Bristol Bay Region
At 40 million acres, the Bristol Bay region is about the size of Oklahoma. The region has spectacular landscapes, a fascinating and complex history, three diverse Native cultural traditions, volcanoes, unspoiled wilderness, and diverse state and national parks and refuges. In addition to approximately 8,000 residents, Bristol Bay is home to abundant wildlife: 10,000 brown bears, 25,000 walrus, and 25 million salmon, plus fresh water seals, ospreys, eagles, and many other species.
Among the wide-open spaces are black sand beaches, mountain ranges, lowland tundra, wetlands, abundant flora and fauna, and many wild and scenic rivers. Iliamna Lake, located in the north of the region, is the largest freshwater lake in Alaska.
The Bristol Bay villages are situated in the watersheds of the world-renowned Bristol Bay salmon fishery. The pristine lakes and rivers that empty into Bristol Bay support spawning and harvesting of all five species of Pacific salmon -- king, sockeye, silver, chum, and pink -- as well as rainbow trout, arctic char, grayling, northern pike, lake trout and Dolly Varden. Beluga whales and Orcas (killer whales) can be seen following the salmon runs. The area is home to caribou, moose, bear, and walrus, as well as small game such as beaver, porcupine, otter, and fox, and varied waterfowl.
All wildlife is important for the subsistence lifestyle and for the commercial and sport activities of local communities. Wood-Tikchik State Park (the largest state park system in the United States), Togiak National Wildlife Refuge, and Round Island State Game Sanctuary are all accessible from Dillingham and Naknek.