Gates of the Arctic: Untouched Wilderness in America’s Northernmost National Park

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Published on October 4, 2020 by

Gates of the Arctic National Park and Preserve is an American national park that protects portions of the Brooks Range in northern Alaska. The park is the northernmost national park in the United States, situated entirely north of the Arctic Circle. The park is the second largest in the US, slightly larger in area than Belgium. Gates of the Arctic was initially designated as a national monument on December 1, 1978, before being redesignated as a national park and preserve upon passage of the Alaska National Interest Lands Conservation Act in 1980.
A large part of the park has additional protection as the Gates of the Arctic Wilderness that adjoins the Noatak Wilderness. They form the largest contiguous wilderness in the United States together.
Fauna include brown bears, black bears, muskoxen, moose, Dall sheep, timber wolves, wolverines, coyotes, lynxes, marmots, porcupines, river otters, red and Arctic fox species, beavers, snowshoe hares, muskrats, bald eagles, golden eagles, peregrine falcons, ospreys, great horned and northern hawk-owls. More than half a million caribou, including the Central Arctic, Western Arctic, Teshekpuk, and Porcupine herds, migrate through the central Brooks Range twice yearly, traveling north in summer, and south in winter. Caribou are important as a food source to native peoples. The park is the northernmost range limit for the Dall sheep. About 132 brown bears reside in the park and preserve, based on a density of about one bear per 100 square miles.

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