Working at Kenai Backcountry Lodge

Alaska Wildland Adventures (AWA) owns and operates Kenai Backcountry Lodge (KBL), which is located in the boundaries of Kenai National Wildlife Refuge. Kenai Backcountry Lodge is a separate operation, but there is a great deal of interchange between Kenai Riverside Lodge (AWA’s headquarters for summer operations) and KBL. Many of AWA’s all-inclusive trips spend 2-3 nights at KBL, and independent travelers can book into KBL packages as well. KBL offers a special opportunity for travelers to intimately experience the wilderness of the Kenai National Wildlife Refuge.

The lodge, which is accessible only by boat, is located on the shore of glacier-carved Skilak Lake and was originally built as a historic hunting lodge in the 1930s. The lodge later became a private inholding after the creation of Kenai National Wildlife Refuge. We have worked hard to protect and preserve the natural environment on the lodge property. In accordance with these goals, we have kept the overall capacity low, accommodating only 16-18 guests at a time.

The lodge is surrounded by hundreds of miles of wilderness, and there are a few considerations to working in such a remote location. First, it can be hard to get away from the lodge on days off. It is a 20-40 minute boat ride to a public access boat ramp (if the lake is calm enough to cross), which gives access to a gravel road and is the only route to the nearest highway. Once you reach the highway, it’s then another 3-hour drive to Anchorage or a 1-hour drive to the smaller cities of Soldotna and Kenai. The main activity for time off tends to be exploration and backpacking. Of course, that is part of the attraction, but if you are inclined to cabin fever you will want to consider the limitations. We have a lot of fun as a staff, but you will be spending a lot of time with the 6-8 other KBL staff members the whole summer. A sense of humor, and the ability to get along with all sorts of people, is very helpful, if not a prerequisite.

Since the lodge is a small and remote operation, staff members need to be able to do a little bit of everything. Tasks often include: dish washing, housekeeping, maintenance, driving to town for supplies and/or guest pick up/drop-offs, shuttling equipment and people across the lake, and the willingness to help out a guest in need at any time!

Community Living Mission Statement

At Alaska Wildland Adventures, we seek highly motivated, personable and respectful employees to spend their summers with us. We have high standards from all staff in community relations, group living skills and stewardship of the surrounding land.

Community Relations

Our facility is located near the small community of Cooper Landing, and with our summer staff in the area numbering over 65 people (including those at Kenai Riverside Lodge), our impact on our neighbors can be significant and potentially negative. We ask that staff members respect the community and use discretion when attending public venues in the town, whether they are the library, grocery store, a softball game or local restaurants and bars. As a representative of Alaska Wildland Adventures, be considerate and courteous to the community, both on and off duty.

Group Living

At KBL, staff are housed in two-person Yukon tents with limited amenities. Some creature comforts are available in facilities shared by staff: where meals are served; the bathroom, with showers, toilets, and sinks for staff; and a quiet cabin, for reading, game playing and watching movies.

We become family-like in many ways, for better or worse, during our time at this facility. This requires respect for oneself as well as peers and co-workers. We have established guidelines for the communal areas to provide a positive group living experience for all staff members, including quiet hours and housekeeping of communal areas. You will be asked to take part in communal living maintenance throughout the season.

These guidelines may be less than or more than what you do in your own space. We try to allow for the greatest flexibility with a minimal impact on the health and well-being of the entire staff.


In order to provide excellent customer service to our guests and promote a stable group living environment, we strongly encourage staff to explore and take advantage of the numerous recreational opportunities that abound in the local area. Quality days off are needed to maintain the busy pace of our operations. Staff must be self-motivated to get out and appreciate the surrounding landscape, and learn what the Kenai Peninsula has to offer. The scenic natural beauty and grandeur of Alaska is a primary attraction for all of our staff, and we ask that our employees respect and care for this natural resource to benefit future generations.

The success of Alaska Wildland Adventures depends on the actions of our high quality staff. We ask all staff to use tact, respect and common sense during all interactions with the community of Cooper Landing, other staff members and the surrounding landscape. Staff members ability to co-exist harmoniously with other staff is equally important as delivering top quality service to our clientele.

Benefits Package
  • Housing is free. Click here to see some photos of typical staff housing.
    • Two staff of the same gender share a tent cabin; staff provide their own linens and blankets.
  • Food is provided free of cost. There is a stocked staff kitchen for breakfast and lunch, and a chef-prepared staff dinner is served daily.
  • Use of wood-fired sauna, sea kayaks and paddleboards.
  • One free 2-day visit to one of our lodges, once a summer, depending on space available. Either…
    • Kenai Fjords Glacier Lodge, which is nestled in the heart of Kenai Fjords National Park and includes a 3.5 hour whale watching and tidewater glacier cruise from Seward to the Glacier Lodge and back, or
    • Kenai Riverside Lodge, located on the scenic Kenai River and accessible via the Sterling Highway.
  • Discounts on AWA trips and lodging for friends and family.
  • Lots of staff social events, adventure partners (hiking, biking, fishing, boating, seeing live music, etc.), dance parties and a huge costume supply.
  • Performance-based bonuses and employee profit-sharing, when applicable.
  • Guest tips split fairly among staff.

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