The Adventure

Alaska was purchased from Russia on March 30, 1867, for 7 million dollars. On January 3, 1959, President Eisenhower announced Alaska’s entrance into the Union as the 49th state. It is currently the U.S.’s largest state with Juneau as its capital. The state contains a total of 656,425 square miles of land and water and has 6,640 miles of coastline, making it 2.3 times the size of Texas. Mt. McKinley, the tallest mountain in the U.S., stands at a whopping 20,320 feet. Full of wonder, Alaska is truly as its nickname suggests “the last frontier.”

Bristol Bay

In our home territory of Bristol Bay the local native Alaskans are Yupik Eskimos and Aleuts. Most live in small villages on some of the major rivers, which have traditionally been their means of travel. Commercial and subsistence fishing for the five species of Pacific salmon that return to these waters is a way of life for them. Caribou and moose are also mainstays of the local diet. Trapping, while less important these days, still provides income for the local people. Beaver, marten, mink, otter and muskrat are some of the mammals most sought by the trappers. Sea mammals, walrus and seals are also hunted by the natives for meat and skins.

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The State Park

Three hundred and fifty miles southwest of Anchorage lies Bristol Bay and its vast watershed – home of the finest freshwater sport fishing in North America. In the heart of the watershed lies Wood-TikChik State Park. This largest of state parks contains 14 major lakes and their connecting river systems. The lakes lie east and west, tucked into the slopes of the Kilbuck Mountains. Adjacent to the park to the west is the 4.7-million-acre Togiak National Wildlife Refuge, which contains three major river systems and their tributaries as well as hundreds of small lakes and streams — many unnamed, all home to wild stocks of fish.

Wood-TikChik was created in 1978 for the purpose of protecting the area’s fish and wildlife. It is the largest state park in the nation, at 1.6 million acres. The park is named for its two separate systems of large, interconnected, clear water lakes and is characterized by an array of aquatic ecosystems. It sits between the Nushagak lowlands on the east and the Wood River Mountains to the west. Wood-TikChik contains a variety of terrain and vegetative zones that are renowned for their diversity and scenic beauty. Cragged peaks, high alpine reaches and deep valley arms give the lakes’ western reaches a stunning fjord-like appearance. The eastern edges of the lakes look out upon islands, gravel beaches, and the open tundra of the lowlands.

With 1,500 miles of streams and rivers, the Togiak National Wildlife Refuge offers some of the finest remote sport fishing in the world. The Kanektok, Goodnews, and Togiak rivers are among the most productive in Alaska. Chinook salmon (king), sockeyesalmon (red), chum salmon (dog), pink salmon (humpy), coho salmon (silver), dolly varden, arctic char, arctic grayling, rainbow trout and northern pike are all present in vast numbers at various stages of the summer months.

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Moose, caribou, and brown bear can be seen throughout the summer months. Common small game and furbearers include beaver, muskrat, otter, fox, wolverine, mink, and porcupine.

Brown bears (Ursus arctos) can frequently be seen in many of the areas that BBL operates. The term “brown bear” is commonly used to refer to the members of this species found in coastal areas where salmon is the primary food source and all other inland “brown bear” are referred to as “grizzlies.” Technically they are the same species.

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The Alaska race of moose (Alces alces gigas) is the largest in the world. They favor areas that contain willow and birch shrubs and can often be seen in areas that we fish.

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The Alaskan caribou (Rangifer tarandus granti) is actually one of seven subspecies of caribou (Rangifer tarandus) that inhabits North America, Russia, and Scandinavia.

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There is also a wide variety of birds to be seen in the Bristol Bay region. Various waterfowl species, gulls, bald eagle, golden eagle, arctic tern, different loon species,

spotted and least sandpipers, semi-palmated plover, willow ptarmigan, and spruce grouse as well as a number of transient species.

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