Nature & Science
Katmai was declared a national monument in 1918 to preserve the living laboratory of its cataclysmic 1912 volcanic eruption, particularly the Valley of Ten Thousand Smokes. The intervening years have seen most of the geothermal features cool, but the protection of brown bears has become an equally compelling charge for Katmai. To protect this magnificent animal and its varied habitat, the boundaries were extended over the years, and in 1980 the area was designated a national park and preserve. Katmai's awe-inspiring natural powers confront us most visibly in its volcanics and its brown bears.