Great Canadian Parks / Yukon Territory

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The Parks / Yukon Territory / Kluane National Park



 

In 1986, the Alsek River, which passes through great stretches of undisturbed wilderness between the Kluane and Icefield mountain ranges, was designated a Canadian Heritage River. As it enters the park, the Alsek becomes a swift-flowing stream widening into a wind-whipped lake, picking up speed beyond the Alsek Pass to bound for 300 kilometres through a valley laced with boulders, constricted by narrow canyons, and walled in by 35 metre high masses of glacial ice. The most magnificent site is the 'surging' Lowell Glacier where the river is infested with icebergs that slide continually down the glacier front. By the time the meltwaters of several glaciers have swollen the river, it is flowing at nearly 40 000 cubic feet per second. Forced into the narrow, twisting Turnback Canyon, it smashes against blind rock walls, plunging down a chute to lose itself in a whirlpool before joining the Tatshenshini River 90 kilometres from Dry Bay where it empties into the North Pacific.

 

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