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YOU can help protect your national parks!

Help us reach our $401,000 goal by 12/31 so we can start 2015 strong defending them.

The national parks are yours.

Make your year-end, tax-deductible contribution to protect them today!

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Photo: National Park Service

Glacier Bay National Park and Preserve

Center for the State of the Parks: Park Assessments

Published September 2008


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(PDF, 10.5 MB, 60 pages)

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(PDF, 159 KB, 2 pages)

Glacier Bay National Park and Preserve commands a glacier-crowned, maritime wilderness that stretches northward from Alaska’s inside passage to the Alsek River, encircling a magnificent saltwater bay. Stunning views of snowcapped peaks and azure tidewater glaciers, as well as the opportunity to view wildlife such as orcas and bears, draw more than 400,000 visitors to the park each year.

In addition to taking in the park’s incredible scenery and extensive natural resources, visitors have the opportunity to learn about the area’s rich human history, including connections with Tlingit peoples, for whom Glacier Bay is their sacred homeland.

The large majority of the park’s visitors arrive in park waters via cruise ships or other boats, viewing the park from aboard these vessels. To serve these visitors, park staff board cruise ships and provide interpretive programs.

Of the more than 3.2 million acres within Glacier Bay National Park and Preserve, 57,000 acres are part of the preserve, where subsistence and sport hunting, trapping, commercial fishing, and limited off-road vehicle use are permitted according to the Alaska National Interest Lands Conservation Act (ANILCA).

According to an assessment by NPCA’s Center for State of the Parks, current overall conditions of Glacier Bay National Park and Preserve’s known natural resources rated a “good” score of 89 out of 100. The park is comprised of largely untouched wilderness that is relatively pristine compared to other national parks. But there are some natural resource concerns, including the threat of overharvest of halibut, air pollution from Asia, and a few problematic invasive plants that may gain a foothold in the park. To round out understandings of natural resources, the park needs baseline data on land mammals and invertebrates, animal harvests from hunting, and soil quality.

Cultural resources received a “fair” score of 66 out of 100. Cultural resource programs receive only 2 percent of the park’s budget and are managed primarily by one staff member. More staff are needed to catalog the museum collection and archives and to develop interpretive programs about historic structures, archaeological resources, and cultural landscapes, which currently receive no interpretation. One highlight of the cultural resources program is the recent improvement in relations between the park and the Tlingit whose ancestors once lived in the area.

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