National Parks Alaska
It's more than a mountain.
Denali National Park & Preserve features North
America's highest mountain, 20,320-foot tall Mount
McKinley. The Alaska Range also includes countless
other spectacular mountains and many large glaciers.
Denali's more than 6 million acres also encompass a
complete sub-arctic eco-system with large mammals
such as grizzly bears, wolves, Dall sheep, and
The park was
established as Mt. McKinley National Park on Feb.
26, 1917. The original park was designated a
wilderness area and incorporated into Denali
National Park and Preserve in 1980. The Park was
designated an international biosphere reserve in
park accommodates a wide variety of visitor use
including wildlife viewing, mountaineering, and
backpacking. It continues to provide a laboratory
for research in the natural sciences.
Wrangell-St. Elias National Park
Wrangell, and St. Elias mountain ranges converge
here in what is often referred to as the "mountain
kingdom of North America." The largest unit of the
National Park System and a day's drive east of
Anchorage, the park-preserve includes the
continent's largest assemblage of glaciers and the
greatest collection of peaks above 16,000 feet.
Mount St. Elias, at 18,008 feet, is the second
highest peak in the United States. Adjacent to
Canada's Kluane National Park, the site is
characterized by remote mountains, valleys, wild
rivers, and a variety of wildlife.Proclaimed as
Wrangell-St. Elias National Monument Dec. 1,1978;
established as a national park and preserve Dec. 2,
1980. Wilderness designated Dec. 2, 1980. Designated
a World Heritage Site Oct. 24,1979.
of the Artic National Park
Gates of the Arctic National Park & Preserve (GAAR)
in Alaska's Brooks Range, Congress has reserved a
vast and essentially untouched area of superlative
natural beauty and exceptional scientific value - a
maze of glaciated valleys and gaunt, rugged
mountains covered with boreal forest and arctic
tundra vegetation, cut by wild rivers, and inhabited
by far-ranging populations of caribou, Dall sheep,
wolves, and bears (barren-ground grizzlies and black
bears). Congress recognized that a special value of
the Park and Preserve is its wild and undeveloped
character, and the opportunities it affords for
solitude, wilderness travel, and adventure. Gates of
the Arctic encompasses several congressionally
recognized elements, including the national park,
national preserve, wilderness, six Wild Rivers and
two National Natural Landmarks. The National Park
Service is entrusted to manage this area to protect
its physical resources and to maintain the
intangible qualities of the wilderness and the
opportunity it provides for people to learn and
renew its values.
Lake Clark National
Park and Preserve is a composite of ecosystems
representative of many regions of Alaska. The
spectacular scenery stretches from the shores of
Cook Inlet, across the Chigmit Mountains, to the
tundra covered hills of the western interior. The
Chigmits, where the Alaska and Aleutian Ranges meet,
are an awesome, jagged array of mountains and
glaciers which include two active volcanoes, Mt.
Redoubt and Mt. Iliamna. Lake Clark, 40 miles long,
and many other lakes and rivers within the park are
critical salmon habitat to the Bristol Bay salmon
fishery, one of the largest sockeye salmon fishing
grounds in the world. Numerous lake and river
systems in the park and preserve offer excellent
fishing and wildlife viewing.
The marine wilderness of
Glacier Bay National Park and Preserve provides
opportunities for adventure, a living laboratory for
observing the ebb and flow of glaciers, and a chance
to study life as it returns in the wake of
retreating ice. Amidst majestic scenery, Glacier Bay
offers us now, and for all time, a connection to a
powerful and wild landscape.
The park has
snow-capped mountain ranges rising to over 15,000
feet, coastal beaches with protected coves, deep
fjords, tidewater glaciers, coastal and estuarine
waters, and freshwater lakes. These diverse land and
seascapes host a mosaic of plant communities ranging
from pioneer species in areas recently exposed by
receding glaciers, to climax communities in older
coastal and alpine ecosystems. Diverse habitats
support a variety of marine and terrestrial
wildlife, with opportunities for viewing and
research that allow us to learn more about the
National Park is encircled by the Baird and Waring
mountain ranges. The park povides protection for
several important geographic features, including the
central portion of the Kobuk River, the
25-sqaure-mile Great Kobuk Sand Dunes, and the
Little Kobuk and Hunt River dunes.
by the grinding action of ancient glaciers has been
carried to the Kobuk Valley by both wind and water.
Dunes now cover much of the southern portion of the
Kobuk Valley, where they are naturally stabilized by
vegetation. River bluffs, composed of sand and
standing as high as 150 feet, hold permafrost ice
wedges and the fossils of Ice Age mammals.
Katmai is famous for
volcanoes, brown bears, fish, and rugged wilderness
and is also the site of the Brooks River National
Historic Landmark with North America's highest
concentration of prehistoric human dwellings (about
National Monument was created to preserve the famed
Valley of Ten Thousand Smokes, a spectacular forty
square mile, 100 to 700 foot deep, pyroclastic ash
flow deposited by Novarupta Volcano.
There are at
least fourteen volcanoes in Katmai considered
"active", none of which are currently erupting.
and salmon are very active in Katmai. The number of
brown bears has grown to more than 2,000. During the
peak of the world's largest sockeye salmon run each
July, and during return of the "spawned out" salmon
in September, forty to sixty bears congregate in
Brooks Camp along the Brooks River and the Naknek
Lake and Brooks Lake shorelines. Brown bears along
the 480 mile Katmai Coast also enjoy clams, crabs,
and an occasional whale carcass.
variety of other wildlife is found in the Park as
plenty room for great diversity of wildlife in
Katmai which encompasses millions of acres of
pristine wilderness, with wild rivers and streams,
rugged coastlines, broad green glacial hewn valleys,
active glaciers and volcanoes, and Naknek Lake.
The Kenai Fjords
reflect scenic icebound landscapes in which salt
spray mixes with mountain mist. Located on the
southeastern Kenai Peninsula, the national park is a
pristine and rugged land supporting many unaltered
natural environments and ecosystems.
are long, steep-sided, glacier-carved valleys that
are now filled with ocean waters. A mountain
platform, one mile high, rises above this dramatic
coastline. The mountains are mantled by the
300-square mile Harding Icefield, 35 miles long and
20 miles wide. Only isolated mountain peaks
interrupt its nearly flat, snowclad surface. Exit
Glacier spills off the massive Harding icefield and
is accessible by road.
wildlife includes mountain goats, moose, bears,
wolverines, marmots and other land mammals who have
established themselves on a thin life zone between
marine waters and the icefield's frozen edges. Bald
eagles nest in the tops of spruce and hemlock trees.
Thousands of seabirds, including puffins,
kittiwakes, and murres seasonally inhabit the steep
cliffs and rocky shores. Kayakers, fishermen, and
visitors on tour boats share the park's waters with
stellar sea lions, harbor seals, Dall porpoises, sea
otters, humpback, killer and minke whales.