About the Arctic

Bering Land Bridge in the fall
Bering Land Bridge National Preserve in the fall.
The National Park Service manages approximately 18% of the U.S. lands above the Arctic Circle, 20.25 million acres protected in five parks, 17.55 million acres of which are mostly connected. This region is critical breeding ground for many shorebirds, some of which migrate thousands of miles to get here. Caribou herds, also migratory, have calving grounds and wintering grounds in the Arctic tundra. Some species are specific to the Arctic, such as polar bears, muskoxen, Arctic foxes, among others. The Arctic is a harsh, yet fragile, environment and the people, plants, and wildlife adapt to the conditions to live there.
A caribou skull in the Oolah Valley of Gates of the Arctic.
More About Arctic Science

Learn more about the Arctic region, its ecosystems, people, and history.

Sockeye salmon in spawning colors.
Arctic Report Card 2023

The Arctic is increasingly warmer, less frozen, and wetter, with regional extremes in weather, climate patterns, and ecosystem responses.

An archaeologist takes notes at a dig high in the Brooks Range.
Arctic Archaeology

Inupiaq and Athabascan people and their ancestors traveled long distances over rough terrain throughout the central Brooks Range.

A snowshoe hare is perfectly camoflagued in the snow.
Arctic Wildlife

Wildlife in the Arctic are particularly adapted for the climate and environment.

The winter twilight of the coast of Cape Krusenstern
Arctic Coast

The ecosystems along the Arctic coast are biologically diverse and culturally important.

Exposed yedoma permafrost along an eroding coastline.

Permafrost underlies Alaska's Arctic parks and parts of other interior parks; it influences many facets of park ecosystems.

A polar bear on a chunk of ice in the Beaufort Sea.
High-latitude Climate Change

The Arctic is warming more than twice the global average. Learn more about the many facets of a warming climate and its impacts.

Last updated: December 14, 2023