Katmai Centennial Events
These special centennial events are made possible through partnerships with the Katmai Conservancy and explore.org.
NATURE - PASS IT ON
The Katmai Conservancy is a proud partner of southwest Alaska’s Katmai National Park and Preserve. The sole purpose of the Katmai Conservancy is to support the preservation and enjoyment of this unique National Park and Preserve known for its proliferation of bears, salmon, volcanoes, and remote wilderness, accessible only by boat and plane.
Spanning over 4 million acres, Katmai National Park and Preserve is the fourth largest of the more than 400 areas managed by the Department of Interior’s National Park Service. Katmai was established as a Preserve in 1918 to protect the region surrounding Mount Katmai and the Valley of Ten Thousand Smokes that was devastated by the largest volcanic eruption of the 20th Century. Today, Katmai is still a very active volcanic region, and the Valley of Ten Thousand Smokes is a visual and scientific wonder. The Park and Preserve protect over 9,000 years of human history and support the largest protected brown/grizzly bear population on Earth, numbering over 2,000. An important habitat for sockeye salmon, Katmai provides superb fishing opportunities for humans and bears alike. The 497 miles of coastline create additional regions of bio-diversity. Accessible primarily by air, the few trails and even fewer roads foster a true wilderness experience.
Katmai park staff is working to establish a close relationship with the Bristol Bay Borough School in Naknek, attended by about 130 K-12 students from Naknek, South Naknek, and King Salmon. Park rangers visit classrooms and get kids outdoors for place-based experiential education programs. Additionally, rangers are connecting with schools elsewhere in Alaska via a new distance-learning program that uses video chat to interact in real time with students.
Katmai's infrastructure exists mainly in the Brooks Camp area, arguably the best place in the world to view brown bears in the wild. Accommodating growing visitation necessitates facility improvements to ensure that salmon and bears stay protected and the people stay safe. New or updated visitor centers at both Brooks Camp and in the gateway community of King Salmon, along with associated infrastructure, would improve the visitor experience.
Park resource managers work closely with partners to further understanding of the cultural history, physical landscape, and complex ecosystem of the Alaska Peninsula. One proposed project would document traditional Alaska Native place names for bodies of water, bays, mountains, valleys, promontories or other geographic landmarks in these units, thus also greatly enhancing our knowledge of how the parklands facilitated subsistence and functioned as a cultural crossroads for at least 9,000 years. Other ongoing or planned research involves looking at the nature and diversity of bear genomics at Brooks Camp and elsewhere in the park, and monitoring climate change impacts.
Park managers recently completed a Climate Friendly Parks Action Plan demonstrating steps taken so far to reduce greenhouse gas emissions and implement sustainable practices. Efforts are ongoing to improve capacity for generating power locally using renewable resources and addressing waste disposal challenges through composting—both potentially cost-saving as well as environmentally responsible, especially in Katmai's far off-the-grid Alaska setting.
Donate to the Katmai Conservancy
Your support will help the Katmai Conservancy and Katmai National Park accomplish research, education, and visitor service priorities. Donate today, and help support Katmai National Park.