Kluane National Park and Reserve, Part One

Kluane National Park and Reserve lies in the southwest corner of the Yukon, protecting nearly 22,000 square kilometres but is only one of several parks in the area. To the west is Alaska’s Wrangell-St. Elias National Park and to the south is British Columbia’s Tatshenshini-Alsek Provincial Park and Alaska’s Glacier Bay National Park. Together, these four parks combine to create the largest internationally protected area in the world. Dominated by some of North America’s tallest mountains (including Mount Logan, Canada’s tallest) and containing the world’s largest non-polar icefield, it is a land so special to have been designated a UNESCO World Heritage Site.

It is home to all those enigmatic North American mammals everyone hopes to see one day: wolf, salmon, wolverine and moose. Kluane is also home to the most genetically diverse populations of grizzly bears and home to the largest population of All sheep.

Some of our most memorable wildlife moments have happened here. We once sat for two hours watching a grizzly in a valley of cow parsnip chase willow ptarmigan. In another valley we hiked alongside a nonchalant young grizz, sharing its valley with us. Wolves have serenaded us to sleep, moose have startled us awake. Alpine wildflowers in bloom have brightened gloomy days. Arctic ground squirrels, Dall sheep, pine marten, lynx, snowshoe hare, mountain goat, porcupine, black bear. They all live here and when we’re lucky we get a peek into those wild lives.