Kobuk Valley National Park – What’s so special about it?
Kobuk Valley National Park is located in a remote northwestern edge of Alaska state of United States, about twenty miles away from the Arctic Circle. By the Alaska National Conservation Act, it was designated as a national park in early 1980. An imaginative river crosses this far-reaching and picturesque Kobuk Valley and surrounded by mountains, both the river and valley are known as the Kobuk
Kobuk Valley National Park is the country’s most secluded region, and the travelers who have visited this national park have had a spectacular experience since it offers an abundance of untouched natural beauty to explore including mountains, lush greenery, valleys, and rivers. One of the tourists’ favorite things to do in the park is back country camping, animal sledding, picnicking, hiking, boating, or just exploring the wilderness. There are no specific trails or tracks located inside the park that lead to a specific point, but visitors can easily travel inside the park for its clear way.
It covers over two million acres of land full of untouched and undisturbed wilderness. Due to the position of the park at the north of Arctic Circle, about twenty-five hundred square miles of land area of the park is freshly sanded dunes. The park is often called as the Arctic Sahara because of the temperature in summers rising over one hundred degrees Fahrenheit. The sea of sand in the park is a remnant of great dunes blown here over a couple of centuries.
The Iconic Caribou: It is estimated that over one thousand years ago, the park’s iconic animal Caribou migrated from the surrounded mountain ranges, from the winter feeding ground to the summer calving grounds. Untiring and restless, the Caribou traveled hundreds of miles at a stretch, pausing only to graze on Tundra or other plants, for they must eat to travel. Driven by some inner voice they push on, even they cross the waters. Some herds of the Caribou are numbered in a few thousand and other hundreds of thousands. The Caribou must cross the rivers in the park to continue their migration. These instinctive migrations occur twice a year, and the migration of these animals is a great opportunity for Eskimo people for hunting.
Eskimo People & the Hunting Season: The hunting season in Kobuk National Park begins in September every year. However, the subsistence hunting is forbidden in the region. Most of the Eskimo people that are inhabited here are dependent on hunting for their yearly supply of fresh meat. Hunting is a way of life in Kobuk National Park, however, the Eskimo people believe that the Caribou is sacred, and these people dependent on those Caribou animals for their survival in this remote region. Eskimo ply the river in their boats, once the Caribou is in the water they are vulnerable to their guns. For every animal killed, thousands will escape. It has been this way between the park’s iconic caribou and the Eskimo since the time immemorial. To Eskimo people what is important is that the Caribou return year after year but the herds are not always predictable.