Monday, March 27, 2017

National Parks pt. 1

As a big fan of the outdoors, I love visiting National Parks. I've been fortunate enough to visit 14 of these amazing places. That sounds like a lot, until you realize our country currently has 59 of them. I thought I'd spend some time talking about 10 amazing parks you and I will most likely never visit. Hopefully I'll get to all of them, but these 10 will truly be difficult to reach for one reason or another.
I'll start with the two least visited national parks in the U.S.

Gates of the Arctic National Park and Preserve, and Lake Clark National Park and Preserve, are located Alaska. Alaska has 8 national parks, second only to California (9).  The most visited national park in the U.S., Great Smoky Mountain N.P., had over 11 million visitors last year. In contrast both these parks had a combined visitation of approximately 24,000.

Gates of the Arctic is a vast park covering the north central part of Alaska. In addition to it's ultra-remote location there is a good reason why it's so sparsely visited. There are no roads or infrastructure inside the park. That's right, no bathrooms, showers, electricity or really even people for the most part to be found here. You either have to charter a small plane to drop you off or hike into the park.  Here you'll find vast untouched wilderness and the beautiful Brooks Mountain range, Kobuk River, and spruce forests. Major animals in this area include, bear, caribou, moose, river otters, wolves, and eagles.

Mt. Redoubt
Lake Clark National Park also has no roads or infrastructure, so reaching this park is another considerable challenge. It can only be reached by boat or small aircraft. However, this park includes features not found in any other Alaska Parks: three mountain ranges collide here,coastal rainforests and alpine tundra, as well as lakes and glaciers. The park contains 2 volcanoes, Mt. Redoubt, and Mt. Iliamna. Mt. Redoubt erupted recently (1989 and 2009). Because of so much variety in geography within the park, nearly all of Alaska's animal, from Salmon to wolverine, can be found here. 

Lake Clark NP

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