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The Bering Land Bridge National Preserve is a preserve in Arctic Alaska. The preserve, which is crossed by the Continental Divide, is dotted with lava fields, tundra, and crossed by the Arctic Circle.



Native Americans[edit]

Over ten thousand years ago, the Bering Strait was above sea level. Native Americans were able to cross this land from 25,000 to 10,000 years ago, go through the Bering Land Bridge Preserve, and enter North and South America. However, some tribal groups settled in the region, with tribal populations scattered similar in number to today.

Around 1900, the gold rush in Alaska brought American settlers. They colonized the Nome region, south of the preserve. Population in the Bering Strait region must have been at least 20,000, since 12,000 lived in Nome and 5,000 lived in Teller for a brief period.

However, by the 1910 census, populations had declined dramatically. This continued to decline as diseases swept through the area, resulting in the Nome Serum Run in 1925.

The Bering Land Bridge Preserve now receives thousands of tourists a year, despite the remote location and bears.



Most of the land in the preserve is tundra, underlain by permafrost. The tundra supports a variety of low and slow-growing plants. The landscape is dominated by grasses and sedges, such as cottongrass. Large trees cannot survive on the tundra. Tree species are limited to dwarf species like Arctic willow, Alaska willow and dwarf birch.

Berry-bearing plants in the preserve include bog blueberry, crowberry, low-bush cranberry and cloudberry or salmonberry. Lichens are found in rocky areas. Mosses and liverworts in the preserve include Sphagnum peat mosses, Aulacomnium bog mosses, Dicranum forked mosses, Polytrichum haircap mosses and Rhizomnium.

In spring the preserve features a variety of wildflowers, including Alpine Arnica, fireweed, Kamchatka rhododendron, Labrador tea, monkshood, one-flowered cinquefoil, harebell and alpine forget-me-not.


Caribou are survivors of the ice age environment in the preserve, together with reintroduced muskoxen. The muskoxen were reintroduced to the area in 1970, after being wiped out in the early 20th century. In addition to the native caribou, Siberian tundra reindeer were introduced in 1894, reaching a peak population of 600,000 animals in the 1930s. The herd has since been reduced to about 4,000.

Other mammals in the preserve are walruses, polar bears, red foxes, brown bears, Arctic foxes, ribbon seals, wolverines and beavers. Significant nesting bird species include sandhill cranes and yellow-billed loons.

The Seward Peninsula's rivers and streams are habitat for freshwater fish and for anadromous salmon species. The principal salmon species are chinook, coho, sockeye, chum and pink salmon. Other salmonids such as Dolly Varden trout and Arctic grayling remain in freshwater throughout their life cycle. The preserve also harbors northern pike and other fish.


The preserve has weather typical of northwestern Alaska, with long cold winters. Weather is moderated by the coastal location, but temperatures can reach −65 °F (−54 °C) in winter and typical low temperatures in winter are −10 °F (−23 °C) to −20 °F (−29 °C). Summer temperatures average about 50 °F (10 °C). The average annual temperature is 21 °F (−6 °C).

Visitor information[edit]

Get in[edit]

There are no roads into the preserve. Access to the preserve is by bush planes or boats during summer months and by ski planes, snowmobiles or dog sleds during the winter.

Fees and permits[edit]

Get around[edit]

Apart from grizzly bear habitats, the Bering Strait Preserve is open to the public to explore. There are multiple lodges around the preserve, one of which contains a bathhouse.

There are no roads in the preserve.


There are lava fields in the south of the park. Mountains are scattered around the park, the highest of which passes 3,000 feet (914 m).

  • Serpentine Hot Springs. The preserve's most visited location. Serpentine Hot Springs, (Inupiaq: Iyat, the Inupiaq word for cooking pot, or Uunaatuq), previously known as Arctic Hot Springs, is on the northern part of the Seward Peninsula at 65°51′N, 164°43′W. The springs are on the right bank of Hot Springs Creek which flows to the Serpentine River, 47 miles NW of Imuruk Lake.

Other notable locations in the preserve include the Trail Creek Caves, Devil Mountain Lakes, and the Lost Jim Lava Flow.






There are no accommodations in the preserve.

Stay safe[edit]

Go next[edit]

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