Making of a Refuge: Surveying the Alaska Peninsula

In the 1970’s biologists did reconnaissance of offshore islands throughout Alaska’s coastal areas to determine abundance and distribution of marine mammals and birds to help select lands for new refuges, parks, and monuments that would be created under the 1980 Alaska Lands Act.

In 1979, USFWS biologist Edgar Bailey and volunteer Nina Faust undertook a 400 mile survey along the coast of the Alaska Peninsula from Mitrofania Island to Sutwik Island, checking almost all the bays and nearly all of the islands along the way. Their arduous trip used a 16-foot inflatable Avon Sportboat with two 25-hp outboard motors.

With no communications except a CB radio that they discovered was not much use and an Emergency Locator Beacon (ELT), they were dropped off on Mitrofania on July 4 spent the next 25 days surveying this rugged, windy area. Today, USFWS does not let personnel do surveys in this fashion as it is considered too dangerous.

More of Nina Fausts Alaska Wilderness videos are available on her youtube channel.