Happy National Park Week! To celebrate, AFW will be highlighting an Alaskan national park every day this week, starting with the northernmost national park in the United States.. Gates of the Arctic!
Located entirely above the Arctic Circle, Gates NP is home to six national wild rivers, as well as a large portion of the Brooks Range. The park boasts a bevy of wildlife, including grizzly and black bears, dall sheep, fox, wolves, muskox, and wolverines. Gates also contains much of the habitat and range of the Western Arctic Caribou Herd, which in 2017 numbered at 259,000 animals!
People have been living in the Brooks Range for nearly 12,500 years, following caribou herds and meeting in regional trade areas. Today, the Athabaskan and Nunamiut Inupiat people call the park their home, living largely in the small village of Anaktuvuk Pass.
With no roads or trails, the only way to access the park is by plane or walking in from the Haul Road. Winters are long and bitterly cold, while summers are short and sweet. Yearly visitation is low, and Gates remains one of the great, true wildernesses