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Cape Krusenstern National Monument
Cape Krusenstern National Monument Review
Just north of Kotzebue, the 560,000-acre Cape Krusenstern National Monument has important cultural and archaeological value. This is coastal parkland, with an extraordinary series of beach ridges built up by storms over a period of at least 5,000 years. Almost every ridge—more than 100 in all—contains artifacts of different human occupants, representing every known Arctic Eskimo culture in North America. The present Eskimo occupants, whose culture dates back some 1,400 years, use the fish, seals, caribou, and birds of this region for food and raw materials much as their ancestors did. They are also closely involved in the archaeological digs in the park that are unearthing part of their own history.
Cape Krusenstern is a starkly beautiful Arctic land shaped by ice, wind, and sea. Its low, rolling, gray-white hills covered by light-green tundra attract hikers and backpackers, and kayakers sometimes paddle its coastline. The monument is a marvelous living museum. It's possible to camp in the park, but be mindful, as are the Native people when they pitch their white canvas tents for summer fishing, that the shoreline is subject to fierce winds. Both grizzlies and polar bears patrol the beaches in search of food, so clean camping is a must.
Check with the National Park Service in Kotzebue about hiring a local guide to the monument, which has no visitor facilities; it's accessible by air taxi and by boat from Kotzebue.
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