Yukon Flats

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The Yukon Flats National Wildlife Refuge encompasses most of the Yukon Flats.

The Yukon Flats are a vast area of wetlands, forest, bog, and low-lying ground centered on the confluence of the Yukon River, Porcupine River, and Chandalar River in the central portion of the U.S. state of Alaska. The Yukon Flats are bordered in the north by the Brooks Range, in the south by the White Mountains, and cover an area of approximately 11,000 square miles (28,490 km2). The Yukon Flats are a critical waterfowl breeding ground due to the large area of wetland provided by the estimated 40,000 small lakes and streams in the area. In recognition of this fact, the area is protected under the Yukon Flats National Wildlife Refuge.

Yukon Flats cabin
Small hidden lake on Yukon Flats

The Yukon Flats straddle the Arctic Circle and have an extremely variable climate. Temperatures of 95 F (35 °C) are not uncommon in summer, while winter temperatures have been known to drop to -70 F (-57 °C).

Several thousand Alaska Natives and others live in the Yukon Flats area. Though most of the region's people are concentrated in the villages of Fort Yukon, Venetie, Beaver, Stevens Village, Chalkyitsik, and smaller settlements, numerous hunting cabins and seasonal settlements also dot the region. The region also contains a large deposit of crude oil and natural gas, a fact that has provoked conflict between drilling interests and those interested in protecting wildlife in the region.

In 2008, a land trade was proposed between Doyon, Limited and the federal government. In exchange for several thousand acres of oil- and gas-rich land, Doyon offered to donate a somewhat larger parcel of land to the wildlife refuge. Debate about the land trade is ongoing and has not yet been resolved.


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Coordinates: 66°40′N 145°45′W / 66.667°N 145.750°W / 66.667; -145.750