Visit the Past at Bering Land Bridge National Park – Bering, Alaska
When you are interested in learning about the past, say 12,000 calendar years past, you may want to visit Beringia in Alaska. During the Last Ice Age, the water level of the oceans were about 300 feet lower then they are today. This provided for a land link that connected Alaska and Asia. Today Bering Land Bridge National Park covers 2.7 million acres of wilderness preserve on the northern Seward Peninsula. The park covers mountains, the central sections of the peninsula and the northernmost extension of the continental divide. It is 100 miles north of Nome, Alaska.
Most archeologists agree that it was across this Bering Land Bridge, also called Beringia, that humans first passed from Asia to populate the Americas. The Preserve’s western boundary lies 42 miles from the Bering Strait and the fishing boundary between the United States and Russia. The people of these two areas people have common language, traditions and depend on the same environment.
Today Bering Land Bridge National Preserve provides archeologists and paleontologists a chance to explore the past, while the native Inupiat still utilize the land as their ancestors did long ago. This mix of past and present make for a unique opportunity to do some travel into areas that will provide you with sites that you will not see anyplace else on earth.
Unless you are familiar with the area it is suggested that you only visit in the company of a guide, whether it is for a day or for a multi-day adventure. To actually see the sites and understand what you are seeing you will be far better off with the advice and experience of a guide. To access to the area you will need to go by small plane or small boat in summer; ski plane, snowmobile, or dogsled in winter. Facilities and services in the area are extremely limited. A guide will be able to make sure you find the facilities and services you need to make your trip far more enjoyable and safe. Come prepared to experience the wild and unpredictable Alaskan backcountry.
Wilderness travel through the Preserve requires one to be skilled in backcountry travel and camping and to be self reliant. Rescues and pick-ups from remote locations can be delayed for several days due to inclement weather conditions. Those traveling to the Preserve should come prepared for extreme conditions and unexpected delays. Always carry an ample first aid kit, extra food and water, and adequate clothing.
Bering Land Bridge National Preserve is a small remnant of the land bridge, also known as Beringia, protected for the study of these past cultures and to support the traditional lifestyles its residents present and future.
There is an archeological study going on to discover the origins of those first people in the area. The Study is being done by Texas A&M. The group will return to Serpentine Hot Springs to futher investigae the significant, yet complex, archeological site. They will be spending more time digging deeper to find out more about how the people lived and where they came from to this area.
If you visit Serpentine Hot Springs you may be able to get a space in the bunkhouse but it is on a first come, first serve basis. The traditional name for Serpentine Hot Springs is Iyat which means "cooking pot."
While you are in the area you will see a diverse landscape. There is tundra, lakes, rivers, lava fields and mountains. One of the highest peaks in the Preserve is an unnamed peak at 3379 ft. above sea level in the Bendeleben Mountains on the southern park boundary.
You will be able to get information for your trip from the Nome Office. The Administrative Office and Visitor Center for Bering Land Bridge National Preserve are located on the First Floor of the Sitnasauk Building on Front Street in Nome, Alaska. Nome is not on the road system so access to the town is primarily through commercial airlines. The Visitor Center has limited exhibits about the Preserve, films, and offers programs year round.
Bering Land Bridge National Preserve
The Preserve is open year-round. Highest visitation is in June and July; lowest in December, January and February. Serpentine Hot Springs is the most popular site in the park. Space at the Bunkhouse is first-come, first-served.
The preserve is home to raptors, waterfowl, and some rare Asiatic species. You can hike among the huge granite tors which encircle the springs, sightsee, fish, and relax in the warmth of the hot springs. Camping, hiking, backpacking, exploration, nature observation, photography, and coastal boating are among the many possible activities. Winter offers opportunities for snowmobiling, dog sledding, and some cross-country skiing.
You can explore remains of the gold rush era and evidence of ancient Eskimo life. The Preserve and surrounding areas including Native villages, offer opportunities to observe and learn about traditional subsistence lifestyles and historic reindeer herding.
Hunting and fishing are permitted under state regulations; Alaska hunting and fishing licenses are required.
A bit of trivia: Musk Oxen were once extinct on the Seward Peninsula, Alaska and were reintroduced in 1970 and are today thriving on the Peninsula, including Bering Land Bridge National Preserve. More: Bering Land Bridge National Preserve is home to many geological wonders like Devil Lake, the largest maar in the world. Also: Mammals living in the Bering Land Bridge National Preserve include the grizzly bear, musk ox, reindeer, wolf, wolverine, foxes, and smaller species. More than 170 known species of birds migrate 20,000 miles yearly to Bering Land Bridge National Preserve. More than 400 species of plants have been listed at the in Bering Land Bridge National Preserve. Many of them evolved in ancient Beringia and spread into Asia or North America.
National Park Service
P.O. Box 220
Nome, AK 99762