Gates of the Artic National Park
Gates of the Arctic National Park and Preserve is the
northernmost national park in the United States. It lies north
of the Arctic Circle in Alaska and it is the second largest
national park at 13,238 square miles. The park consists
primarily of portions of the Brooks Range of mountains. It was
first protected as a U.S. National Monument on December 1, 1978,
before becoming a national park and preserve two years later in
1980 upon passage of the Alaska National Interest Lands
The park's name dates to 1929, when wilderness activist Bob
Marshall, exploring the North Fork of the Koyukuk River,
encountered a pair of mountains,Frigid Crags and Boreal
Mountain, one on each side of the river. He christened this
portal the "Gates of the Arctic."
Unusual for a U.S. national park, some 1,500 people reside in
ten small communities in the park's "resident subsistence zone"
where they rely on park resources for survival. There are no
established roads, trails, visitor facilities, or campgrounds in
the park. However, the Dalton Highway (Alaska State Highway 11)
comes within five miles (8 km) of the park's eastern boundary.
The National Park Service maintains a small visitor center in
nearby Coldfoot on the highway.