Maritime Heritage Program
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Maritime-Related National Parks in Alaska
- During World War II, the remote Aleutian Islands, home to the Unangan (Aleut) people for over 8,000 years, became a fiercely contested battleground in the Pacific. This thousand-mile-long archipelago saw invasion by Japanese forces, the only American soil occupied in the war; a mass internment of American civilians; a 15-month air war; and one of the deadliest battles in the Pacific theater.
- North of the Arctic Circle, the monument forms 70 miles of shoreline on the Chukchi Sea. More than 114 beach ridges provide evidence of human use for 5,000 years.? The Iñupiat continue to use the area today. Vast wetlands provide habitat for shorebirds from as far away as South America. Hikers and boaters can see carpets of wildflowers among shrubs containing wisps of qiviut from muskoxen.
- Covering 3.3 million acres of rugged mountains, dynamic glaciers, temperate rainforest, wild coastlines, and deep sheltered fjords, Glacier Bay National Park is a highlight of Alaska's Inside Passage and part of a 25-million acre World Heritage Site—one of the world?s largest international protected areas. From summit to sea, Glacier Bay offers limitless opportunities for adventure and inspiration.
- On the rooftop of the world, the Iñupiat Heritage Center in Barrow, Alaska, tells the story of the I?at people. They have thrived for thousands of years in one of the harshest climates on Earth, hunting the bowhead, or "Agviq." In the nineteenth century, these lonely seas swarmed with commercial whalemen from New England, who also sought the bowhead for its valuable baleen and blubber.
- At the edge of the Kenai Peninsula lies a land where the ice age lingers. Nearly 40 glaciers flow from the Harding Icefield, Kenai Fjords' crowning feature. Wildlife thrives in icy waters and lush forests around this vast expanse of ice. Native Alutiiq relied on these resources to nurture a life entwined with the sea. Today, shrinking glaciers bear witness to the effects of our changing climate.
- On an island amid towering spruce and hemlock, Sitka National Historical Park preserves the site of a battle between invading Russian traders and indigenous Kiks.ádi Tlingit. Park visitors are awed by Tlingit and Haida totem poles standing along the park?s scenic coastal trail. The restored Russian Bishop?s House speaks of Russia?s little known colonial legacy in North America.
World War II Valor in the Pacific National Monument (also in CA, HI)
- World War II Valor in the Pacific National Monument preserves and interprets the stories of the Pacific War, including the events at Pearl Harbor, the internment of Japanese Americans, the battles in the Aleutian Islands, and the occupation of Japan.
- Located in Interior Alaska, Yukon-Charley Rivers offers exploration in a largely untouched landscape. Whether you float the mighty Yukon River or paddle the Charley River's whitewater, your memories will last a lifetime. Geology, cultural history, gold rush remnants, wildlife, and vast scenery will be a part of your experience. But, the strongest element will be solitude.
Are you interested in other historic maritime resources in Alaska? We have information about historic lighthouses and light stations.