Kluane / Wrangell-St.Elias /
Glacier Bay /
Tatshenshini-Alsek (1979, 1992, 1994)
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These parks comprise an impressive complex of glaciers and high peaks on both sides of the border between Canada (Yukon Territory and British Columbia) and the United States (Alaska). The spectacular natural landscapes are home to many grizzly bears, caribou and Dall's sheep. The site contains the largest non-polar icefield in the world. This site is a transboundary property, shared with the United States.
Kluane National Park contains some of the most rugged and stunning terrain anywhere. Even by Canadian standards, the scenery is exceptional. Rock and ice dominate the park. Canada's highest peaks rise out of the world's largest non-polar ice field. Moist air from the Pacific maintains the ice field, which originated during the last ice age and which has given birth to many huge glaciers. These flow down nearby valleys, sometimes covering as much as seven miles in four months. In the sea of snow and ice, huge mountains often resemble angry waves. So forbidding is the landscape, that Mount Logan, the tallest in Canada, remained undiscovered until 1890.
Eighty-four years passed before scientists finally satisfied themselves that the peak is 19,520 feet high. Of course, few people want to measure mountains in a place where summer is pitifully short and where, during winter, a thermometer capable of registering -110oF can drop below the bottom of the scale. Thus, only a few mountaineers and scientists visit the area and to achieve their goals they risk falls, frostbite, snow blindness and altitude sickness.
Canada 1982. 30th June. Canada Day. Yukon Territory -- "The Highway near Kluane Lake" (1943). National Gallery of Canada, Ottawa, Ontario. The striking beauty and diversity of the face of Canada have always been a source of inspiration to its artists. To celebrate Canada Day, Canada Post Corporation presents a miniature sheet of twelve paintings, each one an artist's interpretation of a scene from the ten provinces and two territories. A.Y. Jackson's (1882-1974) painting of "The Highway near Kluane Lake", in the National Gallery collection reflects the wild and lonely beauty of the Yukon.
At lower altitudes, the park is more hospitable. Plant and animal life thrive. Endangered species, such as the golden eagle, the bald eagle and the peregrine falcon, inhabit the area. There are substantial populations of Dall sheep and grizzly bear. Most notable of the local fish is the kokanee, a dwarfed, landlocked variety of the sockeye salmon. The advance of a glacier cut off the creature's access to the sea. Even in the lower part of the park human activity has been minimal. Some scattered relics remain from the gold rush. Limited numbers of contemporary sportsmen, tourists and scientists have made little impact. The park still broods in the splendid isolation of the southwestern Yukon, perhaps wondering what the Alaska Highway will bring next.
The Yukon territory was established on June 13, 1898, although the name, of Amerindian origin, was first applied to the river and is from Yukun-ah, meaning "great river". It was first noted in 1846 by John Bell (1799-1868) an employee of the Hudson's Bay Company, who called it by what he understood to be its Indian name.
Sources and links:
Other World Heritage Sites in Canada (on this site). Inactive links are not described on stamps. Please refer to the UNESCO-listing, section Canada for further information about such sites.
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Revised 03 aug 2006