Alaska’s Kenai Fjords National Park

The Kenai Fjords National Park is located in the southern part of Alaska in the United States. Like many other national parks and protected areas of Alaska, Kenai Fjords national Park was established under the Treaty “Alaska National Interest Lands Conservation Acts” in December 1980. The Document was signed by then President Jimmy Carter. The Kenai Fjords National Park has a coastline of 966 kilometers and is 2690 square kilometers in size, which makes it the smallest National Park of Alaska.

The Kenai Fjords National Park is located in the southeastern part of the Kenai Peninsula and is a part of the Pacific Mountains. Approximately 65 percent of the Harding Ice Fields are located in the Kenai Fjords National Park. In Addition it’s home to many fjords, islands and peninsulas of the Kenai coast. The Harding Ice Field is a remnant of the ice age, a leftover from the ice surface during the Pleistocene. The Harding Ice Fields is a source of a further 30 glaciers and together they cover an area of approximately 700 square miles. The nearly flat surface interrupted by isolated peaks, are called “nunataks” by the Eskimos, which translated to “solitary peak”. Numerous small glaciers are coming from the ice field, some extend to the sea and others end up in the lakes. Along the coast, many glaciers have carved deep bays in the hilly coastline any many deep fjords emerged. The heavy vegetation of the rain forests covers the heights of the cliffs and grows about 200 feet above the ocean. The coastal area has a rich marine life with seals, sea lions, sea otters and whales. A large number of birds inhabit the cliffs during the summer. Big salmon groups are in abundance here, as well as tons of different shell animals.

The park is located about 100 miles south of Anchorage and is accessible by car, train or airplane. There are several hiking trails, which start at the ranger station at Exit Glacier. The most popular trail is a half mile long trek that leads directly to the glacier. There visitors can see into the caves beneath the glacier and listen to the sound of the glacier. There is also an approximately three miles long trail over the Harding Ice Field, but spending the night in the National Park is prohibited, so this is only for the fit. Student groups have significantly improved the hiking trails over the past four years.