• Conservation Education • Office/Clerical • Other • Tour Guide/Interpretation • Visitor Information • General Assistance
Photo Courtesy of FWS
Responsibilities: Hosts help visitors in a variety of ways. They share Refuge wildlife, recreation, and regulatory information with visitors. They staff the Refuge Visitor Center, greeting visitors, answering their questions, giving recommendations and directions, and delivering pop-up interpretive programs to interested guests. Hosts will also answer the phone and operate a blu-ray player and media system to play nature videos for visitors. Hosts work a five-day workweek with days off on weekdays. Shifts are 8 hours long, from 8:45 to 5:15, with a half hour for lunch. Visitor Center Hosts are often the only Refuge representatives that visitors interact with, so host hospitality is instrumental in giving Refuge visitors a positive experience.
Dates Needed: Mid-May to Labor Day each year.
Compensation: Hosts receive $150 per person per week for reimbursements of food, propane, generator gas, and personal vehicle mileage expenses.
What to Expect: The host hook-up sites are located just a short walk from the visitor center. The visitor center and seasonal housing area are located in the town of Soldotna, where there are grocery stores, restaurants, gas stations, and all the amenities expected of a small town. The nearby town of Kenai has similar amenities and a Walmart. Cell and satellite reception on the Kenai Peninsula can be spotty. It is important to come with the expectation that internet access is limited and, even when available, may be slower than average. There are DVD rental kiosks in town, and the library and some local businesses offer free wifi. Soldotna is 75 miles from Homer, the Homer spit and beautiful Kachemak Bay; 45 miles from the little mountain pass town of Cooper Landing and Chugach National Forest; 93 miles from world-famous Seward, AK, and Kenai Fjords National Park; and 150 miles, on one of the most scenic highways on earth, from Anchorage, Alaska’s largest city. Soldotna itself is in the heart of one of the most productive and popular salmon fisheries in the world, a dream destination for anglers of all ages and backgrounds.
Training: A visitor services ranger will provide training for host duties. A required seasonal orientation takes place in mid-May where hosts receive orientation to Refuge operations and a variety of safety training sessions including CPR, First Aid, and bear safety.
About the Visitor Center: Completed in 2015, the Kenai Refuge Visitor Center is a beautiful, state-of-the-art welcome center with an auditorium/media room, interactive exhibit hall, soapstone masonry heater, and a gift shop operated by the nonprofit Alaska Geographic. Guests and staff are greeted near the entrance by “Majesty of the Kenai”, a life-size bronze statue of a bull moose. During the summer, the Visitor Center is open 9-5 every day, with a typical day seeing several hundred visitors through the door.
There are just over three miles of forested trails behind the Visitor Center that snake down to Headquarters Lake, two historic cabins, and the Refuge Headquarters/administrative building is right next door.
Climate: May through early September temperatures range from low 30's (nights) to mid-80's F (days). Expect rainy weather off and on during summer months especially in late August and early September. Alaska enjoys abundant daylight during the summer months (dusk occurs between 11pm and 12am).
Wildlife and Plant life: In remote areas, bears, coyotes, wolves, and lynx are seen over the course of the summer. However, the woods around the housing area are also wilderness, and moose and bears have been spotted very close to where our hosts stay. Expect abundant mosquitoes especially in early June. Moose, eagles, red squirrels, snowshoe hares, ravens, loons, songbirds, and short tailed weasels are common throughout the Refuge. White spruce and birch forests are the dominant vegetation, with wild flowers at their peak in mid-June.
Refuge History: Kenai National Wildlife Refuge was founded as Kenai National Moose Range in 1941 after conservationists became concerned about the survival of Alaska’s huge moose. In 1980, the Alaska National Interest Lands Conservation Act (ANILCA) broadened the land’s purpose to include all the natural diversity of the Kenai Peninsula. Today the Refuge is 1.9 million acres and contains widely varied habitats and equally varied animal and plant life, with a mission of maintaining that diversity while opening the lands to people for hunting, fishing, photography, education, and recreation opportunities.
Our Expectations: We are looking for friendly, energetic couples that want to volunteer in Alaska and appreciate the importance of our public land heritage. It would be advantageous if hosts can provide their own reliable motor home or truck/trailer combo for housing and transportation. Hosts are responsible for setting up their own postal service through General Delivery in Soldotna, Sterling, or Kenai. A personal cell phone is recommended for private phone call needs. The Refuge supplies all other items needed for the position.
HOUSING & AMENITIES Type: Trailer/RV Pads Description: Hosts will be provided, free of charge, a gravel or asphalt pad with full hook-ups for an RV or a trailer. One of the sewer hook-ups has an imperfect connection but past hosts have made it work; contact us with questions/concerns. The hook-up sites are located next to kitchen, bathroom, and laundry facilities used by seasonal employees, which is also available for host use. Please contact us if you do not intend to provide your own accommodations.