Alaska — Katmai National Park
Alaska is known to its indigenous peoples as "the great land" and on our first visit there the reason for this description immediately became obvious. In addition to its huge size on maps, the fact that travel to many places can only be accomplished by plane, and usually a float plane at that, brings home the point that most of this State consists of space the way Nature originally planned it.
Katmai National Park is the second largest national park in Alaska (about 4600 square miles vs Denali's 6000 square miles). The center of activity for most visitors is Brooks Camp, situated on Naknek Lake at the outflow of the Brooks River into that lake. You fly into Brooks Camp by float plane, landing on Naknek Lake in the middle of one of the largest concentrations of brown bears (Ursus arctos) in the world. The park is located at the base of the arc-shaped Alaskan Peninsula that ends with the Aleutian Islands. A detailed map of the park is available at: http://www.lib.utexas.edu/maps/national_parks/katmai_map.jpg A sequence of images showing how we got there and what we saw as we arrived is at the Travel & Accommodations page.
Alaska is currently the target of a major campaign by the Bush Administration and industry to open huge areas of pristine wilderness to oil and other industrial exploitation. Please visit http://www.alaskawild.org/
and http://www.npca.org/wild_alaska/parks_of_alaska/crown_jewels/default.asp for suggestions on how to help protect this wonderful place.
I brought home about one thousand images from our 5 day trip. (See the Equipment & Techniques page for some details.) Click on any thumbnail or title to see full size images.