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Kobuk Valley Wilderness

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The United States Congress designated the Kobuk Valley Wilderness (map) in 1980 and it now has a total of 174,545 acres. All of this wilderness is located in Alaska and is managed by the National Park Service. The Kobuk Valley Wilderness is bordered by the Selawik Wilderness to the south.


Here in Kobuk Valley National Park, 26 miles north of the Arctic Circle and enclosed by the Baird and Waring Mountains, the climate has changed little (or not at all) since the late Pleistocene era. Remnant flora grow as reminders of the vast Arctic steppe tundra that once bridged present-day Alaska and Asia. At the western end of the Brooks Range, where the mountains descend gently toward the Chukchi Sea, the park contains a transition zone between boreal forestland and open tundra. Strangely out of place, 25 square miles of the crescent-shaped Great Kobuk Sand Dunes shift in Arctic winds. Summer temperatures may rise above 100 degrees Fahrenheit.

Large mammals include wolves, red foxes, caribou, Alaskan moose, black bears, brown bears, beavers, river otters, Canadian lynxes, and Dall's sheep. Smaller mammals include wolverines, martens, minks, porcupines, muskrats, snowshoe hares and a variety of voles. Fish species include chinook, chum, pink and sockeye salmon, Dolly Varden, Arctic char, lake trout and Arctic grayling. Other species include burbot, Arctic lamprey, round, broad and humpback whitefish, and pond and rainbow smelt.

Planning to Visit the Kobuk Valley Wilderness?

Leave No Trace

How to follow the seven standard Leave No Trace principles differs in different parts of the country (desert vs. Rocky Mountains). Click on any of the principles listed below to learn more about how they apply in the Kobuk Valley Wilderness.
  1. Plan Ahead and Prepare
  2. Travel and Camp on Durable Surfaces
  3. Dispose of Waste Properly
  4. Leave What You Find
  5. Minimize Campfire Impacts
  6. Respect Wildlife
  7. Be Considerate of Other Visitors
For more information on Leave No Trace, Visit the Leave No Trace, Inc. website.

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