This large habitat supports so many moose, Dall sheep, bears, salmon, and other wildlife that it was designated a refuge by President Roosevelt in 1941. The Alaska National Interest Lands Act of 1980 changed the name from Kenai National Moose Range and expanded the refuge to its present 2 million acres, managed by the federal Fish and Wildlife Service (907/262-7021, http://kenai.fws.gov ). A visitors center is at the refuge headquarters  on Ski Hill Road in Soldotna .
An information cabin is at Mile 58, right at the junction of the Sterling Highway and the dusty 19-mile Skilak Lake Loop Road. Stop here to pick up a copy of the refuge’s annual newspaper, with details on day hikes, wildlife viewing, fishing, canoeing, picnicking, and camping.
The big action in this neck of the woods is along the Loop Road, where you’ll find five different campgrounds (free–$10); Hidden Lake Campground features campfire programs and guided walks on summer weekends. In addition to those along Skilak Lake, three other Fish and Wildlife Service campgrounds are on the Sterling Highway between Cooper Landing  and Sterling.
Oil was discovered in 1957 in the northern wilderness near the Swanson River, and an 18-mile gravel road built to the oilfields also opened up this lake-studded lowlands. Approximately 13 miles in on Swanson River Road is Dolly Varden Lake Campground. It is free and uncrowded, has nice views, is right on the lake, and has frequent moose visits.
For additional information about the campgrounds, more than a dozen trails, and hundreds of miles of boating and fishing waterways, inquire at the Fish and Wildlife Service greeting cabin or their headquarters in Soldotna .