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Bogoslof Wilderness

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Steller sea lions and northern fur seals lounge on the beach of the Bogoslof Wilderness on an overcast day.
Library image #2006: Steller sea lions and northern fur seals, Bogoslof Island, westside, 1973.


The United States Congress designated the Bogoslof Wilderness (map) in 1970 and it now has a total of 175 acres. All of this wilderness is located in Alaska and is managed by the Fish and Wildlife Service.


Russians believed that they heard the "voice of God" (bogoslof) as a fiery eruption lifted Bogoslof Island from the cold Bering Sea around 1796. Bogoslof and little Fire Island (about five acres) became Wilderness in 1970 and a subunit of the Aleutian Islands Unit of the Alaska Maritime National Wildlife Refuge in 1980. An active volcanic island, Bogoslof has undergone change as recently as 1993. A single rugged spire, Castle Rock, stands above the island's rocky beaches and black lava. Vegetation on this domed and treeless isle is typical of the Aleutians: grasses, sedges, heath. As many as 90,000 murres, kittiwakes, puffins, and gulls nest here. A rookery of fur seals has grown in size, while a sea lion rookery that peaked with about 5,000 individuals has shrunk.

North of Unalaska Island, Bogoslof is difficult to access and rarely seen except over the gunwales of passing fishing boats. Winds blow almost constantly during cool foggy summers and mild foggy winters. Although the Bering Sea does not freeze here, storms come often and remain long, violently hurling wind and waves against the barren shoreline. The few boats that do arrive find no anchorages, coming only at risk and with special permission of the refuge manager for scientific or educational purposes.

Planning to Visit the Bogoslof Wilderness?

Leave No Trace

How to follow the seven standard Leave No Trace principles differs in different parts of the country (desert vs. Rocky Mountains). Click on any of the principles listed below to learn more about how they apply in the Bogoslof Wilderness.
  1. Plan Ahead and Prepare
  2. Travel and Camp on Durable Surfaces
  3. Dispose of Waste Properly
  4. Leave What You Find
  5. Minimize Campfire Impacts
  6. Respect Wildlife
  7. Be Considerate of Other Visitors
For more information on Leave No Trace, Visit the Leave No Trace, Inc. website.