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Kenai Fjords National Park

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Travel Guide North America USA Western United States Alaska Kenai Fjords National Park

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Introduction

Kenai Fjords National Park is a United States National Park established in 1980 by the Alaska National Interest Lands Conservation Act. The park covers an area of 2,711km2 on the Kenai Peninsula in southcentral Alaska, near the town of Seward. The park contains the Harding Icefield, one of the largest ice fields in the United States. The park is named for the numerous fjords carved by glaciers moving down the mountains from the ice field. The field is the source of at least 38 glaciers, the largest of which is Bear Glacier. The park lies just to the west of Seward, a popular port for cruise ships. Exit Glacier is reachable by road and is a popular tour destination. The remainder of the park is primarily accessible by boat. The fjords are glacial valleys that have been submerged below sea level by a combination of rising sea levels and land subsidence.

Kenai Fjords National Monument was initially designated by President Jimmy Carter on December 1, 1978, using the Antiquities Act, pending final legislation to resolve the allotment of public lands in Alaska. Establishment as a national park followed the passage of the Alaska National Interest Lands Conservation Act in 1980. The park protects the icefield, a narrow fringe of forested land between the mountains and the sea, and the deeply indented coastline. The park is home to a variety of terrestrial and marine mammals, including bears, whales, seals and moose.

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Opening Hours

The park is open year-round. The primary months to visit are June, July, and August when both visitor centers are open. There are reduced services in the area during the months of May and September. The road to the Exit Glacier area is not plowed during the winter months, and is closed to cars and trucks once snow begins falling on it. The park's coastal backcountry is also inaccessible late fall through early spring due to rough seas.

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Cost

No entrance fees are charged at Kenai Fjords National Park.

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Getting There

The park can be reached from Seward, 210 kilometres south of Anchorage at the southern terminus of the Seward Highway. It is only one of three national parks in Alaska that can be reached by road, via the Exit Glacier Nature Center. A network of trails from the Nature Center provide access to the glacier, and the 11.9 km Harding Icefield Trail.

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Sleep

A full range of hotels, restaurants, and grocery stores are available year-round in Seward.

There is one established campground located near the Exit Glacier area. It has 12 sites for tents, and is walk-in only.
Camping is also permitted in the nearby Chugach National Forest, and with the Seward Parks & Recreation Department.

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This is version 2. Last edited at 9:52 on Dec 11, 15 by Utrecht. 3 articles link to this page.

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