Kenai Refuge Discovery Trip – February 1-3, 2019

Let’s go play in the snow! 

Ever want to experience the Kenai Refuge in winter? Try out ice fishing with people who know what they are doing in a warm ice fishing tent? Then join our Discovery Trip to the Dolly Varden Lake cabin on the Kenai Refuge the weekend of February 1 – 3, 2019.

Enjoy a cozy, off-road, cabin, ice fishing and assisting the refuge!  Ski, snowshoe or probably even walk into the cabin only a mile across the lake from the Dolly Varden campground.   Since the cabin only sleeps 6, we will have a Friday night group and a Saturday night group.  Both cabin groups will help the Refuge with their Saturday Family Ice Fishing event on Dolly Varden Lake.  

Not up for an overnight? Then come out on Saturday just for the day to help with or participate in the Ice Fishing event which will be held right next to the Dolly Varden Campground, 14 miles up the Swanson River Road from Sterling, from 1 to 4 p.m. with set-up at noon.

Times: Friday group will meet at the Dolly Varden campground at 2 p.m. Friday to pack gear and ski, snowshoe, or walk in. We will haul our gear back to our cars by noon Saturday to be ready to help set up the ice fishing event which opens to the public at 1 p.m.

The Saturday cabin group will meet at the Dolly Varden campground about noon to help set up the event and have lunch with staff. Afterwards, we will ski into the cabin and spend the night coming out by noon Sunday.

The cabin overnights are limited to 6 per night with a minimum age of 16.  You must be a current Friend to participate but you can join here

Day trippers who want to help with the ice fishing event should show up at the Dolly Varden campground about noon to help set up. The event is open to the public from 1 to 4 p.m.  The ice fishing event on Saturday is open to all and free. Families are encouraged to attend, and you do not need to be a Friends member.


  • Friday night: Poppy Benson,; (907) 299-0092. Poppy has had 30 years of experience in Alaska and more than that on skis. Poppy is Wilderness First Aid certified and a Friends Board Member.
  • Saturday night: Tim Shipman,; (907) 252-8450. Tim lives in Soldotna and has been hiking and snowshoeing on the Kenai Refuge for 30 years.

Cost: $20 for dinner and breakfast at the cabin plus a hot dog lunch over the fire on Saturday. Bring your own snacks and beverages other than coffee and tea. Contact the trip leaders if you have dietary restrictions.

Equipment needed: Your own personal gear for traveling to and overnighting in a cabin and being out on the ice. The refuge will have ice fishing gear but you might want to bring your own chair or bucket. Contact the trip leaders if you don’t have a way to bring your gear in. A pulk (shown in photo) is the very best for hauling gear but a backpack works too. Bring skis or snowshoes for the mile trip across the lake as snow may be deep. A full equipment list will be supplied to participants.

Weather: The trip will happen unless we have a major blizzard or record low temperatures. The refuge is bringing portable ice fishing tents. The cabin has a stove and will be warm but a winter weight sleeping bag is a good idea.

How to sign up: The overnights will be limited to the first 6 people per night to register and pay but any number can join in on the Saturday ice fishing.   Please fill out the registration form below even if you only plan to go for the day.  You must be a current Friends member to participate in the cabin overnight but you can join here

All participants who are not yet signed up as Fish and Wildlife volunteers will be required to fill out a Volunteer Agreement. Prior to the trip, all participants will be required to sign a liability waiver which will be sent to you.

Please leave your furry friends at home.

Questions about this awesome opportunity to experience the wilds of this refuge in the company of Friends and refuge staff? Please contact Poppy Benson, Outreach Coordinator:

Register for the Kenai Refuge Discovery Trip – Feb 1-3, 2018

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