The barren Chiswell Islands, serviced by ferry boat, are an excellent place to see giant Steller sea lions basking, playing, and fighting on the rocks. As one of the biggest ice fields in all of North America, it is home to over three dozen glaciers. Kenai Fjords National Park is an American national park established in 1980 by the Alaska National Interest Lands Conservation Act. Incredible Kenai Fjords Kayaking Trips. Kenai Fjords National Park in Alaska is known for its abundance of steep glacier carved peaks that rise right out of the ocean, cut through by glaciers slowly sliding down from the ice fields above. The Kenai Fjords, like much of Alaska’s landscape, were formed by two incredibly powerful but seemingly opposite forces: tectonic activity and glaciers. The park contains the Harding Icefield, one of the largest ice fields in the United States. The crests are well over the top of the small, fire-engine-red vessel, and through the quiet tension I sense that a wrong decision could send the boat toppling into the waves. Kenai Fjords Weather. Glaciers, earthquakes, and ocean storms have shaped Alaska's Kenai Fjords for centuries, resulting in constantly changing terrain. In 1909, USGS geologists U.S. Grant and D. F. Higgins mapped and photographed all of the tidewater glaciers and many of the land-terminating outlet glaciers in what is now Kenai Fjords National Park, creating a thorough record of glacier terminus positions and heights. The Harding Icefield covers more than 700 square miles in Kenai Fjords National Park and is the source of over 35 named glaciers. As climate changes and glaciers recede, pioneer plants move in to prepare the land for the forests to come. CHiEN Popular Summary Much recent research points to the shrinkage of the Earth's small glaciers, however, few studies have been performed to quantify the amount of change over time. I’m on the southern end of Alaska, heading into one of the glacier-cut fjords of the Kenai Peninsula to Bear Glacier Lake. Kenai Fjords National Park. Today nearly 56 percent of the park is covered by ice, but all of this land was once buried beneath the ice and still bears its influence. Experienced kayakers often travel in and around Resurrection Bay. In August, 2004, with funding from the National Park Service and the USGS Earth Surface Dynamics Program, we conducted a new photo survey in Grant and Higgins' footsteps. Paddling further, the blue world emits its own universe of sound: a marine calm punctuated by the lapping of water against massive objects, but there’s something else, too. Valley glaciers are what most people picture when theythink ofglaciers. Glacier Kayaking in Kenai Fjords National Park. Notice, Smithsonian Terms of With the possibility of taking an unexpected dip in freezing waters, the lesson is heavy with the anxiety to get it right the first time. In these instances, new GPS-located photo stations were established within sight of the present day termini. Kayaking through the narrow inlets of the Kenai Fjords feels like stepping back in time. For instance, a picture of McCarty Glacier from 1909 precedes a picture of the same glacier in 2004. All along the road to the visitor center, signs show the glacier’s retreat over the last century, each marker indicating the location of the edge of the glacier during the year written on the sign. Valley glaciers are what most people picture when theythink ofglaciers. Several glaciers originate from this icefield like the Bear Glacier. The park is going to cover a massive area of 669,984 acres and it can be found on the Kenai Peninsula. Everywhere the glacier is also cut through with stripes of a gray-black substance called moraine – dirt and rock caught up in the slow movement of the ice as it flows out of Harding Icefield. All ofthe glaciers that drain the Harding Icefield are valleyglaciers. The video displays how the glaciers have receded over a century. ). Things to Do in Kenai Alaska: From Fjords to Glaciers. It’s also notable for being one of the most visible indications of climate change. Bear Glacier, Kenai Fjords National Park. United States. Alongside a small group of other hikers, I follow the lower portion of the Harding Icefield Trail, my pack heavy with gear necessary for the highlight of our trek: walking on Exit Glacier. Kenai Fjords National Park is a land dominated by glaciers, massive rivers of ice that flow out from the Harding Icefield. Several different types of glaciers can be seen from our cruises, including tidewater, piedmont, hanging, and cirque glaciers. For safety, kayakers and paddleboarders should maintain a distance equal to the length of the berg itself, or twice its height, whichever is greater.
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