day. An annual day use parking pass is $40. Passes may be purchased at the  following:

• Alaska Public Lands Information Center
  Corner 4th & F, Anchorage

• Chugach State Park Office Mile 115, Seward Hwy
  (just outside of Anchorage)

• Kenai/Prince William Sound Area Office
  Mile 85 Sterling Hwy, near Soldotna

• Most Alaska State Parks Campgrounds

Tidelands & General State Lands

Alaska Department of Natural Resources

The State owns and controls almost all tidelands (areas with a tidal influence). This includes, for example, all of Kachemak Bay’s shorelines up to the reach of high tides. With few exceptions, these lands are reserved for public recreation and for fish and wildlife protection.

Federal Lands                                                                                

National Forest (USFS)

In Seward, 334 4th Avenue

In Girdwood, off Alyeska Hwy. 907-783-3242

Begich, Boggs Visitor Center on Portage Road
907-783-2326 (summer only)

National Forest lands are managed by the US Department of Agriculture, Forest Service. They are not just forests; much of the Chugach National Forest, which extends onto the eastern Kenai Peninsula, is bog, alpine tundra, and ice. National forests are managed for multiple uses, so depending on the area of the forest you are visiting, you may see activities such as small-scale mining operations, timber management, hunting, fishing, and guided recreation. There are fees associated with some Forest Service sites.

National Wildlife Refuge (FWS)

In Soldotna
Ski Hill Road

In Homer
Islands & Oceans Visitor Center
95 Sterling Highway
907- 235-6546

National Wildlife Refuges (NWRs) are public lands that are managed to preserve quality wildlife habitat and healthy wildlife populations. NWRs are managed by the US Department of the Interior, Fish and Wildlife Service. Wildlife viewing is welcomed on NWR lands. Fishing and hunting, during legal seasons, are allowed in some sections of NWRs. There are two National Wildlife Refuge units in the Kenai Peninsula region: the Alaska Maritime National Wildlife Refuge, which includes the Chiswell Islands off the southern coast, and the 2 million acre Kenai National Wildlife Refuge, which stretches from the northern tip of the Peninsula to the south side of Kachemak Bay, and includes part of the Harding Icefield. There are fees at some Kenai NWR campgrounds.

National Park (NPS)

In Seward
1212 4th Ave. (summer only)
907- 224-7500

Near Seward
Exit Glacier (summer only)

Managed by the US Department of the Interior, National Park Service, National Parks are federal lands that are preserved and protected for their outstanding scenic, recreational, and cultural values. Wildlife viewing is welcomed on all park lands. Hunting is not allowed. The Kenai Peninsula hosts Kenai Fjords National Park, an enormous, remote, and spectacular park. There are no entrance or camping fees at Kenai Fjords National Park.

Borough and City Lands                                        

The Kenai Peninsula Borough, a level of government similar to a county, has public lands, including Dena’ina’s Way Site 11. Within the borough are five cities (Homer, Kenai, Seward, Seldovia and Soldotna) with public lands owned by the local governments.

Private Lands                                                           

A few of the wildlife viewing sites in this guide are owned or managed by private entities. The K’Beq ‘Footprints’ interpretive site near the Russian River is managed by the Kenaitze Indian Tribe. Gull Island in Kachemak Bay is owned by the Seldovia Native Association. The Seward Sea Life Center is a private non-profit corporation. The Cook Inlet Aquaculture Association runs a system of salmon hatcheries throughout the peninsula, including Trail Lake Hatchery and the Bear Creek weir, under contract with Alaska Department of Fish and Game. There are also private lands adjacent to some of the wildlife viewing sites. Please respect land ownership and do not trespass on private property.

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