• Breathtaking autumn colors in Bering Land Bridge National Preserve

    Bering Land Bridge

    National Preserve Alaska

What is Beringia?

Map of present day Alaska, Eastern Russian and the Bering and Chukchi Seas. A green outline indicates the former expanse of land know as Beringia, the Bering Land Bridge.

The green outline indicates the area that was exposed during the last Ice Age, the area now known as Beringia or the Bering Land Bridge.

NPS Photo

About 12,000 years ago during the Last Ice Age, the water level of the oceans was lower, exposing land that today is under the Bering and Chukchi Seas. During the glacial epoch this was part of a migration route for people, animals, and plants. Most archeologists agree that it was across this Bering Land Bridge, also called Beringia, that many human populations first passed from Asia to populate the Americas. The preserve's western boundary lies 42 miles from the Bering Strait and the fishing boundary between the United States and Russia.

Beringia still exists today in the people of Northwest Alaska and the Russian Far East. Though they are separated by water the people of these two areas have common language, traditions, and dependence on the same environment.

 

Established as a national monument in 1978 and then deemed a national preserve in 1980, the Bering Land Bridge National Preserve enforces the culturally significant bond between Russia's and Alaska's shared heritage. BELA also allows scientists and explorers alike to catch a glimpse of the ancient world that the possible first new-world immigrants witnessed.

Full of biological and geological significance, the preserve is home to wonders that spread throughout its 2.7 million acres on the Seward Peninsula ranging from the largest maar lakes in the world,Serpentine Hot Springs, and the Lost Jim Lava Flows. There are no roads leading into the preserve and no need for reservations, so travel opportunities into the rare frontier of BELA are limited. Many visitors and locals are still drawn to its remote location for hiking, bird watching, scientific studies, and to visit Serpentine Hot Springs.

Did You Know?

A bright purple/pink flower called Dwarf Fireweed

More than 400 species of plants have been listed at the in Bering Land Bridge National Preserve. Many of them evolved in ancient Beringia and spread into Asia or North America.