Kluane National Park and Reserve is located in the south-western corner of the Yukon Territory
in northern Canada
. The 22 000 square kilometer park was recognized as a UNESCO World Heritage Site
in 1979 and offers some of the most spectacular hiking and camping in Canada. It is also home to the wild, rapids of the Alsec River
, Canada's highest peak, Mt. Logan
and the Kuskawalsh
and Lowell Glacier
s. It contains an incredibly diverse landscape including alpine meadows
, mountains and lush forests as well as a wide variety of animal life.
The lands of Kluane have a cultural history over 10 000 years old as they are the ancient home of the Southern Tutchone peoples. Of course, when the park was being developed in 1943, the native peoples of the area were completely excluded from the planning and implementation and were denied access to their traditional hunting and fishing grounds for over 50 years. The government smartened up, and nowadays the Champagne and Aishihik First Nations and the Kluane First Nation are recognized as having a vested interest in the management of the park.
The word, Kluane (Kloo-wah-nee), comes from the Southern Tutchone word, Lu'An Mün, meaning lake with many fish and in reference to the Yukon's largest lake.
Kluane National Park is home to one of the largest populations of Dall Sheep in the world and they are the most abundant of the large mammals in the park. They can often be seen foraging on the slopes of the appropriately named, Sheep Mountain. As well as sheep, one might run into mountain goats, caribou, moose, grizzly and black bears. The wolverine, muskrat, mink, marmot, red fox, lynx, otter, coyote, beaver, snowshoe hare and arctic ground squirrel also call the park home. Over 150 species of birds have been spotted in the park.
In the heart of the park lies the world's largest non-polar ice fields. Not a place too many amateur outdoor enthusiasts are likely to see other than out the window of a Cesna or helicopter. Tours can be arranged in Haines Junction.
There are many things for the outdoor enthusiast of any level to do at Kluane: hiking, camping, fishing, cycling, rock climbing, canoeing and horseback riding. There are full campground facilities at Kathleen Lake near Haines Junction and rustic campgrounds on most of the major trails. There are short ½ hour hikes into the park as well as longer trips, up to 2 weeks long, for the hard core.
I remember being told by an older gentleman, that only a fool would attempt to predict the weather at Kluane. He was completely correct in this harsh statement; the weather in Kluane is anything but predictable. I've seen the day go from a sunny 21 degrees Celcius to a chilly 10 degrees brought in by the fury of a storm. This change took place over a period of about 15 minutes. The highest recorded high is 31 degrees and the lowest low is –51 degrees. Most of the park is dry, while the coastal portions receive more precipitation. Detailed weather reports can be had by calling: (867)-668-6061.
There are two visitor centers; one located at Haines Junction is open year round, and the second, smaller center at Sheep Mountain, is open from mid-May to mid-September. Both centers offer information on the park, as well as interpretive guides and hikes. They also act as a registration points for many of the longer, over night hikes.
You have no right to visit the Yukon without venturing at least a few steps into this magnificent and spectacular park. You would be a fool to miss it.
http://laser.phys.ualberta.ca/~mmalac/um131ak.gif (I don't know these people)
I have posted a couple of my own pics on wertperch's guest book:
For information on area closures:
Kluane National Park and Reserve
P.O. Box 5495
Haines Junction, Yukon
Telephone: (867) 634 7250