Yukon-Charley Rivers Significance
Many visitors, noting the low, rolling hills and general inaccessibility of the Yukon-Charley area, wonder what qualities make it unique in America. The National Park system, after all, encompasses a variety of natural, cultural and historical sites and each one, in its own way, is nationally significant. So just what does make Yukon-Charley Rivers important to our national heritage? In addition to preserving a segment of the Yukon River, one of America's mightiest and most storied wild rivers, the preserve was established to protect many key values.
Maintain the environmental integrity of the Charley River, a designated Wild and Scenic River, including all of its major tributaries.
Protect endemic plant species, fire-driven boreal forests, and habitat for, and populations of, fish and wildlife while offering extraordinary opportunities for scientific research.
One of the few locations in the world where over 600 million years of the earth's geological history is exposed in an uninterrupted sequence of rock and sediment.
Protect and interpret a rich historical, archeological, and ethnographic record of changing lifeways in the upper Yukon River basin.
Provide for human use and enjoyment of a historic and natural landscape.
Specifically, Section 201 of the Alaska National Interest Lands Conservation Act (ANILCA), the enabling legislation for Yukon-Charley Rivers National Preserve, states that the preserve shall be managed for the following purposes, among others:
- To maintain the environmental integrity of the entire Charley River basin, including streams, lakes and other natural features, in its undeveloped natural condition for public benefit and scientific study;
- To protect habitat for, and populations of, fish and wildlife, including but not limited to the peregrine falcons and other raptorial birds, caribou, moose, Dall's sheep, grizzly bears, and wolves;
- And in a manner consistent with the foregoing, to protect and interpret historical sites and events associated with the gold rush on the Yukon River and the geological and paleontological history and cultural prehistory of the area.
Did You Know?
The 1,979 mile long Yukon River flows through Yukon-Charley Rivers for 128 miles at 6-8 mph, to eventually empty into the Bering Sea.