“caribou, sand dunes & more!”
Caribou, sand dunes, the Kobuk River, Onion Portage are just some of the facets of Kobuk Valley National Park. Half a million caribou migrate through, their tracks crisscrossing sculpted dunes. The Kobuk River is an ancient and current path for people and wildlife. For 9000 years, people came to Onion Portage to harvest caribou as they swam the river. Even today, that rich tradition continues. In 1940, archeologist J. Louis Giddings traveled down the Kobuk River on a homemade raft, with three young Native men as guides. They found many ancient house depressions, including one at Onion Portage in Kobuk Valley National Park. The site is now believed to be about 10,000 years old. The park encompasses the Baird Mountains in the north, the Kobuk Sand Dunes in the south and the broad Kobuk River Valley in between. All together, this equals 1.7 million acres. The southern boundary of the park is 35 miles above the Arctic Circle. The boreal forest reaches its northern limit here, resulting in an open woodland of small trees in a mat of thick tundra. The Kobuk River winds its way slowly through the park for 61 miles.The park was established to maintain the environmental integrity of the valley’s natural features in an undeveloped state and, in cooperation with local Natives, to protect and interpret archeological sites associated with Native cultures. As such, natural and archeological objects are protected. Leaving them where you find them preserves these special resources for the good of residents and visitors alike.
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Kobuk Valley National Park
- Sun - Sat: 12:00 am - 11:59 pm
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