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Tatshenshini-Alsek Provincial Park
About This Park
Tatshenshini-Alsek is considered to be one of the most magnificent river systems on earth, and forms the basis of the British Columbia provincial park that bears its name. Tatshenshini-Alsek Park contains nearly one million hectares of glacier-cloaked peaks, wild rivers, grizzly bears and unusual plant communities. Situated in the very northwest corner of British Columbia, it nestles between Kluane National Park and Reserves in the Yukon and Glacier Bay & Wrangell-St. Elias National Parks and Preserves in Alaska. Combined, these parks comprise the largest protected area in the world, approximately 8.5 million hectares. The Tatshenshini-Alsek Park has been designated as a World Heritage Site by UNESCO. The Alsek and Tatshenshini rivers are responsible for much of what’s special in the area. The great gap they’ve carved through the coastal mountains allows cool, moist ocean air into the cold interior. The quick change from ocean to interior environment, frequent floods, landslides and avalanches, a varied geology and great elevation changes have together created an exceptionally diverse range of habitat conditions.
Despite its remote location the ruggedly beautiful Tatshenshini-Alsek region is attracting an increasing number of recreationalists: kayakers and rafters are drawn to the two magnificent river systems; hikers and mountaineers confront a near-endless pristine wilderness that includes everything from alpine meadows to the jagged edges of the Alsek Ranges and Mt. Fairweather, at 4,633 metres the province’s highest peak; and mountain bikers can explore old mining roads and other interesting and challenging terrain. Interestingly, the Haines Highway provides an opportunity to see much of the same unusual plant and animal diversity that river users experience.
Established Date: October 15, 1993
Park Size: 947,026 hectares
Know Before You Go
- Visitors to Tatshenshini-Alsek Park should be aware that this is a rugged wilderness area; appropriate clothing, camping gear and sufficient supplies are a necessity. If planning to hike or mountain bike, it is important to remember that weather conditions in the summer are highly variable. Although clear skies and sunshine are common, it can snow any day. High winds are frequent and there are often spells of cold, wet weather.
- Although rafting on this river is not technically difficult, rafters must be aware that the remoteness of this park is an essential factor to consider in trip preparation and safety.
The exception to the level of difficulty is Turnback Canyon on the Alsek River. This section of the river is extremely hazardous at all water levels and travel is not recommended for even the most skilled rafter/kayaker. Portage is highly recommended/required for all trips.
- There are no formal methods of registration. The park is open year-round; access depends on weather and snow conditions.
- User fee in effect - The BC Parks River fee
- Prime Season dates - $125.00 per person, per trip, for Dry Bay takeouts, between July 6 and August 30
- Shoulder Season dates - $100.00 per person, per trip, for Dry Bay takeouts, for all other dates
- Description of how to pay the fee, and other important fee information
- Please note: All trips on the Tatshenshini and Alsek Rivers, which end at Dry Bay Alaska, require a permit issued through the Glacier Bay National Park and Preserve. Please ensure you have the necessary permit before paying the fee; do not pay this fee if you do not have a permit.
- During your trip through Tatshenshini-Alsek Park, you are in the traditional lands of the Champagne and Aishihik First Nations. Visitors are requested to remember that they are guests on traditional native lands and visitors stopping at Shäwshe (Dalton Post) are reminded that they are on lands legally owned by the Champagne and Aishihik First Nations. Please respect their land use regulations and requirements.
- Comprehensive archaeological studies of the Alsek and Tatshenshini River corridors are not yet complete. If a visitor comes across a site or artifact of cultural significance, which they believe is not widely known they are encouraged to report its location and what they saw to the BC Parks office in Haines Junction at (867) 634-7043. Please remember that it is an offence to gather artifacts at any site appearing to have cultural or archaeological significance.
- Despite the great diversity of life found in the Tatshenshini, existence for its inhabitants can be a fragile one. Winters are long, the growing season is short and damaged vegetation rehabilitates slowly. This is one reason why no motorized vehicles are allowed off the highway, except in the winter when snowmobiling is allowed within a specified area. Visitors are asked to take special care to minimize impact on the landscape. Please pack out your litter and plan any camping or campfires so there is no evidence of your passage. This will ensure that future travelers will experience the same wilderness that you do.
- For more information on snowmobile use in this park, contact the Klondike Snomobile Association.
- The Tatshenshini-Alsek area lies in a region of high earthquake activity. Slippage along the Fairweather and Hubbard/Boarder Faults to the west and the Denali Fault to the north cause regular quakes. The Yukutat Gap, about 150 kilometres off of the Alaska coast has registered some of the biggest earthquakes in history.
- National Topographic Series Maps 114O and 114P, at a scale of 1:250,000 cover the Tatshenshini-Alsek area. These maps are available from most map retailers in British Columbia and the Yukon Territory.
Location and Maps
Maps and Brochures
- Zoning Map [PDF]
- Snowmobiling Brochure [PDF]
- Snowmobile Area Map [PDF 2.84MB]
- Camping Location Maps, especially for river-rafters and kayakers:
Nature and Culture
Activities Available at this Park
Kayaking and river-rafting opportunities are available by permit only, except for non-commercial trips along the relatively flat water on the upper Tatshenshini River from Mosquito Flats downstream to the Yukon Territory. Maps showing camping areas within the park are in the map section above.
User Fee in effect - The BC Parks River Fee