Lake Clark National Park, established in 1980, is a nature reserve in the southwestern part of Alaska. Although it’s small in comparison to many other parks in the state, which include the sizable Wrangell-St Elias and Gates of the Arctic, it contains one of the most diverse landscapes of all of the US national parks. Many animals, including bears, caribou, and moose, call Lake Clark Alaska home, and visitors will more than likely encounter a variety of these and other creatures. While trying out the many outdoor activities, such as rafting and hiking, adventurers will gain a new perspective on the state’s ecosystem at one of the best Alaska parks.
People have inhabited Lake Clark Alaska in small numbers for more than 10,000 years, and after the development of the national park, a cultural program was established here to promote the education and preservation of the area’s heritage. Because of this, Lake Clark National Park is more than just a sanctuary for wilderness and its animal residents—it is a cultural reservation as well.
Teeming with wildlife, Lake Clark National Park is one of the best places to view the native creatures of Alaska. Grizzly bears, often fishing in the lakes and waterways; members of the deer family, including moose and caribou; and wolves, hunting and roaming the land are rarer sites, but it is more common to see Dall sheep, the northernmost wild sheep in North America, and a selection of other small mammals and birds around the many landscapes of Lake Clark. In addition to land animals, there are plenty of fish and several sea mammals, of which the most commonly seen are the harbor seal, harbor porpoises, beluga whales, and Stellar’s sea lions.
Two large lakes, an upper and a lower joined by a small stream, are among the best known features of the park; these are known as Twin Lakes Alaska. These lakes eventually flow into the western Nushagak Bay. In addition to being one of the most popular hunting grounds in the park, Twin Lakes Alaska was the final home of Richard Proenneke, an amateur naturalist; he built the log cabin that he lived in by hand. Other individuals have maintained cabins at Twin Lakes Alaska, including a Navy Captain known as Spike Carrithers.
Visitors to the park can participate in a variety of adventurous activities, including kayaking, canoeing, rafting, fishing, hunting, hiking, camping, and of course, watching the habits and activities of the park’s wildlife. There are no permits or fees required to enter the park or to enjoy the activities; however, for such endeavors as fishing and hunting, state law requires participants to acquire a license to do so, and the park enforces the law for any visitors who want to participate in these activities. Lake Clark National Park offers no maintained trails or facilities, and as such, most of the landscape and prospective activities are considered backcountry. Inexperienced adventurers would be wise to obtain a knowledgeable guide before attempting an excursion of the park alone.
For the greatest adventurer and the admirer of nature, Lake Clark Alaska is often known as the essence of the state, as it encompasses such a greatly diverse landscape in one small area. This park makes for a refreshing and pleasant experience of whatever array of chosen activities that take place on guests visit here. Katmai National Park is nearby, as is Kenai Fjords National Park, making it easy to combine visits to different landmarks in Alaska.