Gates of the Arctic National Park and Preserve

Gates of the Arctic National Park and Preserve

Infobox_protected_area | name = Gates of the Arctic National Park and Preserve
iucn_category = Ib



caption =
locator_x = 31
locator_y = 145
location = Yukon-Koyukuk Census Area, North Slope Borough, and Northwest Arctic Borough, Alaska USA
nearest_city = Fairbanks
lat_degrees = 67
lat_minutes = 47
lat_seconds = 0
lat_direction = N
long_degrees = 153
long_minutes = 18
long_seconds = 0
long_direction = W
area = 8,472,506 acres (34,287 km²)
established = December 2, 1980
visitation_num = 10,924
visitation_year = 2007
governing_body = National Park Service

Gates of the Arctic National Park and Preserve is a U.S. National Park in Alaska. It is the northernmost national park in the U.S. (the entirety of the park lies north of the Arctic Circle) and the second largest at 13,238 mi² (39,460 km²), about the same size as Switzerland. The park consists primarily of portions of the Brooks Range of mountains. It was first protected as a U.S. National Monument on December 1, 1978, before becoming a national park and preserve two years later in 1980 upon passage of the Alaska National Interest Lands Conservation Act. A large part of the park is preserved as a wilderness area; some 11,321 mi² (29,322 km²) of wilderness which with the adjoining Noatak Wilderness Area forms the largest contiguous wilderness in the United States. The park's name dates to 1929, when wilderness activist Bob Marshall, exploring the North Fork of the Koyukuk River, encountered a pair of mountains (Frigid Crags and Boreal Mountain), one on each side of the river. He christened this portal the "Gates of the Arctic." [http://www.nps.gov/gaar/planyourvisit/hours.htm]

Unusual for a U.S. national park, some 1,500 people reside in 10 small communities in the park's "resident subsistence zone" where they rely on park resources for survival.

There are no established roads, trails, visitor facilities, or campgrounds in the park. However, the Dalton Highway (Alaska State Highway 11) comes within five miles (8 km) of the park's eastern boundary. The National Park Service maintains a small visitor center in nearby Coldfoot on the highway.

The geography contains the arête-peaked Brooks Range and rolling valleys of wild tundra. Fauna include moose, barren-ground grizzlies, Dall sheep, black bears, wolves, and caribou.

The park contains mountains such as the Arrigetch Peaks and Mount Igikpak. The park also features six Wild and Scenic Rivers:
*Alatna River 83 miles (134 km)
*John River 52 miles (84 km)
*Kobuk River 110 miles (177 km)
*the North Fork of the Koyukuk River 102 miles (164 km)
*part of the Noatak River
*Tinayguk River 44 miles (71 km)

External links

* Official site: [http://www.nps.gov/gaar/ Gates Of The Arctic National Park and Preserve]
* [http://www.nps.gov/gaar/Expanded/visitor_info/student_guide.htm NPS visitor guide for Gates of the Arctic]


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