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Gates of the Arctic National Park & Preserve

Gates of the Arctic National Park & Preserve - BEST Places to Picnic

Bettles Ranger Station (Field Operations)
P.O. Box 30
Bettles, AK 99726

National Park Service (Fairbanks Headquarters)
4175 Geist Road
Fairbanks, AK 99709

By Phone

Bettles Ranger Station: 907-692-5494
Coldfoot Ranger Station: 907-678-4227
Arctic Interagency Visitor Center (Coldfoot): 907-678-5209 (summer only)
Anaktuvuk Pass Ranger Station: 907-661-3520 (summer only)
Fairbanks Administrative Center: 907-457-5752

WELCOME to the Gates of the Arctic!

Wilderness Adventure

The floatplane disappears, leaving you on the lakeshore. For the next two weeks you must survive using the knowledge, skills and gear you bring with you. Traveling through this vast wilderness you will discover craggy ridges, glacier carved valleys and fragile flowers. You will walk or float through intact ecosystems where people have lived with the land for thousands of years. You will experience solitude, self reliance and nature on its own terms.

Wild and Scenic Rivers

Rivers have been byways for wildlife and humans for centuries. They are the veins and arteries through the heart of the Gates of the Arctic wilderness. Glaciers sculpted large U-shaped valleys surrounded by serrated ridges. In other valleys the rivers have carved steep V-shaped canyons. These rivers support the frantic summer explosion of life. Travelers here have the opportunity to be a part of nature, and to experience the solitude and isolation of wilderness.

Caribou and People

In Northern Alaska, people and caribou have lived in a close, intricate relationship for at least 11,000 years. Caribou have been vitally important for the survival of all native people whose homelands are now partially encompassed by Gates of the Arctic National Park and Preserve�Nunamiut Eskimos, Eskimo people of the Kobuk and Noatak Rivers, and Koyukon Indians.

For some tribes, caribou is part of a diet which also includes other game, fish and marine mammals. But for inland mountain people�the Nunamiut Eskimos�caribou is by far the single most important food source. 

Since a time far beyond memory, Nunamiut people have eaten meat, fat, and many other parts of caribou and have sipped broth made from caribou meat and bones. Caribou skin clothing parkas, pants, boots, socks and mittens has protected them from the arctic cold. They have slept under caribou skin blankets and have sheltered in caribou skin tents. 

Caribou hides have also provided rawhide line for making snowshoes and sleds. And sinew from caribou tendons, in single or braided strands, has been used to make nets to catch ptarmigan and fish, as lashing for hunting tools, and as a strong and durable thread.

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