Gates of the Arctic National Park & Preserve, in Alaska's Brooks Range, preserves a vast (8,472,527 acres) and essentially untouched area (the park had fewer than 9,000 human visitors in 1999) of superlative natural beauty and exceptional scientific value. It is a maze of glaciated valleys and gaunt, rugged mountains covered with boreal forest and arctic tundra vegetation, cut by wild rivers, and inhabited by far-ranging populations of caribou, Dall's sheep, wolves, and bears (barren-ground grizzlies and black bears). The special value of the Park and Preserve is its wild and undeveloped character, and the opportunities it affords for solitude, wilderness travel, and adventure. Gates of the Arctic encompasses several elements, including the national park, national preserve, wilderness, six wild rivers and two national natural landmarks.
Gates of the Arctic offers the opportunity for extreme wilderness recreation activities such as: backpacking, river running, mountaineering, dog mushing, and others. The remote location and extreme climate of the Brooks Range requires travelers to have exceptionally strong wilderness skills and flexibility to adjust plans. A required backcountry orientation program for recreational travelers is offered at the Bettles Ranger Station, Coldfoot Visitor Center, and Anaktuvuk Pass Ranger Station. Backcountry users not passing through one of these locations must contact the Bettles Ranger Station prior to their visit.
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