"I am glad I shall never be young without wild country to be young in. Of what avail are forty freedoms without a blank spot on the map?"
—from "A Sand Country Almac" by Aldo Leopold

Rising in Canada's Yukon Territory, the Alsek River, and its major tributary, the Tatshenshini, flow into British Columbia and finally into Alaska before reaching the Pacific Ocean near Glacier Bay National Park. Along their 160-mile journey, the rivers pass through one of the largest protected wilderness areas in the world,the recently designated Wrangell-St. Elias/Glacier Bay World Heritage Site.

Rafting these river corridors is time traveling back to the Ice Age. Glaciers reach from craggy peaks to the river's edge, and sculpted blue icebergs float in the lakes. Contrasting with the icy landscapes, abundant wildflowers fill the valleys. Lucky travelers will spot grizzlies, black bear, moose, mountain goats, and perhaps a rare wolf or lynx.

View of Lowell Glacier and Lowell Lake from Goatherd Mt., Alsek River
John Toner holding a moose skull, Alsek River
Rowing among the icebergs in Lowell Bay, Alsek River

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Tracks of a large grizzly bear along the Alsek River
The Presidential Range, which includes several peaks over 15,000 feet high, viewed from the Alsek River. Moose skull and wildflowers in the foreground.

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Photos from the Tatshenshini River


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©2000 Mary Allen. All Rights Reserved. All photos copyrighted.