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Gates of the Arctic

By Linda Tancs

With no roads or trails, Alaska’s Gates of the Arctic ain’t your momma’s national park. But for those pioneering enough to brave nature’s elements, it offers spectacular opportunities to discover a premier wilderness. Four times the size of Yellowstone, the park and preserve lie entirely north of the Arctic Circle, straddling the crest of the Brooks Range (the northernmost extension of the Rocky Mountains). This land is home to the Athabascan and Nunamiut, who hunt the caribou herds that migrate through the park in the spring and autumn. The park was named by intrepid explorer Robert Marshall, citing two mountains paired opposite the North Fork. A lake named in his honor is about 33 miles from Anaktuvuk Pass, an Eskimo village within the park borders and a popular entry point into the preserve. Scheduled flights from Fairbanks serve the area.

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