The ocean and land environments in Glacier Bay National Park and Preserve are closely intertwined. Marine waters make up nearly one fifth of the park and no point of land is more than 30 miles from the coast. This means that the lives of virtually all the animals at Glacier Bay are tied to its productive marine waters or the biologically rich near shore environment.
The park hosts healthy populations of land mammals. The mountain goat and brown bear were quick to reinvade after the glaciers' retreat. The coyote, moose and wolf have moved in more recently, but are now established in the park. Black bears prowl the forested portions of the lower bay, and the glacier bear, a rare color phase of the black bear, is occasionally spotted. River otters are widespread along with marten, mink and weasel, while the wolverine is scarcer and rarely sighted. The Alsek River delta in Glacier Bay National Preserve is home to lynx, snowshoe hare and beaver -- species that have reached the coast from the interior by traveling along the river corridor.
Alaska Wildlife Notebook Series
Did You Know?
Seawater is highly erosive to glacial ice. Waves and tides work away at an unstable glacier face, causing huge chunks of ice to calve, or break off, into the ocean.