Rocks and minerals can be found in your own backyard. Explore the world around you and learn about the history of the formation of the Earth by studying geology. We've gathered resources to make it fun and interesting.
Things to See & Do in Alaska
Lake Clark National Park & Preserve
Lake Clark National Park and Preserve is a composite of ecosystems representative of many regions of Alaska. The spectacular scenery stretches from the shores of Cook Inlet, across the Chigmit Mountains, to the tundra covered hills of the western interior. The Chigmits, where the Alaska and Aleutian Ranges meet, are an awesome, jagged array of mountains and glaciers which include two active volcanoes, Mt. Redoubt and Mt. Iliamna. Lake Clark, 40 miles long, and many other lakes and rivers within the park are critical salmon habitat to the Bristol Bay salmon fishery, one of the largest sockeye salmon fishing grounds in the world. Numerous lake and river systems in the park and preserve offer excellent fishing and wildlife viewing.
Western Arctic National Parklands
Western Arctic National Parklands is a management unit which includes Noatak National Perserve, Cape Krusenstern National Monument and Kobuk Valley National Park near Kotzebue, AK and Bering Land Bridge National Preserve located on the Seward Peninsula near Nome, AK.
Glacier Bay National Park & Preserve
Amidst majestic scenery, Glacier Bay offers us now, and for all time, a connection to a powerful and wild landscape. The park has snow-capped mountain ranges rising to over 15,000 feet, coastal beaches with protected coves, deep fjords, tidewater glaciers, coastal and estuarine waters, and freshwater lakes. These diverse land and seascapes host a mosaic of plant communities ranging from pioneer species in areas recently exposed by receding glaciers, to climax communities in older coastal and alpine ecosystems. Diverse habitats support a variety of marine and terrestrial wildlife, with opportunities for viewing and research that allow us to learn more about the natural world.
The Imaginarium, Alaska's only hands-on Science Discovery Center, is designed as a place where people can have fun learning about science by actually doing science. Located in downtown Anchorage, The Imaginarium resembles a living laboratory, where you can stand inside a bubble, ponder the magnitude of the universe in a planetarium, discover ocean life in a marine touch tank, observe and touch exotic reptiles, or learn the principles of physics while playing with specialized toys.
Kobuk Valley National Park
Kobuk Valley National Park is encircled by the Baird and Waring mountain ranges. The park povides protection for several important geographic features, including the central portion of the Kobuk River, the 25-sqaure-mile Great Kobuk Sand Dunes, and the Little Kobuk and Hunt River dunes. Sand created by the grinding action of ancient glaciers has been carried to the Kobuk Valley by both wind and water. Dunes now cover much of the southern portion of the Kobuk Valley, where they are naturally stabilized by vegetation. River bluffs, composed of sand and standing as high as 150 feet, hold permafrost ice wedges and the fossils of Ice Age mammals.
Yukon - Charley Rivers National Preserve
Located along the Canadian border in central Alaska, the preserve protects 115 miles of the 1,800-mile Yukon River and the entire Charley River basin. Numerous rustic cabins and historic sites are reminders of the importance of the Yukon River during the 1898 gold rush. Paleontological and archeological sites here add much to our knowledge of the environment thousands of years ago. Peregrine falcons nest in the high bluffs overlooking the river, while the rolling hills that make up the preserve are home to an abundant array of wildlife. The Charley, a 100-mile long wild river, is considered by many to be the most spectacular river in Alaska.
Bering Land Bridge National Preserve
The Bering Land Bridge National Preserve is one of the most remote national park areas, located on the Seward Peninsula in northwest Alaska. The Preserve is a remnant of the land bridge that connected Asia with North America more than 13,000 years ago. The majority of this land bridge, once thousands of miles wide, now lies beneath the waters of the Chukchi and Bering Seas. The Preserve's western boundary lies 42 miles from the Bering Strait and the fishing boundary between the United States and Russia.
Wrangell - St Elias National Park & Preserve
The Chugach, Wrangell, and St. Elias mountain ranges converge here in what is often referred to as the "mountain kingdom of North America." The largest unit of the National Park System and a day's drive east of Anchorage, this spectacular park includes the continent's largest assemblage of glaciers and the greatest collection of peaks above 16,000 feet. Mount St. Elias, at 18,008 feet, is the second highest peak in the United States. Adjacent to Canada's Kluane National Park, the site is characterized by remote mountains, sweeping valleys, wild rivers, and a variety of wildlife. Proclaimed as Wrangell-St. Elias National Monument Dec. 1, 1978; established as a national park and preserve Dec. 2, 1980. Wilderness designated Dec. 2, 1980. Designated a World Heritage Site Oct. 24, 1979.
Katmai National Park & Preserve
Katmai is famous for volcanoes, brown bears, fish, and rugged wilderness and is also the site of the Brooks River National Historic Landmark with North America's highest concentration of prehistoric human dwellings (about 900). Katmai National Monument was created to preserve the famed Valley of Ten Thousand Smokes, a spectacular forty square mile, 100 to 700 foot deep, pyroclastic ash flow deposited by Novarupta Volcano. There are at least fourteen volcanoes in Katmai considered "active", none of which are currently erupting. Brown bear and salmon are very active in Katmai. The number of brown bears has grown to more than 2,000. During the peak of the world's largest sockeye salmon run each July, and during return of the "spawned out" salmon in September, forty to sixty bears congregate in Brooks Camp along the Brooks River and the Naknek Lake and Brooks Lake shorelines. Brown bears along the 480 mile Katmai Coast also enjoy clams, crabs, and an occasional whale carcass. A rich variety of other wildlife is found in the Park as well. There is plenty room for great diversity of wildlife in Katmai which encompasses millions of acres of pristine wilderness, with wild rivers and streams, rugged coastlines, broad green glacial hewn valleys, active glaciers and volcanoes, and Naknek Lake.
Kenai Fjords National Park
Sweeping from rocky coastline to glacier-crowned peaks, Kenai Fjords National Park encompasses 607,805 acres of unspoiled wilderness on the southeast coast of Alaska’s Kenai Peninsula. The park is capped by the Harding Icefield, a relic from past ice-ages and the largest icefield entirely within U.S. borders. Visitors witness a landscape continuously shaped by glaciers, earthquakes, and storms. Orcas, otters, puffins, bear, moose and mountain goats are just a few of the numerous animals that make their home in this ever-changing place where mountains, ice and ocean meet. The Park offers a range of opportunities for visitors, students and scientists to explore, study and enjoy this special piece of our nation’s natural and cultural heritage.
Cape Krusenstern National Monument
Cape Krusenstern National Monument is a treeless coastal plain dotted with sizable lagoons and backed by gently rolling limestone hills. Cape Krusenstern's bluffs and its series of 114 beach ridges record the changing shorelines of the Chukchi Sea over thousands of years.
Alagnak Wild River
Alagnak Wild River is located in the beautiful Aleutian Range. The river provides unparalleled opportunities to experience the wilderness of the Alaska Peninsula.
Aniakchak National Monument & Preserve
The Aniakchak Caldera, is the result of a series of eruptions, the latest in 1931. Nearly six miles in diameter and covering some ten square miles, it is one of the finest examples of dry caldera in the world. Located in the volcanically active Aleutian Mountains, the crater contains many outstanding examples of volcanic features, including lava flows, cinder cones, and explosion pits. Surprise Lake, located within the caldera, is the source of the Aniakchak River, which cascades through a 1,500-foot gash in the caldera wall. The site also contains the Aniakchak Wild River.
Noatak National Preserve
As one of North America's largest mountain-ringed river basins with an intact ecosystem, the Noatak River environs features some of the Artic's finest arrays of plants and animals. The river is classified as a national wild and scenic river, and offers surperlative wilderness float-trip opportunities - from deep in the Brooks Range to the tidewater of the Chukchi Sea.
Gates Of The Arctic National Park & Preserve
By establishing Gates of the Arctic National Park & Preserve (GAAR) in Alaska's Brooks Range, Congress has reserved a vast and essentially untouched area of superlative natural beauty and exceptional scientific value - a maze of glaciated valleys and gaunt, rugged mountains covered with boreal forest and arctic tundra vegetation, cut by wild rivers, and inhabited by far-ranging populations of caribou, Dall sheep, wolves, and bears (barren-ground grizzlies and black bears). Gates of the Arctic encompasses several congressionally recognized elements, including the national park, national preserve, wilderness, six Wild Rivers and two National Natural Landmarks.
Denali National Park & Preserve
Denali National Park & Preserve features North America's highest mountain, 20,320-foot tall Mount McKinley. The Alaska Range also includes countless other spectacular mountains and many large glaciers. Denali's more than 6 million acres also encompass a complete sub-arctic eco-system with large mammals such as grizzly bears, wolves, Dall sheep, and moose.
Sitka National Historical Park
Alaska's oldest federally designated park was established in 1910 to commemorate the 1804 Battle of Sitka. All that remains of this last major conflict between Europeans and Alaska Natives is the site of the Tlingit Fort and battlefield, located within this scenic 113 acre park in a temperate rain forest. Southeast Alaska totem poles and a temperate rain forest setting combine to provide spectacular scenery along the park's coastal trail. The trail circles back along Indian River to the visitor center. Another loop trail continues across the Indian River footbridge past the Memorial to the Russian Midshipmen who died in the Battle of Sitka. The park's story continues at the Russian Bishop's House, one of three surviving examples of Russian colonial architecture in North America. This original 1843 log structure conveys the legacy of Russian America through exhibits, refurbished Bishop's living quarters and lavish icons in the Chapel of the Annunciation.
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