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Thread: Wrangell St. Elias National Park and Preserve

  1. #1
    Join Date
    Dec 2009

    Default Wrangell St. Elias National Park and Preserve

    I was going through photographs recently and found a few that may be of interest. In 1995 I spent three weeks working in Wrangell-St. Elias National Park and Preserve in Alaska. All of the work was done from helicopter so I was able to get some nice pictures. The first photograph is of some of the structures at the Nabesna Mine site. Info on the mine can be found here: You can easily locate this same structure on Google Earth by searching for 'Nabesna Alaska'.

    We stayed at a lodge not too far from Nabesna but I was never able to get over there on foot. The Park only has two main roads that access it, one of which is the Nabesna Road. I remember the road looking very passable right after the lodge so it may be possible to drive right up to the mine. Check out the NPS webpage on Wrangell. The park is not nearly as well known as Denali but it is much larger and contains the most heavily glaciated area in North America, the second tallest peak in North America, and numerous mountains over 16,000'. It is very spectacular and I feel fortunate to have been able to spend a little time there.

    These other two photos are from the May Creek area south of the Nizina River. This is just southeast of the McCarthy/Kennicott area. I was able to do a bit of walking while we were staying nearby . I've seen a site named 'Sourdough' on maps in this general area but I've no idea if these structures are associated with Sourdough. I was not able to get to McCarthy but it can be easily accessed via the McCarthy Road. Check out this area and the associated pictures on Google Earth. The pictures of the Kennicott Copper Mine, and the other nearby mines, are spectacular. I hope to get back up there someday.

    Old mine sites are relatively common throughout the Park. Our pilot landed at an old miners cabin on the top of ridge just south of the Chitna River. We were only there a few minutes and I didn't really have time to get my camera out of the storage compartment in the tail of the helicopter. The pilot didn't shut the thing down so even accessing the storage compartment wasn't the most appealing idea. This cabin looked, except for the thick layer of dust on everything, like the miner(s) had just stepped out. The shelves had canned foods and full cork-top bottles on them, the bunks had remnants of blankets, there were shovels and other tools, and ore samples and a rack of test tubes were on a table. It is something I'll never forget and I'll always regret not taking any pictures.

  2. #2
    Darin's Avatar
    Darin is offline Rock Crawlin GPS Moving Map Totin Trailblazing Expert Ghost Towner
    Join Date
    Jul 2006
    Tacoma, WA.


    That looks like an interesting area. Thanks for sharing!!!!

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Dec 2004


    Here are some photos from Kennicott --

    Here are some of McCarthy --

    All these were taken in 2008. Have a friend with a gold mine in the area. Going back this summer.
    Visit Colorado Ghost Towns at

    No Sales pitch just plenty of photos and stories.

    "I led a quieter life before I got hearing aids." Mike


  4. #4
    Join Date
    Oct 2008
    Valley of the Sun


    That sounds like a spectacular exploration, JEC. Helicopter and're one lucky dog...that's gt'ing in style!

    Hey if you get the chance to go back, I will be happy to be of service. I have great portage skills, in addition I am a superb lens cleaner!

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