What Is the History of Kavik River Camp in Alaska?

The Kavik River Camp was once an old oil exploration camp, used as a base by energy firms while looking for oil and natural gas on Alaska’s North Slope. It is now a wilderness nature camp adjacent to the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge that caters to hunters, fishermen, nature lovers and film crews. One of its most famous guests was Sarah Palin, who went to Kavik on a hunting trip with her family.

The camp’s owner, Sue Aikens, is featured on the National Geographic reality show “Life Below Zero,” as of August 2015. From early June until late September, Aikens runs a bed and breakfast and entertains guests who don’t mind vacationing in grizzly bear country. The rest of the year she lives alone, toughing out the sunless days of winter above the Arctic Circle. Guests are welcome year-round, with prior notice, but not many brave the minus 60 degrees Fahrenheit weather, snow drifts and strong winds.

The camp is 500 miles north of Fairbanks and 80 miles from the nearest road. The only way in is by air. The adjacent Kavik Strip Airport, also a remnant of the oil exploration days, is the camp’s lifeline to the world. Aikens maintains this facility as well. The airport has a gravel strip, running lights and sells aviation gas and jet fuel.