Alaska wilderness is unique. About 95% of National Park Service land in Alaska has some wilderness protection, and accounts for about 30% of the nation’s wilderness. Including areas managed by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service and U.S. Forest Service, Alaska has more than 57 million acres of designated wilderness: watersheds, mountain ranges, glaciers, wetlands, coastlines, volcanoes, tundra, forests, and wild and scenic rivers. Homelands of Indigenous peoples that are now also recognized as wilderness are the culmination of thousands of years of Indigenous land stewardship.
WILDERNESS INSPIRES. Alaska is one of the few places in the United States that has large, intact natural landscapes. These large areas allow ecosystems to function naturally. This includes mass migrations of caribou and the natural disturbance of fire that creates a mosaic of vegetation communities. Large, naturally functioning ecosystems are also more resilient to and allow species to better adapt to climate change. These dynamic areas offer clean air and water, habitat protection, and support mental and physical health. Together, the benefits of wilderness show that wilderness is good for us, our communities, and our planet.
WILDERNESS AWAITS. People belong in wilderness and can find many ways to use and value wilderness lands and waters. Wilderness areas are devoted to the public purposes of recreational, scenic, scientific, educational, conservation, and historical use. Alaska wilderness areas continue to support traditional lifeways for Indigenous people, help provide for the continuation of a subsistence lifestyle for local communities, support diverse wildlife populations, protect archaeological resources, and provide a setting for unparalleled wilderness recreation.
Learn more about wilderness throughout the National Park Service.
Researchers: Learn more about conducting wilderness research in Alaska's national parks.
Last updated: November 5, 2021