Goose Bay State Game Refuge
The Goose Bay State Game Refuge, a lesser-known site among Alaska's thirty-two state wildlife refuges and sanctuaries, is located in Upper Cook Inlet across Knik Arm from Anchorage. Each spring and fall, the refuge hosts a spectacular number of geese as they rest and feed on their way to and from northern nesting grounds.
Mid-April to mid-May is an excellent time to see Canada, snow, and occasionally white-fronted geese at the refuge. During spring migration, trumpeter and tundra swans can also be seen in the thousands.
The l0,880-acre refuge includes wetlands surrounding Goose Creek, low-lying inland shrubs, and coastline affected by Knik Arm's powerful tides. This diverse landscape attracts mallards, green-winged teal, pintails, northern shovelers, snipe, and yellowlegs. Sandhill cranes have also been seen here.
Scan willow shrubs for moose from April through June. This is calving season and the willow growth provides food and cover for cows with calves. Muskrat, mink, black and brown bears, coyote, red fox, and an occasional lynx have also been seen on the refuge.
Viewing and Safety Tips
Off-road use of motorized vehicles is restricted in the refuge. Check with the Alaska Department of Fish and Game office in Palmer or Anchorage for motorized vehicle restrictions and hunting seasons. There are no developed facilities in the refuge but two marked access points with parking areas and marked trails provide easy walking in the refuge. Those who are more adventurous can access the coastal marsh in the refuge from these parking areas and trails. Safety precautions along Knik Arm shoreline are essential. Incoming tides are high and move extremely fast. An unwary adventurer can easily get trapped in the sticky mud of Knik Arm.
Road access to the Goose Bay State Game Refuge is from several points along the "old Burma Road" at the end of Knik/Goose Bay Road. Knik/Goose Bay Road is accessed from Wasilla, which is about a 45-minute drive along the Glenn Highway from Anchorage. Goose Bay is another 25 minutes from Goose Bay Road.