Glacier Bay National Park and Preserve

The Glacier Bay National Park ( Glacier Bay National Park and Preserve ) is a United States National Park in southern Alaska, near Juneau, the so-called Alaska Panhandle. In the park there are over 50 named glaciers, 7 of which extend into the influence of the tidal waters of the fjords as mentioned by the Tarr Inlet traversed, Glacier Bay Bay ( " Glacier Bay "). There often break over 50 meters high from chunks of ice fall and exploded in the water ( calving ).

The region around the Glacier Bay was first made on 25 February 1925 as a national monument under protection. The 1980 Alaska National Interest created by the Lands Conservation Act from National Park was expanded by 2,100 square kilometers and covers an area of ​​13,287 km ². The majority of these ( 10,784 km ²) is designated as a wilderness area. The park is classified by UNESCO as part of an international Biosphere Reserve and a World Heritage Site. A small extension area in the far west of the national park is recognized at the lower protection status of a National Preserve. Here, the hunting was common even before the protection assignment, it is still allowed.

The glaciers of the National Park are of scientific interest because they mark today the withdrawal of a smaller, 4000 years earlier ice age. When Captain George Vancouver explored the region in 1794, the bay was almost completely filled by the ice of the glacier. The ice was several kilometers wide and over 1000 meters high. 1879, less than 100 years later, found the naturalist John Muir, that the glaciers had greatly developed back. Now known as the Muir Glacier ice mass has been reduced in these 85 years by 77 kilometers. Today, this retreat of glaciers has slowed. Three glaciers retreat further, while eight are longer. Researchers investigate the influence of glacier movement on the global climate and the vegetation in the shared areas of the glaciers.

The approximately 380,000 annual visitors travel mainly by cruise ships to, or in some cases by ferries operated by the National Park Service. The only road leading from the small airport on the place Gustavus, both outside the park boundaries in the southeast, to the visitor center, the campsite and the Glacier Bay Lodge, the only hotel in the park.

In the four mountain ranges are over 100 glaciers. The highest point in the park lies on the flank of the 4663 meter high Mount Fairweather, the summit of which, however, lies on the Canadian side outside the park boundaries. Wolves, brown bears, black bears and mountain goats are characteristic large animal species of the park. In the coastal waters of numerous marine mammals, such as killer whales, humpback whales, gray whales, sea otters, harbor seals and Steller sea lions are found. The area is also one of the few places where the endangered Kurzschnabelalk still occurs. Other mammals of the area are snowshoe hares, hoary marmots, beavers, porcupines and red squirrels. The Sitka black -tailed deer in this region has its northernmost occurrence. Since the 1960s, the moose in the area occur to those who have not previously encountered. The coyote is also an immigrant in the recent past. In the near future Pumas could advance further and colonize the park. Other predators such as Wolverine, North American River Otter, Mink and fox are also found in the park. Canada lynx are rare.