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Katmai National Park and Preserve

Katmai National Park and Preserve - BEST Places to Picnic

P.O. Box 7
King Salmon, Alaska 99613

Visitor Information
(907) 246-3305

WELCOME to Katmai

Katmai National Monument was created in 1918 to preserve the famed Valley of Ten Thousand Smokes, a spectacular forty square mile, 100 to 700 foot deep ash flow deposited by Novarupta Volcano. A National Park & Preserve since 1980, today Katmai is still famous for volcanoes, but also for brown bears, pristine waterways with abundant fish, remote wilderness, and a rugged coastline.

The Cultural Resources program at Katmai National Park and Preserve documents people in the parks, now and in the past, and helps preserve places with special history.

People have made their homes in Katmai National Park and Preserve for at least 9,000 years. Cultural resources professionals help share the stories of people with ties to the park, then and now.

In Alaska, as in the rest of the United States, the National Park Service recognizes and manages five basic types of cultural resources:

Archeological Sites: Physical evidence of past human occupation or activity (the National Park Service recognizes two basic subcategories; prehistoric and historic archeological sites).

Cultural Landscapes: Geographic areas associated with a historic event, activity, or person; or that exhibit other cultural or aesthetic values (this category includes designed, vernacular, and ethnographic landscapes). Cultural landscapes encompass both cultural and natural resources as well as any wildlife or domestic animals that have historic associations with the landscapes.

Ethnographic Resources: Sites, structures, objects, landscapes, or natural features of traditional importance to a contemporary cultural group.

Museum Objects: Material things that possess scientific, historical, cultural or aesthetic values (usually movable by nature or design).

Historic Structures: Constructed works created to serve some human activity (usually immovable by nature or design � buildings, bridges, earthworks, roads, rock cairns, etc. � prehistoric or historic).

The authentic remnants of our nation's cultural legacy give us an irreplaceable tangible link to our past that cannot be replaced by a book or an article. These authentic places and objects are material touchstones to a past that we experience for ourselves. 

They serve as material anchors to our past and reference points to our future that cannot be easily erased or eliminated. We can see them, touch them, connect with them in such a way that we can know the past actually happened. Each generation can learn from the ruins, the buildings, and the objects of the past; these are the landmarks that link us over time and space and give meaning and orientation to our lives.

Places to Picnic

  • Float Plane Access
  • Lake Camp
  • Brooks Camp Visitor's Center

Plan Your Visit

Katmai National Park and Preserve spans nearly five million acres of remote spectacular country. Glaciated volcanoes and desolate volcanic rubble rise above jagged cliffs and dense alder thickets. The Valley of 10,000 Smokes stands as a reminder of the incredibly powerful volcanic eruption that occurred in 1912 and was heard as far as Juneau.

The park and preserve host an incredible density of brown bears (over 2000 bears were estimated in the park and preserve in a recent survey). Many of the bears are lured in by the high number of fish during the salmon runs of summer.

Sport-fishing too is world renown in the park as many people are attracted to the trophy rainbow trout swimming in the many rivers and streams. Anglers also come to fish for sockeye (red) salmon, silver (coho) salmon, Dolly Varden, and lake trout.

Much of the park is rarely visited and opportunities for incredible wilderness experiences abound. Other areas, such as Brooks Camp, are more easily accessed and have various facilities.

Bear viewing

Katmai is one of the premier brown bear viewing areas in the world. The most recent bear survey documented over 2000 brown bears in the park and preserve. Brooks Camp is the most visited area of the park where brown bear congregate to feed on sockeye salmon at the Brooks Falls or the Brooks River. Viewing platforms have been set up to accommodate visitor numbers without affecting bear behavior.

Outside of Brooks Camp, other areas along the coast and in the preserve also host bear viewing activities. On the coast, Hallo Bay and Geographic Harbor are two popular areas. In the preserve, Moraine Creek and Funnel Creek also attract bear viewers. Bears frequent specific areas at different times, primarily related to food availability.

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