Exploring Lake Clark National Park in Alaska

Lake Clark is one of the National Park System’s true gems—a large sliver of all of the best parts of Alaska rolled into one easy-to-get-to place. It is almost as if Mother Nature created it with explorers in mind, offering diverse environments for mountaineers, backpackers, paddlers, big-game fisherman, hikers, and photographers to play in. The lake that bares the park’s...

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Parts of the Valdez-Eagle Trail can still be walked

In the wake of the Klondike Gold Rush, U.S. Army Captain P.H. Ray was sent to Alaska in 1897 to investigate rumors of unrest among gold seekers along the U.S. portion of the Yukon River. During his travels, Ray heard from prospectors clamoring for an “All-American” route to the Yukon gold fields that would bypass the Canadian-controlled White Pass and Chilkoot Trails....

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Trail to the past: Recreating a 1968 hike

Last year, a former Eielson airman asked for help identifying the location of an Interior hill he climbed in 1968. Fairbanks history buffs and hiking enthusiasts rushed to help him. First, they identified the location of his hike from his old photographs.Then, last month, they took him hiking there when he flew in from Kentucky to re-create the hike. Bob Pettit’s main...

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Legal challenges over Exxon Valdez sputter to an end

When the sun set just after 8 pm on March 23, 1989, nothing was amiss in Alaska’s Prince William Sound. The ocean lapped at rocky, seaweed-strewn beaches, boats dotted the horizon, and thousands of sea otters floated serenely on their backs. But all that changed the following morning, when the Exxon Valdez tanker ran aground and hemorrhaged 11 million gallons of crude...

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Shell’s giving up drilling in the Arctic Ocean. Now what?

On Sept. 28, 2015, Shell captured national attention when it announced that the exploratory well it drilled in hopes of extracting the first barrels of oil from Alaska’s Chukchi Sea was a bust. The company didn’t strike enough oil to make further exploration economically viable. Effective immediately, it’s backing out of the Arctic Ocean “for the foreseeable future.”...

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Alaska Entering New Era for Wildfires

Alaska, the great northern frontier of America, is being reshaped by climate change. While rising temperatures are altering its character and landscape, they are also bringing the ravages of wildfires. In the past 60 years, Alaska has warmed more than twice as fast as the rest of the country, with average temperatures up by nearly 3°F. By 2050, temperatures are projected...

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Majestic glaciers in Alaska: Then and now

If you’re looking at something but don’t have anything to compare it to, it’s hard to know what’s really going on. Maybe you meet someone for the first time and think they look a little sick, so you think they’re not doing too well. But if you had met them a year ago when they were terminally ill, you’d think that today’s health was a...

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Botanists find rare moss in Alaska’s Wrangell-St. Elias National Park

A rare type of moss never before spotted on U.S. soil has been discovered growing in Alaska’s Wrangell-Elias National Park, scientists reported in a study published in the journal Evansia. A routine plant survey, part of a National Park Service program intended to create baseline data about the vegetation in three Interior Alaska national parks, turned up a moss of the...

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Hiking to Granite Basin, Alaska

There are two principal ways to get to Granite Basin, and on a wonderfully warm and sunny day in early August, the Parks and Recreation Hiking Group used both of them. Nine strong hikers aimed for Mount Juneau and the Juneau Ridge; they spent 10 hours on the loop from the top of the mountain, along the ridge and down through Granite Basin. They reported seeing goats and...

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Drunken Trees: Dramatic Signs of Climate Change

Sarah James, an Alaska Native elder, says global warming is radically changing her homeland. Even the forests no longer grow straight. Melting ground has caused trees to tilt or fall. “Because permafrost melts, it causes a lot of erosion,” says James, who lives in Arctic Village, a small Native American village in northeastern Alaska. “A lot of trees...

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Denali National Park: The Complete Visitors Guide

Winter is the time for dreaming, and planning the following summer’s vacation, which makes Bill Sherwonit’s book on Denali National Park a good resource to turn to. True, many of us might never make it to Alaska to visit Denali. But Denali National Park: The Complete Visitors Guide To The Mountain, Wildlife, And Year-Round Outdoor Activities entices us not...

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Massive Landslide Closes Denali Park Road

A massive landslide has closed the Denali Park Road at Mile 37 in Denali National Park, covering the road with an estimated 30,000 yards of material that will take crews days if not weeks to remove. The slide is west of Tattler Creek, on the section of road going up to Sable Pass. The slide, which covers approximately 200 feet of the road in depths of up to 35 feet, was...

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Chugach Children’s Forest – Get Out. Go Wild. Change the Future.

The Chugach Children’s Forest is a partnership led by Alaska Geographic and the USDA Forest Service. A symbolic designation for the entire Chugach National Forest, the Chugach Children’s Forest creates exciting opportunities for Alaska’s youth and communities to connect with the magnificent Chugach National Forest and neighboring public lands. The Chugach National Forest...

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Denali National Park’s History Rooted in Preservation

Mention Denali National Park and the first image people may envision is the 20,320-foot mountain the park surrounds. While Denali, North America’s highest peak, may be the cornerstone of the park today, it’s not the reason the land was set aside nearly a century ago by congress. In fact, it was something much smaller that provided the reason for the land...

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Hikers rescued trying to reach ‘Into the Wild’ bus

A second set of hikers this summer have had to be rescued after trying to reach a famed abandoned Fairbanks city bus in the Alaska wilderness, after the book and movie “Into the Wild” made the remote bus famous. A group of three hikers had to be lifted out of the wilderness on June 25, the Fairbanks Daily News-Miner reported. A helicopter delivered the three...

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You’re Invited To Help Denali National Park Staff Maintain Trails

Want to know what it takes to provide trails for visitors in Denali National Park? Come join the Denali trail crew on Saturday, June 1, and celebrate National Trails Day by helping with annual maintenance activities on the Mount Healy Overlook Trail. Volunteers will help the National Park Service trail crew with hauling brush, repairing drainage ditches, and other trail...

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Avalanche Experts Warn It Could Be A Dangerous Season

While outdoor enthusiast are anxious to get on the back country slopes avalanche experts are warning them to be prepared as conditions are dangerous. Wendy Wagner with the Chugach National Forest Avalanche Information Center advises people to check conditions at their website before heading out. A popular outdoor enthusiast area is Turnagain Pass, Alaska. Despite minimal...

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Denali Park Road closed for winter

The 92-mile road that leads into Denali National Park and Preserve is closed at Mile 3 near park headquarters, and the winter trailhead has been established at the headquarters gate in anticipation of more snow. The park has received only about 5 inches of snow near park headquarters, and the snow cover is currently marginal for winter recreational activities such as...

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National Park Service Recovers Fuel Pods, Debris in Northwest Alaska

The National Park Service says it has completed a five-year-long project to remove heavy debris from areas it oversees in Northwest Alaska – including more than two dozen military fuel pods, mostly from F-4 Phantom II fighter jets. According to NPS spokesperson John Quinley, the aluminum pods – which measure about 15 feet long and weigh about 450 pounds each...

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Alaska: Reflections from a Guest in the Wilderness

You can read about it and dream about going, but nothing compares with actually seeing it in person. Alaska, our 49th state, is an extraordinary place. This 582,000-square-mile parcel of land is sometimes referred to as “Seward’s folly,” after Secretary of State William Seward, who orchestrated its purchase in 1867 despite ridicule from his contemporaries. Contrary to...

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Vehicle cap on the way for Denali National Park Road

The National Park Service will limit the number of vehicles allowed on the wilderness portion of Denali Park Road at 160 per day starting in 2015, but that still represents a potential sizable increase in traffic on the only road leading into Alaska’s premier national park. The 160-vehicle-per-day cap will replace the current seasonal limit of 10,512 vehicles allowed on...

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Following Bigfoot along Crow Pass Trail, quintessential Alaska hike

Relaxing in the warm mid-day sun, with not a breath of wind, one thinks about the early pioneers who drove dog teams over this pass more than 100 years ago. This was part of the Iditarod Trail to Nome and in elevation, the highest point they would reach on the 1,150-mile trip. After a steep ascent from Girdwood, when they reached this point they probably breathed a sigh...

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Denali National Park Marking National Trails Day With New Hiking Trail

A new trail is coming to Denali National Park and Preserve, and in honor of National Trails Day the general public is being invited to help with the construction. The Savage Alpine Trail will run 4.5 miles through forest and across tundra. On National Trails Day, June 2, volunteers are being invited to help park crews build a 150-foot boardwalk. “This event is a...

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Denali National Park an Alaska crown jewel

When an Alaskan says “the mountain is out” there is no doubt which mountain is filling the horizon. It is Mount McKinley, or “Denali” as most Alaskans call it. The 20,320-foot massif is the tallest mountain in North America. It is often covered by clouds, but when visible, it is a magnificent sight. The mountain is not the reason Denali National Park and Preserve was...

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NPS contemplates extending guided hiking on frontcountry trails in Denali NP

The original reason for limiting commercial guided use to parties camping at the Savage River Campground was to limit commercial traffic on the Park Road beyond the Denali Visitor Center. Additionally most of the Savage Alpine Trail is in designated Wilderness, and park managers were concerned about the impact of numerous commercially guided groups on wilderness...

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