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Cape Krusenstern National Monument

Cape Krusenstern National Monument

Cape Krusenstern National Monument is a treeless coastal plain dotted with sizable lagoons and backed by gently rolling limestone hills. Cape Krusenstern's bluffs and its series of 114 beach ridges record the changing shorelines of the Chukchi Sea over thousands of years. Because the ridges accumulated over time, the earliest ridges lie inland, and the most recently formed ridges near the shore. This unusual series of beach ridges present, in sequence, detailed evidence of an estimated 9,000 years of prehistoric human use of this coastline. Some archeological sites here are older than well-known remains of ancient Greek civilizations on the Mediterranean Sea.

In summer, wildflowers color the beach ridges and nearby hills. Large numbers of migratory birds come from all over the world to Cape Krusenstern to nest. In fall, these migrating birds use the lagoons as feeding and staging areas. Shifting sea ice, ocean currents, and waves continue to form spits and lagoons possessing important scientific, cultural, and scenic values. Along the outer beaches, Alaska Natives still hunt marine mammals. Local rural residents are allowed to hunt in the Monument. A road to the Red Dog mine crosses the northern boundary. Trucks haul zinc from open pit mines to a tidewater port. Cominco Alaska operates the mine, along with the NANA Regional Corp., a Native corporation based in Kotzebue.


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