Lake Clark National Park


Alaska Senior Editor Michelle Theall shares Alaskan portraits from her time traveling and meeting people around the state. For this photo Theall writes, “When you live in Utqiagvik at the edge of the world, you make your own fun. Three kids sit atop a roof to rest after a day of biking along the Arctic Ocean. In typical Inupiat villages, seal pelts hang off ATVs and meat dries on sawhorses in front of homes. Gas is $7.00 a gallon and a two-liter bottle of Coca-Cola will cost you $10. However, bike riding and climbing on a neighbor’s shed remain free for now.” If you live or work in Alaska, you know that life here is different: simultaneously slower, harder, and more adventurous than in the Lower 48. People are fiercely independent, yet friendly. Communities possess unique personalities, defined in large part by their denizens or tourist offerings. Climbing and mining…

Visitors can see everything from bears and murres to sand dunes and salmon.

[by David Shaw]

It’s Denali National Park’s fault I live in Alaska. Fourteen years ago, I accepted a position as a field biologist, banding birds at the far end of the park’s only road. For two months I awoke every clear morning to a view of Denali itself, the Great One rising 20,320 feet into thin air. I was hooked, and have been here ever since.

Explore glacial lakes and towering peaks Getting to Lake Clark National Park and Preserve, a roadless wilderness of 3 million acres accessible only by boat or plane, is a camera-worthy adventure. Located in the southern portion of the Alaska Range to the west of Cook Inlet, the park features tumbling glaciers and towering peaks. It’s a short hop, flying 100 miles southwest from Anchorage over forbidding terrain before dropping into the small town of Port Alsworth within the park. From there, you can take a bush plane to get you wherever you want to go, with pick up and drop off itineraries that are easy and reliable to schedule on your own or with a reputable guide or outfitter. Along the way, you’ll have a birds-eye view of the Chigmit Mountains, a range created by centuries of geological chaos where volcanoes like Iliamna and Redoubt vent regularly, as well as…

I slept well, but then again, A Secret Service agent stood just outside. The agent wasn’t there because of me, but rather guarded former President Jimmy Carter and First Lady Rosalyn, who were in the cabin next door. The president was here to commemorate the 20th anniversary of the Alaska National Interest Lands Conservation Act, better known as ANILCA. Carter had signed the law in 1980 and set aside some 104 million acres for parks and wildlife refuges in the most sweeping conservation legislation in the world. At the time, there were protest marches in Anchorage, and Carter had been hung in effigy. After a round of public appearances, the president and his contingent flew west to Lake Clark National Park and Preserve. The National Park Service planned to show the president an ANILCA park and treat him to some fly fishing. As the park superintendent, I played host. We…