Selawik National Wildlife Refuge
Wildlife Viewing


The estuaries, river deltas, and tundra hills of this refuge straddle the Arctic Circle. The Waring Mountains lie to the north of the refuge, the Continental Divide between the Arctic and Pacific Oceans is at its southeastern border, and the Selawik River flows through its center. Largely wetland, the refuge nurtures over 180 species and subspecies of birds, including willow ptarmigans, pacific loons, arctic terns, and alder flycatchers. The expanse of open tundra is a splendid backdrop to the spring migration of caribou and the autumn mating rituals of moose. Wolf packs lope across the grasses in search of prey; black and brown bears forage the stunted shrubbery for sweet berries.

Viewing Information

Journey down the upper reaches of the Selawik River for the best view of the area’s wildlife. The Selawik is a designated national wild and scenic river.


The refuge is accessible by charter boat and plane from Kotzebue, Kiana, Noorvik, Selawik, and Ambler. In the winter, visitors may also travel by snow machine, dog sled, and skis. The Inupiat villages of Noorvik and Selawik lie within the refuge itself, but Kotzebue is the closest community with a range of services.


U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (907) 442-3799 or (800) 492-8848