AssetID: 450465-001 / Nancy Simmerman / USA,Alaska,Glacier Bay National Park,aerial view of landscape
Glacier Bay Basin in southeastern Alaska , United States , encompasses the Glacier Bay and surrounding mountains and glaciers, which was first proclaimed a U.S. National Monument on February 25, 1925 and which was later, on December 2, 1980, enlarged and designated as the Glacier Bay National Park and Preserve under the Alaska National Interest Lands Conservation Act, covering an area of 3,283,000 acres (1,329,000 ha). In 1986, UNESCO declared an area of 57,000 acres (23,000 ha) within a World Biosphere Reserve. This is the largest UNESCO protected biosphere in the world. In 1992, UNESCO included this area as a part of a World Heritage site, extending over an area of 24,300,000-acre (98,000 km2 ) which also included the Wrangell-St. Elias National Park, Kluane National Park (Canada) and Tatshenshini-Alsek Park (Canada). Part of the National Park is also designated a Wilderness area covering 2,658,000 acres (1,076,000 ha).
Glacier Bay, the body of water, covers an area 1,375 square miles (3,560 km2 ) of glaciers and accounts for 27% of the Park area. It was a large single glacier of solid ice till early 18th century. It started retreating and evolved over the centuries into the largest protected water area park in the world. Glacier Bay, on the Gulf of Alaska , was known as the Grand Pacific Glacier about 4,000 feet (1,200 m) thick and about 20 miles (32 km) in width which has since then, over the last more than 200 years retreated by 65 miles (105 km) to the head of the bay at Tarr Inlet, and in this process left separate 20 other glaciers in its trail. In 1890, the name “Glacier Bay” as such was given to the bay by Captain Lester A. Beardslee of the U.S. Navy. It was first proclaimed a U.S. National Monument on February 25, 1925 by President Calvin Coolidge.
The Glacier Bay has many branches, inlets, lagoons, islands, and channels that holds prospects for scientific exploration and visual treat. Thus, the area is popular as a cruise ship destination during summer season. However, there are restrictions imposed by the National Park Service on the numbers of vessels that can operate in a day to 2 cruise ships, 3 tour boats, 6 charter vessels, and 25 private vessels. According to National Park Service statistics for calendar year 2009, 444,653 people visited Glacier Bay, with 422,919 of those being cruise ship passengers.
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