Escape into Nature…. Well the real purpose for our visit to the refuge was to see how our new dog “Joey” or “Doodlebug” does camping. She did pretty good for her first time. We spent two nights camping in the refuge and birding too, of course…
Kenai National Wildlife Refuge
The refuge was established in 1941 when FDR (Roosevelt) signed enabling legislation for the “Kenai National Moose Range”. In 1980, the moose range was renamed the Kenai National Wildlife Refuge. The refuge contains 1.98 million acres, much of that designated as wilderness.
On the way to the refuge we went to the Funny River wildfire burn area to explore along a horse trail to see if we could spot any woodpeckers – in particular, the Three-toed Woodpecker. Nope. Not to be. However, we did find plenty of mosquitoes. Well, okay we did see birds too and also heard two Olive-sided Flycatchers, which was encouraging. This species is declining across its range, and is considered “Near Threatened”.
We camped at Lower Ohmer Lake campground the first night. This is a small campground – only four sites, with three close together. We got a nice spot near the lake.
The next morning after breakfast we broke camp and drove to the Hidden Creek trailhead. This 2.6 mile trail (round-trip) takes the hiker through varied habitat, including a burned area, with the turn-around point at Skilak Lake.
We spent our second night at the Upper Skilak campground. This was a more “developed” campground, with paved roads and “designated” sites. Good we got to the campground early, and then watched campers arriving to find a place to spend the night in the campground soon filling up the campground.
In the morning we headed back home, with a stop at the Kenai National Wildlife Refuge Visitor Center. The refuge opened a new visitor center in May 2015. The visitor center was very nice with environmentally friendly building materials and design.
The weather was nice, the scenery beautiful, the birds grand, and the mosquitoes everywhere. We had a great time. Get out and enjoy your National Wildlife Refuges and check out the birds because … IT’S ALWAYS A GREAT DAY TO BIRD.