In the deep Interior of Alaska, the great Yukon River strikes through bluffs and moutains of an ancient landscape to unmask rocks whose histories reach back a billion years to life's beginnings on Earth. This impressive river enters Alaska from Canada through the Yukon-Charley Rivers National Preserve before making its way westward across the State and flowing out to the Bering Sea. Here the river bed follows a great geologic fault, and the flows are swift. A heavy silt load causes channel braiding in large sections of the river. Side-streams tumble from the hinterlands; chief among these are the Charley, the Kandik, and the Nation. The preserve includes all 106 river miles of the Charley River and its entire 1.1 million-acre watershed.
The 2.5 million-acre Yukon-Charley National Preserve persists as a haven largely untouched by glaciation and mostly free of human imprint. Truly isolated, the preserve is wilder and less populated now than it was 50 or 80 years ago, following the Klondike and Nome gold rushes. Here are prime breeding grounds of the endangered peregrine falcon, calving grounds of the Fortymile caribou herd, choice paleontological sites, superb recreational waters, and the timeless presence of the mighty Yukon River.