- The Tetlin Refuge is located along the Alaska-Canada boundary between the Alaska Highway and Wrangell-St. Elias National Park and Preserve. The name Tetlin was derived from regional lakes, rivers, hills, and the Tetlin Indian Reservation located near the refuge.
After enjoying mild summers, with continuous sunlight or twilight in June and July, complete snow cover usually begins in October and lasts through April. Mid-winter temperatures can drop to -72 degrees Fahrenheit.
Major terrains include broad flat river basins bisected by rolling hills, marsh and lake complexes, foothills, and two major glacial rivers which form the Tanana River, one of Alaska's largest rivers.
The refuge has one of the highest densities of nesting waterfowl found in Alaska, annually producing 35,000 to 65,000 ducklings. It also has its own expanding population of trumpeter swans, the largest concentration of ospreys in Alaska, and habitat for 143 breeding and 47 migrating bird species. Other wildlife include moose, caribou, Dall's sheep, grizzly and black bears, wolves, wolverine, lynx, and other fur bearers.
One of only two road-accessible refuges in Alaska, and located where Alaskan Highway travelers encounter it soon after entering the state, the refuge is uniquely positioned to introduce visitors to the refuge system, and other Federal lands, in Alaska.
The visitor center along the Alaska Highway is designed and operated to do just that. Recreational opportunities include hunting (moose, caribou, waterfowl grouse and ptarmigan), trapping, fishing (arctic grayling, burbot, lake trout, northern pike and whitefish), photography, and boating (both non motorized and motorized).
Residents of several nearby native villages have historically utilized refuge's fish, wildlife, and plant resources for subsistence purposes, and continue to do so today.