Anaktuvuk Pass is a remote village located within the Park and Preserve boundaries. It was established along a major caribou migration route in the early 1950s by the last remaining band of semi-nomadic Nunamiut Eskimo. Even today, the residents continue to depend on caribou and other natural resources for food, clothing and cultural continuity. Today, Anaktuvuk Pass is a village of 250 people with regular air service, a village store, and a popular museum that highlights Nunamiut history and culture. Although the village offers only minimal visitor services, the NPS maintains a ranger station there, and visitors to Gates of the Arctic stage trips out of Anaktuvuk Pass when backpacking and floating the John River. Village residents still rely on caribou herds for most of their meat, though they also hunt Dall sheep and harvest trout and grayling, ptarmigan, and waterfowl. The people of Anaktuvuk Pass still trade for food resources from the Arctic coast like meat and blubber from seals and whales.
Fairbanks - Gates of the Arctic National Park
Anaktuvuk Pass literally means "place of many caribou droppings". The town was founded along one of the major caribou migration paths in Alaska by the last nomadic tribe of Nunamiut Eskimos in the mid-20th century. However in order to keep some manner of their traditions they built the town along the migration paths in order to continue to hunt caribou as they had done for centuries. There are no roads in the park, although the Dalton Highway comes within about 5 miles of the park's eastern boundary. Other than hiking in from the Dalton Highway, between approximately milepost 190 to milepost 276, access is generally by air You will land on the towns airstrip after the first leg of the flight. Much of the town, from the homes, stores, school, the few cars, and all the supplies, food, etc. are flown in from other parts of Alaska via this airstrip. While somewhat trite part of the local income for the town is to show tourists like you around town during the summer months (part of the cost of the flight tour). You'll be met by some locals who are walking with you through the town, showing you the school, post office, a few homes before the tour ends at a small museum. The museum has a bunch of local artifacts and told the story of the Nunamiut from their early nomadic days to their current life in Anaktuvuk Pass. During the walk and tour the escorts are very interesting to talk to you about the life in the far north with interesting perspectives on growing up in Anaktuvuk Pass and maintaining some of the traditions of the grandparents. All are incredibly knowledgeable and down to earth and are providing an amazing viewpoint on the area. View the remarkable Trans Alaska Pipeline from the air, symbolizing the immense changes brought to Alaska's Arctic by the discovery of oil over 30 years ago and fly over the expansive Yukon River Valley, home of traditional peoples that sustain their lifestyle and culture as they have for thousands of years on your way back to Fairbanks.
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