Research in the Wrangell-St. Elias National Park and Preserve

Research and Teaching Opportunities accessible from McCarthy, Alaska:

Glaciology- an easy-to-travel, 400 square km, glacier complex, with a history of research, just a 45 minute walk from the end of the road.

Geomorphology- an alpine-to-lowland landscape responding to glacier base level fall, with avulsing, incising and meandering creeks and rivers. Landslides and soil mass movements of various types.  Alpine and low-land periglacial and permafrost regions.

Hydrology- a range of clearwater and glacierized creeks and rivers fed by snow and glacier melt and shallow groundwater systems.  Local community depends on the quantity and quality of nearby surface water for drinking and other uses.  Boreal lakes.

Planetary Science- terrestrial analog viscous flow features such as plentiful rock glaciers and debris-covered glaciers with a history of study.  Mixed snow/ice/debris avalanche cones. Periglacial geomorphology.

Support Available from the Wrangell Mountains Center:

  • Low-cost room and board for both small research teams or large educational groups. We have limited housing available, but can accommodate groups up to 40 for meals, teaching, and living space. We also have access to near-by NPS permit camping for larger groups.
  • Space to store and stage field equipment
  • Bench space for small-scale processing of field samples
  • Local knowledge and a responsive, can-do attitude to facilitate the out-of-the-ordinary requirements of fieldwork
  • A framework for local public outreach through the weekly, popular Summer Arts & Lectures Series, Wrangell Mountains Walks, and other events and programs
  • A local base of operations in a beautiful landscape
  • A welcoming, intellectually curious atmosphere with a two-decade history of supporting academic, private, and government researchers

 Please contact us at info@wrangells.org if you’re interested in doing work in the Wrangells, to learn how we can facilitate your field research or teaching.

Logistics

  • Air taxi services are based in McCarthy that offer backcountry drop offs, pickups, and resupplies. Regular air shuttles are available between Chitina and McCarthy through Wrangell Mountain Air
  • A variety of lodging and dining options are available in McCarthy/Kennecott.
  • High-altitude flights and glacier landings are available through Ultima Thule Lodge located a short flight from McCarthy on the Chitina River. 

Permitting 

A Scientific Research and Collecting Permit is required for most scientific activities pertaining to natural resources or social science studies in National Park System areas that involve fieldwork, specimen collection, and/or have the potential to disturb resources or visitors.  When permits are required for scientific activities pertaining solely to cultural resources, including archeology, ethnography, history, cultural museum objects, cultural landscapes, and historic and prehistoric structures, other permit procedures apply.  Learn more at the Park website.