Katmai National Park & Preserve

Katmai National Park & and a foraging bear.
Photo by: Marshmallow, Creative Commons

One of the major destinations of tourists visiting Alaska is the Katmai National Park & Preserve. Developed in 1918, this United States National Park in Southern Alaska is home to its famous brown bears and The Valley of Ten Thousand Smokes. This valley was formed after the 1912 eruption of the Novarupta.

The national park covers an area of 7,383 square miles, 5,288 square miles is a designated wilderness area. Within this vast area are at least fourteen volcanoes and several archaeological sites. The park itself got its name from Mt. Katmai, the centerpiece stratovolcano. Long before the creation of The Valley of Ten Thousand Smokes and the brown bear population, this area was once inhabited by humans. The area is rich with history dating back to Paleo-arctic tradition all the way up to the Thule tradition.

A lot of activities can be enjoyed at Katmai National Park. Camping, fishing, backpacking and hiking are some of the most common. Boat tours and kayaking are also available for people who seek more adventure. One of the most exciting activities is to get a glimpse of the brown bears that live in the park. Bear viewing platforms are located around the park. The park is home to more than 2,000 brown bears. A lot of these bears can be found near the Brook Falls viewing platform as this is where the salmon are spawning.

The brown bears found at the Park & Preserve are well taken care of. A lot of work is given for the care of the bears. They never get in contact with human food or interact with humans in any way. This is one of the reasons why these brown bears are not interested in people and photographs of them can be taken at much closer distances than brown bears in other areas.

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