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America the Beautiful: Kenai Fjords, Alaska

America the Beautiful: Kenai Fjords, Alaska

America the Beautiful

With more than 3.5 million square miles to explore, there is no better time to get out and discover all the spectacular sights the USA has to offer. 

First stop: Kenai Fjords, Alaska

Alaska is home to countless natural wonders, including glaciers, volcanos, the Northern Lights view, and so much more. Kenai Fjords, located on the Kenai Peninsula’s Southeast coast, is home to the famous Harding Icefield (one of the largest ice fields in the United States). It is so named due to the abundant fjords sculpted by glaciers as they move down the mountain from the Harding Icefield. In 1978, Jimmy Carter designated Kenai Fjords as a national monument, and in 1980, it became a national park. The latter was created to conserve the rainforest ecosystems and the fjords.

stacks of rock formations with tree foliage on waters in alaska

Sea Stacks in Kenai Fjord, Alaska | Image credit: @ Steven Schremp | Getty Images

Kenai Fjords is nearly 51% ice. The Harding Icefield is over 700 square miles and caps the Kenai Fjords. More than 40 glaciers descend from the ice field in many different directions. Over the years, the retreating glaciers have exposed land, allowing new plant and animal life to take refuge. Although the terrain is rough, hundreds of wildlife inhabit Kenai Fjords, including bears, goats, moose, sea otters, porcupines, timber wolves, humpback whales, killer whales, and 191 species of birds. 

water spewing from whale in the water

Humpback whale in Kenai Fjords, Alaska | Image credit: @ BlueBarronPhoto | Getty Images


Moose looking towards the camera on sunny day

A moose enjoys a sunny day in Alaska | Image credit: @ BlueBarron photo | Getty Images

5 Facts about Kenai Fjords National Park, Alaska:⁣

1. Ice covers 51% of the land in Kenai Fjords National Park⁣

2. The lowest elevation is 0 feet at the Pacific Ocean⁣

3. The highest elevation is 6,612 feet on Mt. Truuli⁣

4. In 1993, villages dating back to 1200 AD had been discovered. However, a follow-up survey from 2003 indicated at least one site was occupied as early as 950 AD.

5. It is believed the name “Kenai Fjords” originates from the Dena’ina word ‘kena,’ which means ‘open area with a few trees, flat, meadow.’ ⁣

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