Walrus Islands State Game Sanctuary
Walrus Islands State Game Sanctuary Review
From Dillingham or the village of Togiak, you can proceed by boat to Walrus Islands State Game Sanctuary on Round Island to view the walruses offshore. So many of these giant sea mammals come here in summer that you can barely see the islands' rock beneath the heaving red blubber. The population has been fluctuating in recent years; in 1998 more than 14,000 walrus stretched out in the island's afternoon sun; the most recent count, though, was fewer than 2,000. There have been significant efforts recently to declare them an endangered species. Walrus aren't the only thing here: the islands also support a large population of Steller sea lions, and feeding in the offshore waters are humpbacks, gray whales, and orcas. The only catch: transportation options to Round Island can be very limited. At this writing, Terry Johnson (www.walrusislandsguide.com) is the only commercial guide and operator providing transport to the island, and he only operates from mid-June to mid-July. Day-trip permits can be obtained on the island, but camping permits are limited and must be arranged in advance. Before planning a trip or applying for a permit, check with the Alaska Department of Fish and Game Web site for an updated list of available transport.
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