Uptick in COVID numbers prompt some changes to Wildlife Refuge Visitor Center’s programming

The Kodiak National Wildlife Refuge’s Visitor Center will be suspending some in-person kids programs this month due to high COVID-19 numbers.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recently moved the Kodiak Island Borough into a “high” risk level of community transmission for the virus. The Borough has seen 39 new cases of the COVID over the last seven days, according to the CDC.

The Kodiak National Wildlife Refuge Visitor Center (Photo: Erin Strand/USFWS)

Natalie Fath is the manager of the refuge’s visitor center in downtown Kodiak. She said the facility will still be open to the public, but visitors will need to mask up in accordance with federal guidelines for the Department of the Interior, which oversees the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service. And it’s pausing some kids programs in the interim. 

“We’ll be suspending the indoor F.U.N. and W.I.L.D. programs for the month of July,” said Fath.

Those are the free nature and wildlife programs for families with young children. 

Although, Fath says that families can pick up take-home activity kits from the Visitor Center weekly on Wednesdays at 10 a.m. through the month of July while the in-person programs are suspended.

The Kodiak National Wildlife Refuge’s Visitor Center reopened over Crab Fest weekend this year for the first time since the pandemic began in March of 2020.

The Kodiak Island Borough’s Emergency Services Council stopped reporting COVID-19 numbers last spring due to low cases of the virus. Information about local and statewide COVID numbers is available on the Alaska Department of Health’s COVID-19 dashboard.

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