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World Heritage Site

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Glacier parks

Glacier parks

The Kluane/Wrangell-St. Elias/Glacier Bay/Tatshenshini-Alsek National Parks (‘a new, less cumbersome name’ is requested for) in the Yukon and Alaska has spectacular mountainous setting, ongoing geological processes in the over 100 glaciers and is a diverse and abundant habitat for wildlife.

These parks offer combined marine, coastal, wild river and high mountain scenery with minimal extent of human modification. It has the largest protected population of grizzly bears in the world and the single largest group of Dall sheep.

Comparisons can be made to New Zealand’s SW/Fiordland and Chile’s Bernardo O’Higgins/Laguna San Rafael National Parks.

Glacier Bay was added to the original nomination in 1992, and Tatshenshini-Alsek Provincial Wilderness Park in 1994.

Map of Glacier parks


  • Natural

Community Reviews

Cynthia Webb USA - 10-Dec-12

Glacier Bay--pristine, vast, cold, peaceful, and amazing. The size and scale of the glaciers is astounding. I saw it on a cold, overcast May day from a cruise ship and wished I had the opportunity to see it both in (slightly) warmer weather and from the ground. Definitely worth the trip, and I'll be returning in the future.

Joyce van Soest The Netherlands - 28-Dec-05

Glacier parks by Joyce

These parks are, in my opinion, quite different from each other so I don’t really understand why they are included together, except for the fact that they are beautiful nature areas in the Northwest.

My visit to Kluane was just very short and I’ve only seen a tiny bit of this huge park, but it’s definitely worth the long long drive up north. It’s impossible to capture the true beauty of this immense rugged landscape with high wild mountains so you have to go see for yourself.

The deep forests of the Westcoast of Alaska are worth a visit too, Wrangell-St. Elias is great, but you better make sure you take good rain gear with you because there’s a reason why there is so much RAINforest…

Kelly Henry USA -

This must be one of the largest sites in area in the world. Glacier Bay is best seen from a boat. Even the view from a large cruise ship is unforgettable. An echoing rifle shot crack of the glaciers calving warns you of a giant splash and sea otters and whales can be seen from the waters.

Tatshenshini-Alsek doesn't have many roads but is full of wildlife, wide open spaces without even a power line or a road to spoil the view. Wrangell St. Elias has some of the largest mountains in North America as well as a historic abandoned copper mine.

You need at least 2 weeks to see this site properly. Pack warm!

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Community Rating

Community Rating 4.20. Based on 5 votes.

Site Info

Full name: Kluane/Wrangell-St. Elias/Glacier Bay/Tatshenshini-Alsek

Unesco ID: 72

Inscribed: 1979

Type: Natural

Criteria: 7   8   9   10  

Link: By Name By ID

Site History

  • 2000 - Name change From "Tatshenshini-Alsek/Kluane National Park/Wrangell-St. Elias National Park and Reserve and Glacier Bay National Park" to "Kluane/Wrangell-St. Elias/Glacier Bay/Tatshenshini-Alsek"
  • 1994 - Extended To include Tatshenshini-Alsek Provincial Wilderness Park
  • 1992 - Extended Include Glacier Bay
  • 1979 - Inscribed 


The site has 1 locations.

  • Glacier parks


The site has 28 connections.


  • Destroyed or damaged by Earthquake: In 1899 an 8.4 earthquake on the coast shattered the glacier into extensive calving; in 1958 an 8.0 earthquake devastated Lituya Bay on the coast (UNEP-WCMC)
  • Damaged by Landslide: Lituya Bay: On July 9, 1958, an earthquake caused a landslide in the Crillon Inlet at the head of the bay, generating a massive megatsunami (wiki)


  • Bears: Grizzly bear, black bear and the only habitat in the world for the bluish glacier bear Ursus americanus emmonsi, a colour phase of the black bear found nowhere else in Canada
  • Boreal Forest or Taiga
  • Icebergs: Glacier Bay
  • Inselbergs: Chief Mountain Link
  • Seals: fur seal, elephant seal, harbour seal
  • Dunes: sand dunes
  • Gray Wolf
  • Otters: River otter, sea otter
  • Critically endangered fauna species: Kittlitz's Murrelet, a small seabird Link
  • Whales: humpback whale, grey whale, minke whale and killer whale
  • Tectonic processes: Criterion (viii): These tectonically active joint properties feature continuous mountain building and contain outstanding examples of major ongoing geologic and glacial processes.


  • Glaciers: AB review "In the ice covered central plateau arc (are) over 100 named and as many unnamed glaciers." and "?the Steele glacier surged over 8 km. during the period 1966-68. This is believed to be unique" The parks also contain the Nebesna and Hubbard Glaciers.
  • Fjords: the St. Elias Parks complex
  • Pan-American Highway
  • Cirques: Kings Throne Link
  • Territorial Highest points: Mount Logan, the highest mountain in Canada at 5,959 metres (19,551 ft), in Kluane National Park
  • World's most prominant mountains: Mt Logan 6th most prominent (5250 m), Mt Faitersthrt 26th most prominent (3955 m)

Individual People

  • John Muir: Alaska "- 1879 (first Alaskan expedition with S. Hall Young) (Fort Wrangell, Glenora on the Stikine River, mid-October - Glacier Bay) 1880 (July-September, to Taylor Glacier with Stickeen) 1881 (May-October, Cruised aboard the Corwin, Bering Sea, Siberia) 1890 1896 1897 (via Banff and Canadian Rockies) 1899 (Harriman Alaska Expedition) (Sitka -June 1899) (Wrangell, Glacier Bay, Prince William Sound - 1899) Link


  • Holocene: Geologists believe that Glacier Bay existed during a minimum of four Glacial periods ending with the Little Ice Age, which has a 4,000 years old record, as the latest period. All glaciers in the park today are said to be remnants of this glacial period. (wiki)


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