A Geography of Hope: Highlights from Two Alaska National Parks

My family traveled to Alaska in the summer of 2016, where we visited Denali and Kenai Fjords National Parks. Along the way, some of our favorite stops included the Alaska Wildlife Conservation Center in Girdwood, the Alaska Native Heritage Center in Anchorage, and the town of Talkeetna. And in Anchorage, I got to catch up with my college roommate Bourke in his home state.

Over the course of a week, we got a small but rich taste of Alaska’s vastness and natural beauty. And during our hike to Exit Glacier, we saw up close how far the glacier’s edge had receded in just the past two centuries — a sobering reminder of the responsibility we all share to protect our wild places and natural treasures that inhabit them.

Read “The Mirror in the Ice,” a longer piece about our Exit Glacier hike, featured in the NRDC’s journal series celebrating 100 years of the National Park Service. 

Denali from across Reflection Pond
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My brother Matt photographing Beluga Point
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Alaska Wildlife Conservation Center, Girdwood
A humpback whale breaches by a glacier in Kenai Fjords National Park
Kenai Fjords National Park
A flock of gulls takes off from the Chiswell Islands in Kenai Fjords National Park
Up close and personal with Exit Glacier

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