Thursday, August 21, 2014

ALASKA- Kenai Fjords National Park

Kenai Fjords National Park is a United States National Park established in 1980 by the Alaska National Interest Lands Conservation Act. The park covers an area of 669,984 acres  on the Kenai Peninsula in south central Alaska, near the town of Seward. The park contains the Harding Icefield, one of the largest ice fields in the United States. The park is named for the numerous fjords carved by glaciers moving down the mountains from the ice field. The field is the source of at least 38 glaciers, the largest of which is Bear Glacier. The park lies just to the west of Seward, a popular port for cruise ships. Exit Glacier is reachable by road and is a popular tour destination. The remainder of the park is primarily accessible by boat. The fjords are glacial valleys that have been submerged below sea level by a combination of rising sea levels and land subsidence.

Kenai Fjords National Monument was initially designated by President Jimmy Carter on December 1, 1978, using the Antiquities Act, pending final legislation to resolve the allotment of public lands in Alaska. Establishment as a national park followed the passage of the Alaska National Interest Lands Conservation Act in 1980. The park protects the icefield, a narrow fringe of forested land between the mountains and the sea, and the deeply indented coastline. The park is home to a variety of terrestrial and marine mammals, including bears, whales, seals and moose.

Today we travel to the Kenai Peninsula along the scenic Seward Highway. Every turn is spectacular! We stop at the Anchorage Wildlife Refuge and see bears, moose, elk and others. We visit Exit Glacier which is part of Kenai Fjords National Park. We see how far the glacier has receded and how much the recession has accelerating in current years.

Along the Seward Highway

Exit Glacier in Kenai Fjord National Park

700 foot waterfall near the Exit Glacier

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