• Campground Host • Trail/Campground Maintenance • Visitor Information • General Assistance
Photo Courtesy of FWS
Thank you for your interest in the Campground Host program at the Kenai National Wildlife Refuge!
We have a very busy summer season and seek friendly, excited and capable hosts to welcome our visitors to the campgrounds here on the Refuge. This is dry camping at its finest. Wildlife abounds and fishing opportunities are excellent in the nearby Kenai River. Our camp host sites are roomy and comfortable with access to potable water hand pumps and nearby dump station. There is no electricity and limited cell phone service in the area.
Job Responsibilities: Hosts help visitors in a variety of ways. They share Refuge wildlife, recreation, and regulatory information with visitors. They maintain campground facilities including cleaning restrooms, litter pick up, and facility maintenance. Hosts also sell firewood bundles. Hosts work a five-day work week with days off on weekdays (usually Tues./Weds.). Often, work day shifts are split with hosts working mornings and evenings when visitors are most frequently in the campgrounds. Host hospitality in refuge campgrounds leaves a lasting positive memory for Refuge visitors.
Dates Needed: Mid-May to Labor Day each year.
Compensation: Each host receives a reimbursement of approved subsistence expenses including food, propane, generator gas and laundry supplies up to $150 per week per person. Mileage is paid for one round trip each week to Soldotna for supplies.
Facilities Cared for by Hosts: The refuge has two fee campgrounds, Hidden Lake and Upper Skilak. These are the campgrounds our hosts manage. The rest of the campgrounds on Skilak Lake Road and along the highway are free to use.
Hidden Lake Campground - 43 pull-in campsites, 10 overflow selfcontained campsites; 6 outhouses facilities with 14 toilets total; 2 picnic shelters; a boat launch; 5 hand water pumps; a campfire amphitheater; an information/camper registration kiosk, a dump station, and 3 garbage dumpsters. Campsite cost for visitors is $10 per night for pull-in sites and overflow sites. Upper Skilak Campground – 10 walk-in tent sites, 15 pull-in campsites, 3 outhouse facilities with 8 toilets total, a boat launch, a day use area with fire pits and a pavilion, an information/camper information kiosk, two hand water pumps, and two garbage dumpsters. Pull-in campsites are $10 and walk-in tent sites are $5.
What to Expect: Hidden Lake and Upper Skilak Campgrounds are located adjacent to Skilak Lake Road, a 2-lane gravel road. This road forms a 19mile loop off the Sterling Highway, a modern asphalt paved highway. Soldotna is the largest town (population: 4,600) nearest the campgrounds and provides large grocery stores and a variety of retail stores. It contains a hospital, fire station, police station, and state trooper headquarters. There are restaurants, laundry services, shower facilities, banks, a post office, churches, a library, and movie theaters.
The smaller communities of Cooper Landing (east of the Refuge) and Sterling (west of the Refuge en route to Soldotna) provide the following services - post office, gas station, towing, restaurants, motels, churches, laundry, and showers.
Like many Alaskan campgrounds, Hidden Lake and Upper Skilak have no running water or electrical hookups. There are hand pumps for potable water. Potable water can also be obtained in Cooper Landing, Sterling, and Soldotna. Hidden Lake Campground has a dump station in the campground. The dump station for Upper Skilak is a few miles down Skilak Lake Rd.
Hosts are supported by field rangers, law enforcement officers, maintenance workers, and contracted dumpster and toilet pumping services. Hosts are assigned a hand-held communications radio and satellite phone to use for Refuge business and communications. Hosts are supplied with all the necessary supplies and equipment to maintain their assigned campground.
Training: A visitor services ranger will provide training for host campground duties. A required seasonal orientation takes place in midMay where hosts receive orientation to Refuge operations and a variety of safety training sessions including CPR/First Aid and Bear Safety.
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.
Bears: Both black and brown bears travel through the refuge campgrounds. Bear proof dumpsters are provided for garbage. Hosts and rangers must work continuously to educate visitors regarding clean camping practices to prevent curious bears from becoming problem bears.
Natural History: Hidden Lake and Skilak Lake were glacially carved. Dramatic mountains and cliffs surround these beautiful lakes. Both lakes experience high winds (usually in the late afternoon). White spruce and birch forests are the dominant vegetation with wild flowers at their peak in mid-June. Expect abundant mosquitoes especially in early June. Moose, eagles, red squirrels, snowshoe hares, ravens, loons, songbirds, and short tailed weasels are common campground visitors. Bears, coyotes, wolves, and lynx are seen over the course of the summer.
Our Expectations: We are looking for friendly, energetic couples that want to volunteer in Alaska and appreciate the importance of our public land heritage. Hosts need to be able to provide their own reliable motor home or truck/trailer combo for housing and transportation. Hosts need to provide their own generator or solar panels for electrical needs. Hosts are responsible for setting up their own postal service through General Delivery in Soldotna, Sterling, or Cooper Landing. A personal cell phone is recommended for private phone call needs. The Refuge supplies all other items needed for the position.
HOUSING & AMENITIES Type: Camp Sites Description: The Refuge provides a free campsite for hosts in a designated location within the campgrounds. All campgrounds in Kenai NWR are dry camping only. Dump stations are located nearby. A propane generator and a system to stock up on potable water is recommended.