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Rapidly retreating glaciers, mudslides prompted by early thaws, vistas obscured by proliferating brush, invasive species: Not exactly the picture postcard of Alaska we in the Lower 48 imagine. But it’s the future for the Last Frontier’s parks, as outlined in a recent National Park Service study. A Reuters article sketches out the problem: “Since the mid-1970s, Alaska has warmed at three times the rate of the Lower 48 states, according to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency. And with nearly two-thirds of U.S. national parkland located in Alaska, the issue of climate change is especially pressing there, officials say.”
Some of the changes won’t be noticed by infrequent visitors, but others are glaring. The retreat of Exit Glacier in Kenai Fjords National Park (above) “forced park managers to reroute trails through areas that were under ice just a few years ago. The glacier's retreat also has left a sheltered pavilion that was built in the 1990s far from the spectacular views of blue ice. ‘We used to build these things with a sense of permanence," said Jeff Mow, the park's superintendent.’”
The Park Service is scrambling to respond to climate threats throughout its system. You can read more here.