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Wrangell-St. Elias National Park

The Chugach, Wrangell, and Saint Elias ranges converge here in what is often referred to as the "mountain kingdom of North America." The largest unit of the National Park System, this spectacular wilderness includes the continent's largest assemblage of glaciers, and greatest collection of peaks above 16,000 feet, including 18,008 feet Mount St. Elias, the second highest peak in the United States.


PO Box 439
Copper Center, AK 99573

Phone
Park Headquarters
(907) 822-5234

Plan Your Visit

Wrangell-St. Elias National Park & Preserve is one of America's greatest treasures. At over 13 million acres, Wrangell-St. Elias is the largest unit in the National Park System. Here, you have an opportunity to experience wilderness on a scale above and beyond anything you may be used to. 


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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. 

Wrangell-St. Elias National Park - BEST Places to PicnicWhether 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 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).

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).

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 lives.

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