Glacier Bay National Park and Preserve

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Glacier Bay National Park and Preserve is a United States National Park and a UNESCO World Heritage Site that is in the Panhandle of the state of Alaska. The park is best known for its massive glaciers, but is also an ideal destination for those seeking wildlife, kayaking, or simply a chance to get away.

Glacier Bay National Park and Preserve, USA
Glacier Bay National Park and Preserve, USA

Subsequent to an expansion of the monument by President Jimmy Carter in 1978, the Alaska National Interest Lands Conservation Act enlarged the national monument by 523,000 acres on December 2, 1980 and in the process created Glacier Bay National Park and Preserve, with 57,000 additional acres of public land designated as national preserve to the immediate northwest of the park in order to protect a portion of the Alsek River and related fish and wildlife habitats while allowing sport hunting.

Glacier Bay National Park and Preserve, USA

Glacier Bay became part of a binational UNESCO World Heritage Site in 1979, was inscribed as a Biosphere Reserve in 1986 and in 1994 undertook an obligation to work with Hoonah and Tlingit Native American organizations in the management of the protected area. In total the park and preserve cover 5,130 square miles. Most of Glacier Bay is designated wilderness area which covers 4,164 square miles.

Glacier Bay National Park and Preserve, USA
Glacier Bay National Park and Preserve, USA

About 80% of visitors to Glacier Bay arrive on cruise ships. The National Park Service operates cooperative programs where rangers provide interpretive services aboard the ships and on the smaller boats that offer excursion trips to more distant park features. In-park accommodations are available at the Glacier Park Lodge. The park and preserve hosts many outdoor activities such as hiking, camping, mountaineering, kayaking, rafting, fishing, and bird-watching. Unlike many other national parks in Alaska, subsistence hunting is not allowed in the park, only in the preserve.

Glacier Bay National Park and Preserve, USA
Glacier Bay National Park and Preserve, USA

Sport hunting and trapping are also allowed in the preserve. To hunt and trap, you must have all required licenses and permits and follow all other state regulations. The National Park Service and the State of Alaska cooperatively manage the wildlife resources of the Preserve. Campers and hunters should be aware that brown bears are common in the Preserve and be prepared to avoid conflicts with them.

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