Boundless wildlands and wild waters define the enormous Yukon Delta National Wildlife Refuge that surrounds Bethel. Officially created in 1980 after the consolidation of adjoining refuge lands, the coastal location and climate support nature and habitat on a massive scale. Literally millions of ducks and geese breed here annually, and tens of thousands of caribou roam the hills during fall and winter. Water mammals big
and small are prevalent in the adjacent Bering Sea and fish abound in the waters and wetlands created by the delta of the Yukon and Kuskokwim rivers in the midst of the refuge.