Welcome to the eleven million acres, thousands of miles of river and coastline, hundreds of unnamed mountain peaks, and seemingly boundless, untrammeled Arctic wilderness preserved within the 4 National Park Service managed sites of the Western Arctic National Parklands.
Ponder the questions of human migration from Asia to the Americas while browsing through our Visitor Center in Nome, or while soaking in the geothermal pools in the surreal landscape of Serpentine Hot Springs in Bering Land Bridge National Preserve.
See thousands of birds including Asian species. View muskoxen, ice age relics that still inhabit the wild coastlines of Bering Land Bridge or Cape Krusenstern National Monument. Admire the antiquity of Cape Krusenstern's beaches and the stories they tell of thousands of years of change in the Chukchi Sea and of the Inupiaq culture that continues to thrive on its shores.
Marvel at sand dunes above the Arctic Circle that are crossed by wolf tracks and framed in summer green by the northern extent of the boreal forest. Let your senses take in the beauty of the Jade and Waring Mountains. The vast Arctic sand dune fields, boreal forests, rivers and mountains of Kobuk Valley National Park provide amazing opportunities to witness the migration of hundreds of thousands of caribou as they follow the sun. You can experience these seasonal rhythms for yourself as you migrate through the interactive exhibit at our Visitor Center in Kotzebue.
Noatak National Preserve protects the largest mountain-ringed river basin in the United States unaffected by technological human activity. The 6 million acre preserve overlays the Noatak River basin which is bounded by the DeLong Mountains in the north and Baird Mountains in the south. Float the canyons of the Noatak River and cherish the opportunity to experience a truly wild, freely-functioning ecosystem. The diversity of flora is among the greatest anywhere in the earth's northern latitudes. The area is prime habitat for the barren ground caribou, grizzly bear, moose and wolves. Hundreds of thousands of caribou cross the Noatak River twice a year during their annual migrations.
The 4 parks of Western Arctic National Parklands offer wilderness, wildlife and cultural experiences with few global counterparts. I hope you have an opportunity to visit this amazing landscape someday-but you need to be prepared. Please enjoy the information provided on our pages, but also heed the advice if you plan a visit.
Changes are occurring even in this remote area. The Inupiat and the landscape provide evidence of changes caused by global climate change. It is imperative that we learn from and prepare for the changes that are coming. Please enjoy the many recreational opportunities that these parks offer, but also please take the time to learn about the many ongoing research projects that tell the story of the past, present and future of these amazing places.
Did You Know?
In 1980, with the passage of ANILCA (Alaska National Interest Lands Conservation Act), much of the traditional homeland of the Inupiat Eskimos of Northwest Alaska became national parks, preserves, monuments, and wildlife refuges.