Mountains loom larger than life, massive glaciers
redefine your sense of scale, ice-fed rivers rage to the sea, and
entire, intact ecosystems function as they have for millennia.
Far from the hustle and bustle of other Alaskan
destinations, the magnificent scenery and untamed nature of this park
allow you to experience genuine "Wild Alaska" on its own terms. Your
possibilities here are endless.
immersing yourself in the colorful history of Kennecott, floating a
raging river, crossing a glacier, driving one of the park's primitive
roads, overwhelming your senses on a scenic flight, or charting your
own backcountry trek, the park is ready for those willing and prepared
to enter it.
Access and services here may seem very limited when
compared to traditional National Parks you may have visited "down
below." What the area may lack in services, it more than makes
up for in friendly people and un-crowded wilderness. This website was
created to help you discover and plan a visit to your park. With some
effort and careful planning, you will find that your first visit here
may mark the beginning of a lifetime of exploration.
History & Culture
The Cultural Resources program at Wrangell-St. Elias
National Park and Preserve documents people in the parks, now and in
the past, and helps preserve places with special history.
What are cultural resources?
Although Wrangell-St. Elias National Park and Preserve is remote and
sparsely populated, it has been inhabited for thousands of years.
Cultural resources professionals help share the stories of people who
called the Wrangell Mountains home, then and now.
In Alaska, as in the rest of the United States, the
National Park Service recognizes and manages five basic types of
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
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).
Structures: Constructed works created to serve some
human activity (usually immovable by nature or design buildings,
bridges, earthworks, roads, rock cairns, etc. prehistoric or
Why save the physical legacy of the past?
But why preserve the physical
remains of the past; is it not sufficient to capture the stories in
books? 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