Archeological, ethnographic, and historic research tell us that people first came to the Lake Clark region around the end of the last ice age. Dena'ina Athabascans, Yup'ik, Russian explorers, gold prospectors and trappers, and American pioneers are the forebears of today's residents.

Six people fishing by a lakeside with nets. There are mountains in the distance.
Fishing for salmon is a way of life for many people living in bush Alaska.

NPS photo


The Dena'ina Athabascan People

Alaska Natives settled in this region some time after the close of the Last Great Ice Age -- 14,000 years ago. Dena'ina, Alutiiq, Yup'ik and other groups have interacted with one another over the centuries, through warfare as well as trading and peaceable exchanges. Today, six Resident Zone Communities are identified for Lake Clark National Park and Preserve.


Richard L. Proenneke

The source of Sam Keith's book, One Man's Wilderness: An Alaskan Odyssey, Richard Louis Proenneke (1916-2003) embodies humanity's fascination with wilderness. Born in Iowa, he worked as a farmhand and rancher before joining the Navy the day after the bombing of Pearl Harbor. In 1949, he made his first visit to Alaska at the invitation of a friend. Two decades later, Proenneke set off on a path toward a life defined by the struggles and triumphs of a life lived in wilderness. Read more about Dick Proenneke's wilderness experiences.


Can People Still Practice Traditional Subsistence?

Yes! The Alaska National Interest Lands Conservation Act (ANILCA), the enabling legislation for Lake Clark National Park and Preserve and other Alaska public lands, stipulates that local rural people may continue subsistence practices on federal lands, including the park and preserve. Learn more about subsistence use in Lake Clark National Park and Preserve

Black and white photo of two men with salmon backbones and beaver feet taken in the early 1940s.

History & Culture

Lake Clark has a rich cultural tradition going back 10,000 years that includes Native Alaskans, American homesteaders, and Dick Proenneke.

Last updated: February 27, 2018

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Mailing Address:

PO Box 226
Port Alsworth, AK 99653


(907) 781-2218

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