"Fall colors of the arctic tundra on a bluebird sky day" by U.S. National Park Service , public domain
National Preserve - Alaska
Noatak National Preserve is in northwestern Alaska and was established to protect the Noatak River Basin. The Noatak River system, located just north of the Arctic Circle, is thought to be the last remaining complete river system in the United States that has not been altered by human activities. Noatak National Preserve borders Kobuk Valley National Park on the south and borders Gates of the Arctic National Park on the east. Unlike the national parks that it borders, sport hunting is allowed in Noatak National Preserve.
Cape Krusenstern - Visitor Map
Official visitor map of Cape Krusenstern National Monument (NM) in Alaska. Published by the National Park Service (NPS).
https://www.nps.gov/noat/index.htm https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Noatak_National_Preserve Noatak National Preserve is in northwestern Alaska and was established to protect the Noatak River Basin. The Noatak River system, located just north of the Arctic Circle, is thought to be the last remaining complete river system in the United States that has not been altered by human activities. Noatak National Preserve borders Kobuk Valley National Park on the south and borders Gates of the Arctic National Park on the east. Unlike the national parks that it borders, sport hunting is allowed in Noatak National Preserve. As one of North America's largest mountain-ringed river basins with an intact ecosystem, the Noatak River environs features some of the Arctic's finest arrays of plants and animals. The river is classified as a national wild and scenic river, and offers stunning wilderness float-trip opportunities - from deep in the Brooks Range to the tidewater of the Chukchi Sea. Noatak National Preserve is a very remote area. There are no roads that provide access. Commercial airlines provide service from Anchorage to Kotzebue or Fairbanks to Bettles. Once in Kotzebue or Bettles, you must fly to the preserve with various air taxi operators. There are scheduled flights to villages and chartered flights to remote park areas. Summer access may include motorized/non-motorized watercraft, aircraft, or by foot. Northwest Arctic Heritage Center Large, half-dome shaped, blue and grey building with just over 11,000 square feet of space. The museum space is just over 1,800 square feet and contains animal displays, soundscapes, tactile exhibits and more. The Heritage Center also contains a bookstore, restroom, art gallery, and sitting area. The Northwest Arctic Heritage Center serves as the visitor centers for the Western Arctic National Parklands: Kobuk Valley National Park, Cape Krusenstern National Monument, and Noatak National Preserve. Noatak National Preserve is a very remote area. There are no roads that provide access. Commercial airlines provide service from Anchorage to Kotzebue or Fairbanks to Bettles. Once in Kotzebue or Bettles, you must fly to the preserve with various air taxi operators. There are scheduled flights to villages and chartered flights to remote park areas. Summer access may include motorized/non-motorized watercraft, aircraft, or by foot. Nightime Extravaganza green northern lights A huge spray of northern lights is reflected in a tiny sliver of water in the Noatak River. This image was captured in early September at 2:30 in the morning. Golden Hour Light and shadows on mountains The famous golden hour near sunset on Copter Peak gives depth to the mountains and neon hues to the tundra. Mirror Image mountain refection on calm lake The Delong Mountains are flawlessly reflected in the clear, clean water of Desperation Lake in the northern part of Noatak National Preserve. Grizzly on the Noatak River bear walking along river The profile of this grizzly on the Noatak River shows a nice example of the hump of muscle between it's shoulders. That muscle makes grizzlies good diggers. Scout Leaving Kelly Bar small plane taking off A National Park Service plane takes off from the Kelly Bar landing site at the confluence of the Kelly River and Noatak River Home, home on your range? Read the abstract and get the link to a paper published in the Journal of Wildlife Management about the overlap across four Arctic caribou herds: Prichard, A. K., L. S. Parrett, E. A. Lenart, J. R. Caikoski, K. Joly, and B. T. Person. 2020. Interchange and overlap among four adjacent Arctic caribou herds. Journal of Wildlife Management 1-15. Caribou in brushy northern forest. Permafrost Resource Brief for the Arctic Network Permafrost underlies most of the Arctic Network and affects nearly everything in the arctic ecosystem. Thawing permafrost also changes the local hydrology and creates the second-greatest disturbance to boreal forests, after wildfires. Recent warm and wet conditions caused some thaw of ice masses and surface subsidence in Arctic parks that ultimately led to a record number of drained of shallow lakes. This brief provides an update on permafrost monitoring in the Arctic Network Polygonal shaped tundra due to underlying permafrost Arctic Cryosphere: snow, water, ice, and permafrost This article is a summary of findings from the Snow, Water, Ice, and Permafrost in the Arctic report by the Arctic Council Arctic Monitoring and Assessment Programme. A person dwarfed in the expansive snow-covered tundra of the Arctic. Snowshoe Hare Snowshoe hares live in the boreal forests of North America and are active year-round. They gain their curious name from their very large hind feet form a snowshoe, supporting their weight on the surface of the snow. Hares greatly influence the world around them, including the vegetation, predators, and other herbivores and omnivores that live in the same habitats. a white colored hare under a shrub in snow NPS Alaska Region Fire Ecology Annual Report Summary 2017 The National Park Service (NPS) Alaska region fire ecology program provides science-based information to guide fire and land management planning, decisions and practices in order to maintain and understand fire-adapted ecosystems in Alaska. Smoke rises over the Yukon River from the Trout Creek Fire July 15, 2017. Fire Ecology Annual Report 2017 - Communicating Results As park staff began to ramp up for the summer season, the fire ecology program pitched in with two train-the-trainer sessions. Teachers in Denali count tree rings from a tree core to determine the age of spruce trees. Fire Ecology Annual Report 2017 - Research & Technology The AKR fire ecology program coordinates research and facilitates the use of scientific data, modeling and technology to address the needs of the fire management program. The Kungiakrok burn site is shown five years after the fire. Fire Ecology Annual Report 2017 - Monitoring and Inventory Monitoring and inventories are utilized by the fire ecology program to provide feedback to the NPS fire management program on activities such as fuels treatments and to continue to gain a better understanding of the effects of wildfire on the landscape. Fire Ecology Annual Report 2017 - Planning and Compliance The fire ecology program participates in planning activities for the Fire Management and Park Land Management Programs. Subsistence The study of subsistence resources in parks has been a mix of long-term work and projects instigated by issues facing the Federal Subsistence Board. Winter hunting is an important subsistence activity in many Alaska communities and park areas. Alaska Native Place Names in Arctic Parks Indigenous place names are rich ethnographic and historical resources. Many of them refer to activities that regularly took place at the site; others tell of historical events that occurred there. These names have been replaced by English names on modern maps; this article discusses efforts to document these names into the future. a group of people near a canvas tent, alongside a large river Red Fox Despite the name, red foxes come in a variety of colors. They're found throughout the United States and are not uncommon sightings in many national parks. two red foxes Science in Wilderness Marine Reserves ANILCA establishes the largest scientific laboratory...ever! A spawning salmon struggles to get back into the water. A Tribute: Dave Spirtes, 1948-2004 A tribute to a lost colleague and friend, Dave Spirtes. Dave Spirtes holds an award presented to him by Ron Arnberger, Alaska Regional Director (retired). ANILCA and the Western Arctic Caribou Herd Cooperative Management Plan The Western Arctic Caribou Herd at 450,000 animals is only one of about 32 herds in Alaska but is by far the largest, comprising about half of the caribou in the state (and about 10% of the world total of 5 million animals). Lush green tundra cut by thousands of caribou tracks. Long–term Research in Remote Parks: Opportunities and Obstacles Science benefits in unique ways from work in regions where the human “imprint” remains less evident. A research bends down with a soil kit to inoculate soil with nitrogen. 2016 Science Education Grant Recipients The Murie Science and Learning Center (MSLC) funds numerous outreach projects through the Science Education Grant program. These grants help MSLC partner parks pay for science education outreach projects. Funding for the Science Education grant program is provided by Alaska Geographic. Read about the 2016 Science Education Grant recipients and their outreach projects. a photographer takes a picture in the grass while the sun sets Applying Wilderness Character Monitoring in the Arctic The Noatak Wilderness in the western Brooks Range of Arctic Alaska recently completed a Wilderness Character Narrative that describes the area’s holistic and often intangible wilderness character. A Wilderness Character Monitoring Baseline Assessment was also completed that describes how we will monitor wilderness character for the Noatak Wilderness. a landscape of tundra and mountains A History of Science in Alaska's National Parks National park units in Alaska precede the establishment of the National Park Service in 1916. The first park unit, Sitka National Monument, was conceived in 1908, and by the mid-1920s four national monuments along with Alaska’s first national park were part of the growing park system. Discover how the early 1900s and observations of a few helped to establish the National Park Service in Alaska. Black and white photo of Arno Cammerer sitting at his desk looking through papers. Old is Getting Older In the last 25 years, persistent archaeological survey and improved scientific techniques have resulted in new data which confirms that Alaska sites are actually much earlier than we once believed. NPS archaeologist works at Amakomanak site in Noatak National Preserve. Long-term Monitoring of 1977 Tundra Fires in the Northwest Alaska Parks The frequency and size of lightning-caused tun-dra fires could increase with climate warming and may result in major ecosystem changes in vegetation, soils, and wildlife habitat over large areas of the arctic. A female fire ecologist stands waste high in green willows along the shore of Imuruk Lake. Download Alaska Park Science: Volume 16, Issue 1 Download a print-friendly copy of Volume 16, Issue 1 of Alaska Park Science. a group of muskox running across a field NPS Geodiversity Atlas—Noatak National Preserve, Alaska Each park-specific page in the NPS Geodiversity Atlas provides basic information on the significant geologic features and processes occurring in the park. [Site Under Development] winding creek Noatak National Preserve Wilderness Character Narrative This expansive landscape extends from the western terminus of the Brooks Range to the headwaters of the Noatak River in the east – over 300 miles of unaltered, untamed landscape. Mountain spines frame the river’s path as it flows to the Chukchi Sea in meandering arcs. In this remote landscape, the Noatak Wilderness serves as an icon of diversity, complexity, and naturalness, and represents an opportunity for subsistence lifeways to live on. The Brooks Range of Noatak National Preserve. Fire Ecology Annual Report 2018 Fire Season Despite the relatively quiet fire season in Alaska in 2018, the National Park Service saw 24 wildfires spanning over 36,000 acres burning within and adjacent to park boundaries. Six of those fires were in Cape Krusenstern National Monument. An anvil-shaped smoke plume rises above the tree line on the Yukon River. Aurora Borealis: A Brief Overview A brief overview of how Northern Lights occur. two ribbons of greenish light in a dark blue sky, over a very dark forest Practice Safe Bear Spray Use Proper behavior in bear country and understanding bear behavior can help to avoid dangerous situations for people and bears. Bear spray should be used as a last line of defense when dealing with bears- not immediately upon seeing one. This introduction will help cover bear behaviors as well as safe use of bear pepper spray. A black bear stands on a wooden bench. Alaska's Northern Parks: The Wonder of the Arctic The Arctic is a region characterized by extremes and adaptation. It is rich in natural and cultural history. The articles in this edition of Alaska Park Science highlight the many facets of life in the Arctic. stone outcrop in the Arctic tundra Small Mammals as Indicators of Climate, Biodiversity, and Ecosystem Change This is a time of rapid environmental changes in Alaska. Species that have evolved within tundra habitats over multiple glacial cycles are not only best adapted to high-latitude and high-elevation environments, but may also respond more slowly to change. Studies of small mammal communities could provide valuable insights to larger ecosystem changes. two marmots perched atop a large boulder Muskox: An Iconic Arctic Species, Then and Now In response to changes in hunting regulations and low harvest rates, the most recent data show that between the 2012 and 2015 the muskoxen population across the Seward Peninsula appeared to stabilize. The number of animals within Bering Land Bridge National Preserve and adjacent areas, however, declined during the same time period. a person in a white parka looking at three muskoxen across a snowy landscape Declining Sheep Populations in Alaska’s Arctic Parks Dall’s sheep are an important subsistence species for local residents, particularly when caribou are scarce, and they are highly valued by sport hunters and wildlife enthusiasts. Their populations may be at an all-time low, however, in Noatak National Preserve and Gates of the Arctic National Park and Preserve due to weather conditions and other factors. a woman kneeling in snow, collecting sheep shit 2013 Microgrant Recipients The Murie Science and Learning Center (MSLC) funds numerous outreach projects through the Microgrant program. These grants help MSLC partner parks pay for science education outreach projects. Funding for the Microgrant program is provided by Alaska Geographic. Read about the 2013 Microgrant recipients and their outreach projects. A Ranger stands with two junior rangers 2014 Microgrant Recipients The Murie Science and Learning Center (MSLC) funds numerous outreach projects through the Microgrant program. These grants help MSLC partner parks pay for science education outreach projects. Funding for the Microgrant program is provided by Alaska Geographic. Read about the 2014 Microgrant recipients and their outreach projects. Two students kneel in grassy field taking notes while looking at pink flagged marked locations Wolverines Wolverine. The name alone stirs up visions of northern wilderness. Wolverines belong to the mustelidae family along with weasels, mink, marten, and otters. The family mustelidae makes up most of the order Carnivora (carnivores). a wolverine on a snow-covered river digging at something partially buried 2019 Science Education Grants The Murie Science and Learning Center (MSLC) funds numerous outreach projects through the Science Education Grant program. These grants help MSLC partner parks pay for science education outreach projects. Funding for the Science Education grant program is provided by Alaska Geographic. Read about the 2019 Science Education Grant recipients and their outreach projects. a park ranger and kids standing in shallow lake water River Connections: 50 Years of Wild and Scenic Rivers The Wild and Scenic Rivers Act was signed into law on October 2, 1968. For fifty years, the Act has helped to protect and enhance our nation's most spectacular rivers, serving as a tool to balance development and preservation. Wild and Scenic Rivers may be designated for outstanding values in history, culture, and recreation, acknowledging the human connection to rivers that has shaped their use and protection - past, present, and future. Waves dance on the surface of a clear river, between rocky banks and evergreen trees. Caribou: Did You Know? Did you know facts and life history about the Western Arctic Caribou Herd of northwest Alaska Bull caribou in the Brooks Range mountains of Alaska Fire in the Range of Western Arctic Caribou Herd Wildland fire may have a significant impact on lichen-dependent caribou within the tundra ecosystem. A caribou carrying heavy antlers walks slowly though green tundra on a hazy, grey day. Fire Ecology 2018 Annual Report Summary, Monitoring & Inventory During the 2018 field season, the NPS Alaska fire ecology program conducted monitoring in Yukon-Charley Rivers National Preserve. This article provides a brief summary about the Yukon-Charley Rivers results, research projects, and fire ecology program activities. Lichens growing toward the sun years after a wildfire. 2018 Science Education Grants The Murie Science and Learning Center (MSLC) funds numerous outreach projects through the Science Education Grant program. These grants help MSLC partner parks pay for science education outreach projects. Funding for the Science Education grant program is provided by Alaska Geographic. Read about the 2018 Science Education Grant recipients and their outreach projects. an instructor and a camper work on a carving The Fate of Permafrost At present, permafrost is continuous in Arctic parks and discontinuous in Denali and Wrangell St.-Elias national parks and preserves. We expect the distribution of permafrost will still be continuous in Arctic parks by the 2050s; however, it is very likely that the distribution of permafrost in Denali and Wrangell-St. Elias will become sporadic by then. a person standing next to an eroded hillside The Burning Tundra: A Look Back at the Last 6,000 Years of Fire in the Noatak National Preserve, Northwestern Alaska Increasing evidence suggests that Arctic environmental change is affecting tundra fire regimes. More than 5.4 million acres (2.2 million hectares) of Alaska tundra have burned over the past 60 years, indicating its flammable nature under warm, dry weather conditions. A patchwork scene of green tundra and burning wildland fires. Caribou: Nomads of the North Caribou are an iconic Arctic species that are highly adaptable both physiologically and behaviorally. Yet, caribou populations face many challenges, such as climate change and industrial development, and are in decline in many portions of their range. two bull caribou swimming through a river 2017 Science Education Grants The Murie Science and Learning Center (MSLC) funds numerous outreach projects through the Science Education Grant program. These grants help MSLC partner parks pay for science education outreach projects. Funding for the Science Education grant program is provided by Alaska Geographic. Read about the 2017 Science Education Grant recipients and their outreach projects. two girls sit in a kayak out on the water Potential Effects of Permafrost Thaw on Arctic River Ecosystems Changing hydrology and stream chemistry associated with permafrost thaw will likely impact fish in Arctic rivers. While climate change may directly affect fish by increasing stream temperature, permafrost thaw will likely affect fish indirectly by altering different components of the stream food web. aerial view of a river flowing past low mountains 2015 Microgrant Recipients The Murie Science and Learning Center (MSLC) funds numerous outreach projects through the Microgrant program. These grants help MSLC partner parks pay for science education outreach projects. Funding for the Microgrant program is provided by Alaska Geographic. Read about the 2015 Microgrant recipients and their outreach projects. Students kneel in a wetland and examine a net Hearing the Difference—monitoring sounds in Alaska's National Parks NPS biologist Davyd Betchkal installs a sound-monitoring station near Triple Lakes in the Denali Park wilderness. Betchkal installs a sound-monitoring station near Triple Lakes in the Denali Park wilderness. Caribou Migration Linked to Climate Cycles and Insect Pests Read the abstract and get the link to an article published in Ecosphere on climate and insect drivers for caribou migration: : Gurarie, E., M. Hebblewhite, K. Joly, A. P. Kelly, J. Adamczewski, S. C. Davidson, T. Davison, A. Gunn, M. J. Suitor, W. F. Fagan, and N. Boelman. 2019. Tactical departures and strategic arrivals: Divergent effects of climate and weather on caribou spring migrations. Ecosphere 10(12):e02971. 10.1002/ecs2.2971 Caribou migrate across snow-covered tundra. Old Carbon Impacts on Arctic Stream Food Web Read the abstract and link to a peer-reviewed published paper on the impact of old carbon from thawing permafrost on Arctic stream food webs: O’Donnell, J.A., M.P. Carey, J.C. Koch, X. Xu, B.A. Poulin, J. Walker, and C.E. Zimmerman. 2019. Permafrost hydrology drives the assimilation of old carbon by stream food webs in the Arctic. Ecosystems. Arctic Grayling National Park Getaway: Noatak National Preserve If you’re seeking true adventure, look no further than the remote, scenic landscapes of Noatak National Preserve, where the wildlife outnumber human visitors. Although the Arctic carries a reputation for harsh, unlivable conditions, the preserve is actually bustling with life. Since prehistoric times, unique plants and animals have made this place home. This ecosystem has been richly connected with Inupiaq culture for nearly as long, allowing people to subsist from the land f A river flows through a mountainous landscape Caribou Resource Brief for the Arctic Network The Western Arctic Caribou Herd is one of the most critical subsistence resources in northwest Alaska. Monitoring the herd helps develop subsistence and sport hunting regulations that conserve the resource, protect critical habitat, and reduce conflicts among user groups. Since 2009, over 300 GPS collars have been deployed on caribou that have collected over 800,000 caribou locations. Caribou swim across the Kobuk River at Onion Portage in Kobuk Valley National Park Collared Pika Collared pikas are small mammals within the same order as rabbits and hares, and they resemble small rabbits with very short ears and small limbs. Adapted to thrive at high elevations in Alaska, their habitat is at risk -- climate change may drastically change the fragile environment in which they live. tiny gray rabbit-like creature sitting on a rock Arctic Ground Squirrel The largest of the North American ground squirrels, arctic ground squirrels are burrowing rodents that resemble prairie dogs, with small ears, a flat tail, and a white-spotted back. They are very common throughout much of Denali and live mainly in the alpine tundra. two ground squirrels Fall 2019 Weather Summary for Arctic Parks What was the weather like in Arctic Parks in 2019? Check out this weather summary for Fall 2019 for Bering Land Bridge NP, Gates of the Arctic NPP, and Western Arctic Parklands. Climate scientists repair climate station. Mountains in the backdrop. Magnetic Detection of Archaeological Hearths in Alaska Read the abstract and link to a recent article on archaeological research using magnetic detection of hearths: Urban, Thomas M., Jeffrey T. Rasic, Claire Alix, Douglas D. Anderson, Linda Chisholm, Robert W. Jacob, Sturt W. Manning, Owen K.Mason, Andrew H. Tremayne, Dale Vinson (2019). Magnetic detection of archaeological hearths in Alaska: A tool for investigating the full span of human presence at the gateway to North America. Quaternary Science Reviews 211: 73-92. An archaeologist searches for hearths using a magetometer Predicting Seasonal Distributions and Migratory Routes of Western Arctic Herd Caribou Read the abstract and get the link for an article on caribou migration patterns published in Movement Ecology: Baltensperger, A. P., and K. Joly. 2019. Using seasonal landscape models to predict space use and migratory patterns of an arctic ungulate. Movement Ecology 7 (18). DOI: 10.1186/s40462-019-0162-8. The western arctic caribou herd along the Kobuk River. Weather Impacts on Dall's Sheep Read the abstract and link to a recent paper in Ecosphere on Dall's sheep population impacts from weather events: Rattenbury, K. L., J. H. Schmidt, D. K. Swanson, B. L. Borg, B. A. Mangipane, and P. J. Sousanes. 2018. Delayed spring onset drives declines in abundance and recruitment in a mountain ungulate. Ecosphere 9(11):e02513. 10.1002/ecs2.2513 Dalls sheep lambs and ewes on a rock cliff. Permafrost Landforms as Indicators of Climate Change in Parks Across the Arctic Permafrost, ground so cold that it stays frozen for multiple years, develops certain landforms when it thaws, and thereby provides a way for scientists to recognize and monitor our changing climate. treeless hillside partially collapsed into a river at its base At the Roots of Alaska Science: Practicing Natural History along the Noatak River Learning from the land forges a connection with it. The understanding of Alaska’s wild landscape that comes from spending weeks with it develops informed, emotionally engaged citizen-advocates who can speak wisely on behalf of Alaska’s parks and wildernesses. Place-based natural history education can foster abiding connection to, and concern for, the land. three large canoes in a shallow river Research Fellowship Recipients: 2011 Learn about 2011 research fellowship recipients. Research Fellowship Recipients: 2008 Learn about 2008 fellowship recipients What Happens after a Tundra Fire? After the record number of fires in 2010 at Noatak National Preserve in Alaska during 2010, the NPS Alaska Region fire ecology program assessed the effects of burn severity on vegetation; and the age of carbon burned in these fires. White blooms of cotton-grass tussock blooms vibrantly in tundra. Looking Back—A Heady Time for National Park Service Science in Alaska Spurred by Alaska gaining statehood and the Alaska Native Claims Settlement Act (ANCSA), the 1970s saw a spurt of scientific activity that gave experienced Alaska investigators additional access to remote field study sites and introduced investigators new to Alaska to exciting and challenging opportunities for conducting field study in remote places. mist on forested mountains Tracking Mineral and Energy Development Projects near Alaska Parks through Web Mapping Visitors flock to places like Glacier Bay to experience a connection with the landscape. Early visitors to the state also discovered gold and other resources, development of these which helped shape modern Alaska. A careful balance between conservation and resource development continues today. Visual mapping allows land managers, visitors, and the public to more easily understand the type, scale, and scope of resource development adjacent to parks. aerial view of a dirt road and equpiment in a tree-less landscape Monitoring Dall Sheep Discovery how and why scientists monitor Dall sheep in national parks throughout Alaska. A group of three dall sheep walk down a dirt road Birds of the Arctic Simon Paneak, a Nunamiut hunter, spent most of his adult life living in Anaktuvuk Pass in the Brooks Range. Simon was a fountain of traditional ecological knowledge, as were other adults within his community. However, Simon spoke, read, and wrote English, which facilitated his long collegial relationships with a variety of researchers interested in Arctic cultural and biological ecosystems. landscape of spruce forests and mountains Landbirds Resource Brief for the Arctic Network Approximately 147 resident and migratory bird species are expected to occur in the five National Parks of the Arctic Network. Among the songbirds breeding above treeline, White-crowned Sparrow, American Tree Sparrow, Savannah Sparrow, and Wilson’s Warbler are ubiquitous and abundant. This resource brief summarizes long-term monitoring of landbirds in the Arctic Network. A Bluethroat perched in a willow in the golden light of the Arctic. Camp Willow Teaches Local Kotzebue Kids What it Means to be a Park Ranger During the summer of 2015, Western Arctic National Parklands held its seventh annual Camp Willow summer camp program. The program which is partially funded through the Murie Science and Learning Center’s science education microgrant brings local 10 - 15 year olds from the local community of Kotzebue to discover what it is like to be a park ranger. campers sit on a beach looking out at the water Late Pleistocene Paleontology and Native Heritage in Northwest Alaska ossil remains are bountiful in northwest Alaska, with the Baldwin Peninsula, Kotzebue Sound, and Seward Peninsula being particularly fossil-rich areas. Recorded paleontological discoveries were made in the immediate area as early as 1816. However, the region has lacked the level of attention and scientific study of other northern areas such as the Klondike and the Yukon, and is therefore lesser known. woman standing to a waist-high leg bone What Future for the Wildness of Wilderness in the Anthropocene? Visionary as it was, the Wilderness Act did not anticipate today’s human-driven, global-scale changes. The idea of preserving wild lands challenges us with the irony that such places, untouched by humans, will only continue through our will to keep them that way. A resolute human purpose is needed to maintain the decision to have areas that are free of human purpose. aerial view of wolves moving single-file through a snowy forest The Economic and Cultural Benefits of Northwest Alaska Wilderness Northwest Alaska, from Kotzebue Sound to the headwaters of the Kobuk River, is approximately the size of Indiana. It is mostly roadless wild lands, dotted by eleven villages that are located on the coast or major rivers. The formal designation of wilderness areas in northwest Alaska contributes to sustaining an ecosystem that is predicated on an expansive area of natural habitat that is not fragmented by human development. four caribou swimming in neck-deep water Research Fellowship Recipients: 2012 Learn about 2012 Research Fellowship recipients woman in a red shirt and white hat Monitoring Dall Sheep in Alaska's Arctic Parklands In an area the size of New Jersey, scientists study Dall's sheep. They are one of 28 vital signs monitored by the Arctic Network Inventory and Monitoring Program (ARCN I&M) because of their importance to the public and in assessing the overall health of the regional ecosystem. group of white colored sheep on a mountainside Alaska Aviation Safety In Alaska, small planes are often the best way to get around but flying has its risks. Aviation safety requires more than just a pilot’s skill–it takes all of us. Learn more about aviation to increase the safety of your next park flight. An NPS pilot in a plane cockpit flying over a turquoise lake Improving our understanding of carbon chemistry and reactivity in streams across permafrost regions Read a summary and get a link to an article published in Global Biogeochemical Cycles on organic carbon in permafrost regions: Wologo, E., S. Shakil, S. Zolkos, S. Textor, S. Ewing, … J. A. O’Donnell, et al. 2020. Stream dissolved organic matter in permafrost regions shows surprising compositional similarities but negative priming and nutrient effects. Global Biogeochemical Cycles: e2020GB006719. An Arctic river with snow remaining in patches on the banks. Lichens of the Arctic Because certain lichen species are both abundant and sensitive to changes in the environment, they can serve as useful indicators of ecosystem health. When exposed to even low levels of certain pollutants, particularly sensitive species will decline or die, making lichen community composition a good indicator. closeup of green colored lichen The 19th Amendment, Elizabeth Peratrovich, and the Ongoing Fight for Equal Rights In Alaska, women's suffrage passed in 1913—seven years prior to the 19th Amendment—and antidiscrimination legislation passed nearly 20 years prior to the major national civil rights bills of the 1960s. In the 1940s, Elizabeth Peratrovich—a Tlingit woman who was Grand President of the Alaska Native Sisterhood—led the charge to end discrimination against Alaska Natives. gold coin of a raven, a woman's face, and words elizabeth peratrovich anti-discrimination law Stream water may become cooler as permafrost thaws in the Arctic Read the abstract and link to a recently published article on stream ecology in the Arctic with thawing permafrost. Sjöberg, Y., Jan, A., Painter, S. L., Coon, E. T., Carey, M. P., O'Donnell, J. A., & Koch, J. C. 2021. Permafrost promotes shallow groundwater flow and warmer headwater streams. Water Resources Research 57(2): e2020WR027463. The Brooks Range and Arctic stream headwaters. Series: Alaska Park Science - Volume 16 Issue: Science in Alaska's Arctic Parks The National Park Service manages five parks that fall partially or entirely within the Arctic tundra biome. These five parks encompass 19.3 million acres of land and constitute approximately 25% of the land area managed by the National Park Service nationwide. These are undeveloped places, with free-flowing rivers and wilderness at a massive scale. a group of muskox running across a field Series: Dall Sheep in Alaska's National Parks Discover the importance of Dall Sheep in Alaska's National Parks Two sheep rest on a snowy mountain Series: Alaska Park Science - Volume 12 Issue 2: Climate Change in Alaska's National Parks In this issue: * Status and Trends of Alaska National Park Glaciers * Tracking Glacial Landscapes: High School Science Gets Real * Climate Change Scenario Planning Lessons from Alaska a hillside overlooking a wide valley filled by a glacier, surrounded by steep mountains Series: Alaska Park Science - Volume 13 Issue 2: Mineral and Energy Development There’s no denying that energy and mineral extraction have been and will continue to be important across the North for a long time. Mining and energy-related industries provide direct and indirect employment for thousands of people, taxes and other revenues. Our need is for science, engineering, and scholarly research; to develop safe, effective, and affordable technologies; to protect, preserve, and restore the natural and human environment; and to record and communicate our history. aerial view of buildings and a pier sticking out into the ocean Series: Alaska Park Science - Volume 13 Issue 1: Wilderness in Alaska This issue includes: * Economics of Wilderness * Using Ethics Arguments to Preserve Naturalness * Busing Through the Wilderness: "Near-Wilderness" Experiences in Denali ... and more! mountains reflecting into a calm lake, the words 'alaska park science' Series: The Legacy of ANILCA The Alaska National Interest Lands Conservation Act impacts the National Park Service in many ways. ANILCA stipulates the designation of wilderness, subsistence management, transportation in and across parklands, use of cabins, mining, archaeological sites, scientific research studies and more. Two men drag a harvest seal from icy blue waters across frozen ice. Series: Geologic Time Periods in the Paleozoic Era During the Paleozoic Era (541 to 252 million years ago), fish diversified and marine organisms were very abundant. In North America, the Paleozoic is characterized by multiple advances and retreats of shallow seas and repeated continental collisions that formed the Appalachian Mountains. Common Paleozoic fossils include trilobites and cephalopods such as squid, as well as insects and ferns. The greatest mass extinction in Earth's history ended this era. fossil corals in a rock matrix Series: Copper River Basin Symposium - Wrangell-St Elias National Park and Preserve February 2020: With a theme of Tradition, Science, and Stewardship, the two-day symposium included keynote speakers, 26 short presentations, and a poster session. A panel discussion delved into opportunities in working with indigenous communities. Ahtna elders provided wisdom in daily welcomes, and there was a presentation by Copper River Stewardship Youth. Topics ranged widely from fisheries to archaeology to geology. As well as sharing knowledge, participants shared meals, stories, and ideas. Copper River Basin Symposium logo by Lindsay and Elvie Series: National Park Service Geodiversity Atlas The servicewide Geodiversity Atlas provides information on <a href="https://www.nps.gov/subjects/geology/geoheritage-conservation.htm">geoheritage</a> and <a href="https://www.nps.gov/subjects/geology/geodiversity.htm">geodiversity</a> resources and values all across the National Park System to support science-based management and education. The <a href="https://www.nps.gov/orgs/1088/index.htm">NPS Geologic Resources Division</a> and many parks work with National and International <a href="https://www.nps.gov/subjects/geology/park-geology.htm">geoconservation</a> communities to ensure that NPS abiotic resources are managed using the highest standards and best practices available. park scene mountains Series: NPS Alaska Region Fire Ecology Annual Report for 2017 The Alaska Region Fire Ecology Annual Report for 2017 offers a summary of the fire season, monitoring and inventories utilized, the methods and how information and outreach was used to communicate the results for the year. Smoke rises from the Trout Creek Fire over the Yukon River (July 2017) Series: Alaska Park Science - Volume 14 Issue 2: Birds of Alaska's National Parks This issue includes articles exploring birds throughout national parks in Alaska. Particular emphasis is on the changing ways to study birds, and the increasing importance not just on the summer homes of birds in Alaska, but the routes between their wintering and summer breeding grounds. a great horned own and two large owlets in a nest Series: Alaska Park Science - Volume 14 Issue 1: Resource Management in a Changing World The following pages describe new approaches to analyzing and presenting resource data to support better informed and more transparent decision making by park managers; first-hand observations of environmental and climate change across widely separated parts of Alaska. They invite our readers to consider the effects of environmental changes, readers to consider the effects of environmental changes, both recent and future. Canoers on a river Series: Alaska Park Science - Volume 9 Issue 1: Monitoring the "Vital Signs" of Healthy Park Ecosystems This issue explores the "vital signs" of parks. The National Park Service's Inventory and Monitoring (I&M) Network studies broad ecological trends throughout parks, and uses those trends, or vital signs, to gauge the health of a park's ecosystem. man standing in a shallow creek Brown bear population size and harvest in Northwest Alaska Read a summary and get the link to a paper published in the Journal of Wildlife Management on brown bear population trends in northwest Alaska: Schmidt, J. H., H. L. Robison, L. S. Parrett, T. S. Gorn, and B. S. Shults. 2021. Brown bear density and estimated harvest rates in northwestern Alaska. The Journal of Wildlife Management 85(2): 202-214. Aerial view of brown bears crossing a snow field in the Brooks Range. Mississippian Period—358.9 to 323.2 MYA The extensive caves of Mammoth Cave and Wind Cave national parks developed in limestone deposited during the Mississippian. Warm, shallow seas covered much of North America, which was close to the equator. fossil crinoid Devonian Period—419.2 to 358.9 MYA The Devonian is part of the “Age of Fishes.” Fish fossils from Death Valley National Park shed light on the early evolution of fish in North America. Tilted Devonian rocks in Chesapeake & Ohio Canal National Historical Park attest to continued Appalachian Mountain formation. fossil brachiopod Paleozoic Era During the Paleozoic Era (541 to 252 million years ago), fish diversified and marine organisms were very abundant. In North America, the Paleozoic is characterized by multiple advances and retreats of shallow seas and repeated continental collisions that formed the Appalachian Mountains. Common Paleozoic fossils include trilobites and cephalopods such as squid, as well as insects and ferns. The greatest mass extinction in Earth's history ended this era. fossil corals in a rock matrix Fire Extent and Frequency Resource Brief for the Arctic Network Fire affects all 5 parks within the Arctic Network. The first fires in the network were officially recorded in 1956, although the history of fire in these parks, based on charcoal records dates back to at least 6,000 years ago. Since 1956, 574 fires have occurred in Arctic Network parks, burning nearly 1.1 million acres, an area almost twice the size of Cape Krusenstern National Monument. The vast majority of these fires (97%) were started by lightning. Fire ecologist measures depth of soil consumption in tussocks 1 year after a recent fire in Noatak. Fire in Ecosystems: Boreal Forest The boreal forest, also called taiga, is the largest forested habitat in the world, making up one third of the earth’s total forested area. In North America, the boreal forest spreads from Alaska, across Canada, and into the Great Lakes region of the United States. Boreal forests have burned naturally for thousands of years creating a variety of landscapes, or mosaic, with young and old trees living on the landscape. Aerial view of flaming front in coniferous trees putting off a lot of smoke. Shallow Lakes Resource Brief for the Arctic Network Currently, lakes in the parks of the Arctic Network are being negatively affected by climate warming—lake surface area has significantly declined since the 1980’s due to warming temperatures, and rapid change has happened over the last five years. Lakes and wetlands are often referred to as the “kidneys of the landscape” because they clean the water by trapping sediment, nutrients, and organic material like leaves. Every year we visit six continuous monitoring lakes. a biologist in a bug jacket walks a lake margin recording vegetation data. Dall's Sheep Resource Brief for the Arctic Network Dall’s sheep are an alpine adapted species at their northernmost extent in the Brooks Range of Alaska. GAAR and NOAT encompass most of the available habitat in the central and western Brooks Range and were estimated in the 1980’s to contain 13-15% of the world’s Dall’s sheep. Dall’s sheep are an important subsistence species for local residents and highly valued where sport hunting is permitted in preserves. A Dall's sheep ram close up image Brown Bear Resource Brief for the Arctic Network Alaska has more than 50% of the remaining North American brown bears and the second largest population worldwide. Parks in the Arctic Inventory and Monitoring Network may ultimately provide a refuge for brown bears in northwest Alaska that are adapted to life in the Arctic, but strong monitoring programs are needed to understand whether these bear populations can remain healthy in a rapidly changing Arctic. A brown bear sits in a tundra wetland. Bumble Bees of Alaska: A Field Guide This field guide to bumble bees will help you identify these abundant and conspicuous pollinators, which are found across most of Alaska. They are well-adapted to cold, harsh climates and live in every habitat where there are flowers offering up pollen and nectar, including forests, shrublands, tundra, wetlands, riparian areas, beaches, and gardens. a bumble bee perched on tiny pink flowers Stream Communities & Ecosystems Resource Brief for the Arctic Network Stream flow has changed in recent decades at monitoring sites near the Arctic Network. The timing of peak discharge during spring snowmelt now occurs nearly 10 days earlier than it did 30 years ago. The Kobuk River is now re-freezing later in fall than it did in the 1980s. In headwater streams of the Arctic Network, permafrost thaw is changing watershed hydrology, causing streams to cool and discharge to decline during summer months. Aerial image of a Braided river in Alaska’s Arctic Network with mountains in background Indigenous Languages of Alaska: Iñupiaq “Language is the soul of the People” --Wolf A. Seiler, Northwest Alaska is home to the Inupiat People and their traditional homeland spans from Norton Sound to the northeast boundary of Alaska and Canada. The language spoken by the Iñupiat People is Iñupiaq or Iñupiatun. A man takes a selfie in front of a salmon drying rack. Changing climate, changing access for Arctic Indigenous harvesters in National Parklands How is climate change impacting Indigenous communities’ access to subsistence coastal resources in and around Western Arctic National Parklands? Recently published research examines this question. Seasonal changes in subsistence harvest windows for Indigenous people in Northwest Arctic Alaska. Qatŋut: Celebrating the Legacy of Trade, Dance, and Connection at Sisualik Qatŋut is a traditional trade fair that celebrates dance, food, culture, connections, and trade among peoples. The fair has its roots in the exchange between Indigenous communities on both sides of the Bering Strait. The Beringia Shared Heritage Program has played a key role in supporting and continuing this tradition. Alaska Park Science 20(2), 2021 Traditional dancers perform in a school gym. Series: Alaska Park Science - Volume 20, Issue 2. Beringia: A Shared Heritage This year (2021) is the 30th anniversary of the Shared Beringian Heritage Program. This issue highlights some of the history, intent, and accomplishments of the program. The following articles demonstrate the variety of projects and the values of the program. Indigenous dancers in traditional dress. Changing Patterns of Water Availability May Change Vegetation Composition in US National Parks Across the US, changes in water availability are altering which plants grow where. These changes are evident at a broad scale. But not all areas experience the same climate in the same way, even within the boundaries of a single national park. A new dataset gives park managers a valuable tool for understanding why vegetation has changed and how it might change in the future under different climate-change scenarios. Green, orange, and dead grey junipers in red soil, mountains in background Arctic Summers are Getting Longer Read a summary and get the link to an article that describes how the Arctic is getting greener: Swanson, D. K. 2021. Start of the green season and normalized difference vegetation index in Alaska's Arctic national parks. Remote Sensing 13(13): 2554. A muskox naps in the tundra. Terrestrial Landscape Dynamics Resource Brief for the Arctic Network Landscape dynamics are the “big picture” of changes in the growing season, vegetation, and surface water. The timing of the start and end of the growing season and snow-free season varies by about a month from year-to-year. The area of lakes and ponds has declined in the northern coastal plain of Bering Land Bridge NP, from about 8.5% of the land surface area in 2000 to less less than 7% by 2019. Tall shrubs are expanding their range and getting denser in some areas. Muskox lying on tundra with a mountain in the background under overcast sky Women in Fire Science - Jennifer Barnes Jennifer Barnes, regional fire ecologist for the Alaska Region of the National Park Service realized that a job as a fire ecologist combined the best of two worlds – the excitement of wildfire and love of science and ecology. A woman in a hardhat and fire gear measures a chunk of earth with vegetation on top (duff plug). Terrestrial Vegetation and Soils Resource Brief for the Arctic Network Vegetation is the basis for ecosystem productivity and wildlife habitat. Arctic vegetation is very sensitive to climate change and disturbance such as fire, herbivory, and traffic. Research has documented an increase in shrubs and, to a lesser extent, trees in the arctic over recent decades, probably related to climate change. Major changes in vegetation structure such as these have a cascading effect on other ecosystem attributes. scientists measure the cover of plants on the tundra along a tape measure How stream chemistry can be used to understand ecosystems and disturbances in Arctic Alaska Read the abstract and get the link to an article on monitoring stream chemistry for insights on the impacts of climate change in the Arctic: Shogren, A. J., ... O'Donnell, J. A., Patch, L., Poulin, B. A., Williamson, T. J., et al. 2022. Multi-year, spatially extensive, watershed-scale synoptic stream chemistry and water quality conditions for six permafrost-underlain Arctic watersheds, Earth System Science Data 14(1): 95-116. Arctic river with gravel beach.