"Glacier Bay landscape, Glacier Bay National Park and Preserve, 2015." by U.S. National Park Service , public domain

Glacier Bay

Guide Summer 2024

brochure Glacier Bay - Guide Summer 2024

The Summer 2024 edition of The Fairweather Visitor Guide to Glacier Bay National Park and Preserve (NP&PRES) in Alaska. Published by the National Park Service (NPS).

Glacier Bay National Park and Preserve Summer 2024 V I S I TOR G U I D E Trails���������������������������page 5 Łingít Homeland���������page 6 Boating & Camping...page 22 Wildlife��������������������� page 34 Table of Contents General Information����������������������� 3–11 Welcome to Glacier Bay Explore Glacier Bay highlights Łingít, who have called this land home since time immemorial, and discover the wonders that await you. Park Science������������������������������������ 12–17 Discover stories behind the scenery Glacier Bay Guide�������������������������� 20-21 For boaters, kayakers, and campers Traveling, Boating & Camping���� 22–29 Plan your adventure Wildlife��������������������������������������������30–36 Look, listen, and protect For Teachers������������������������������������������ 37 Share Glacier Bay with your class For Kids�������������������������������������������������� 38 Become a Junior Ranger Stay Connected ������������������������������������ 39 Support your park Additional Information. . . . back cover Emergency, Medical, and Contact Us The Fairweather Produced with assistance from:: Welcome to Glacier Bay National Park & Preserve, Homeland of the Łingít since time immemorial. Nestled in the pristine wilderness of Alaska, Glacier Bay National Park beckons with its awe-inspiring beauty and captivating wildlife. As you step foot into this dynamic landscape, prepare to be enchanted by towering glaciers, ancient fjords, and the rhythmic calving of tidewater glaciers. Whether you arrive by cruise ship, tour vessel, or your own private boat, Glacier Bay promises an unforgettable adventure. Begin your exploration at the historic Glacier Bay Lodge, where you can rest and recharge amidst breathtaking views. The visitor center, perched on the second floor of the lodge in Bartlett Cove, is a treasure trove of knowledge. Here, friendly park rangers await, eager to share insights about the park’s history, geology, and wildlife. Learn about the Huna Venture beyond the lodge to Bartlett Cove, where developed trails lead you through lush forests and along the rugged shoreline. Keep your eyes peeled for bald eagles soaring overhead and playful sea otters frolicking in the icy waters. As you explore the 2.7 million acres of designated wilderness, witness the grandeur of glaciers as they flow into the sea. Glacier Bay is a symphony of nature—a place where puffins dive, bears roam, and the ancient ice whispers its timeless secrets. Whether you’re a seasoned adventurer or a curious first-time visitor, Glacier Bay invites you to create lasting memories. So grab your binoculars, breathe in the crisp air, and embark on a journey that will forever connect you to this extraordinary corner of the world. Welcome to Glacier Bay National Park & Preserve! Tom Schaff, Superintendent Designed by: National Park Service and Alaska Geographic Park Coordinator, Editor, & Graphics: Sean Tevebaugh Contributors: Laura Buchheit, Brian Buma, Matthew Cahill, Caitlin Daly, Sara Doyle, Sean Eagan, Chris Gabriele, Scott Gende, Alex Gulick, Margaret Hazen, Philip Hooge, Martin Hutten, Emma Johnson, Tania Lewis, Sandy Milner, Mary Beth Moss, Janet Neilson, Steven Schaller, Melissa Senac, Tom Schaff, Lewis Sharman, Darlene See, Rachel Serebryansky, Don Starbard, Jen Todd. Special thanks to the following photographers: Kaytie Boomer, Michael Bower, Brian Buma, Sara Doyle, Janene Driscoll (inside cover), Chris Gabriele, Tania Lewis, Dan Mann, Craig Murdoch, Janet Neilson, Sean Neilson, Steven Schaller, Sean Tevebaugh (front cover), Melissa Senac and NPS seasonal staff. ©Alaska Geographic Visitors to Bartlett Cove experience the wild, glacial landscape of Glacier Bay. Glacier Bay rangers are excited and prepped to greet you! 3 Explore Bartlett Cove Trails Bartlett Cove is the only developed area within the wilds of Glacier Bay. The forests and shorelines offer great opportunities for hiking. Maps are available online and at the Glacier Bay Lodge and Visitor Information Station (VIS). Forest Trail Distance: 0.7 miles (1.1 km) one way Time: 30 minutes–1.5 hours This leisurely stroll meanders through a lush forest that grows atop a glacial moraine. A wheelchair accessible boardwalk takes you part of the way, leading to two viewing decks that overlook a serene pond. Return along the shore for an easy one-mile loop. The shores of Bartlett Cove offer opportunities to explore... If you just have a few hours... If you have a half day... Stop by the Visitor Center: On the second floor of the Glacier Bay Lodge is the National Park Service (NPS) information desk and exhibits. Open daily when lodge is open. Educational materials and souvenirs available for purchase from Alaska Geographic. Hike to the Bartlett River: See trail details, page 5. Walk the Forest Trail: See trail details, page 5. If you have a full day... Go for a beach walk: See trail details, page 5. Explore the intertidal zone at low tide: See map page 5. Hike to Bartlett Lake: See trail details, page 5. Join a Ranger Program: See bulletin boards or park website for schedule of activities happening during your visit. Go for a paddle: There are several options for kayaking around Bartlett Cove. Take a guided kayak trip, or rent your own from Glacier Bay Sea Kayaks. Visit the Whale Exhibit: See one of the largest humpback whale skeletons on display in the world. Located near the Visitor Information Station. Become a Junior Ranger: Kids can pick up their free Junior Ranger Activity Book from the NPS information desk at the Glacier Bay Lodge, or from the Visitor Information Station (VIS). See page 38. View the Tribal House and the Healing Totem Pole: Walk along the Łingít Trail to explore Huna Łingít connections to Glacier Bay. See pages 6–8. Explore Glacier Bay on the Dayboat: Spend the day exploring Glacier Bay to observe wildlife and tidewater glaciers. Stop by the lodge for availability. Get the Latest Schedule of Events Please see the NPS Visitor Center information desk in the Glacier Bay Lodge, the bulletin board in front of the lodge, or the Visitor Information Station (VIS) near the public dock for updates and information on available services. The schedule is also available on the “Calendar” page on NPS.gov/GLBA 4 Łingít Trail Distance: 0.5 mile (800 m) one way Time: 30 minutes–1 hour Enjoy this easy stroll along a forested shoreline. View the Healing Totem Pole and a traditional Łingít dugout canoe, admire a complete whale skeleton, learn about common native plants, and take in the Raven and Eagle totems, as well as the exterior of the Tribal House. Bartlett River Trail Distance: 4 miles (6.4 km) round trip Time: 4–5 hours Explore a dense spruce-hemlock rainforest. The trail through the forest ends at an estuary near the mouth of the river. Each summer, spawning salmon attract otters, eagles, seals, and bears. Bartlett Lake Trail Distance: 8 miles (16 km) round trip Time: 7–8 hours About ¾ of a mile down the Bartlett River Trail you will find the lake trail, a branch trail that climbs the moraine. This primitive trail is a rugged day-hike, with rewards of solitude and a tranquil lake. Bring water, food, and rain gear. Explore the Shore Distance: varies The shoreline beyond the docks continues for miles past the campground. You may observe land and marine wildlife. Look for birds, listen for whales, and watch for sea otters feeding near shore. This is not a maintained trail. 5 Xunaa Shuká Hít Xunaa Shuká Hít stands proudly on the shores of Bartlett Cove. Dressed in a traditional beaded vest, Łingít elder, Wakéesh Don Starbard, shares with visitors: “There’s a good balance now. Yes, our young people are going off to college to become successful. But our language is strong. Our dance is strong. Our canoe culture is strong, and, most importantly, our connection to Homeland remains strong.” All summer long, visitors gather at the Tribal House. They listen to traditional stories and explore the intricately carved and painted building. Tribal interpreters working for the National Park Service (NPS) and the Hoonah Indian Association (HIA), the tribal government, share deeply of their traditions, history, enduring connection to Glacier Bay Homeland, and the collaborative efforts that led to the completion of this magnificent building. throughout Glacier Bay prior to the Little Ice Age. Although villages inside the bay were overrun by glacial advances in the 1700s, the Huna Łingít reestablished fish camps and seasonal villages soon after glacial retreat. Establishment of Glacier Bay National Monument in 1925 (and later National Park) and implementation of laws and park regulations led to a period of alienation and strained relationships between tribal members and the NPS. Time and new understandings have brought much healing. In recent years, the NPS and HIA worked cooperatively to reinvigorate traditional activities, develop cultural programs for youth and adults, amend regulations to allow for a broader range of traditional harvests in park boundaries, and preserve oral histories. For countless generations, the Huna Łingít sustained themselves on the abundant resources found The most symbolic cooperative venture—Xunaa Shuká Hít (roughly translated as Huna Ancestors’ House)— HIA tribal interpreter leads a group down the Łingít Trail to Xunaa Shuká Hít. 6 Hoonah youth welcome traditional dugout canoes on Bartlett Cove’s shoreline during the 2018 Healing Totem Pole Dedication. Tribal members dance and sing during the August 2016 Tribal House Dedication. NPS tribal interpreter shares messages represented within the Raven and Eagle totems. now stands proudly on the shoreline of Bartlett Cove. Dedicated in August 2016 and opened to the public in summer 2017, it now draws thousands of visitors from around the world. Pole). This totem, collaboratively designed by NPS and HIA, reveals the story of the journey through a painful past to a healthier, more meaningful partnership. Xunaa Shuká Hít is a place of learning, growth, inspiration, and continued healing for generations to come. A team of clan leaders, craftsmen, planners, architects, and cultural resource specialists designed Xunaa Shuká Hít to reflect a traditional architectural style reminiscent of ancestral clan houses with modern touches suitable for the needs of the community today. Inside the Tribal House are four richly detailed cedar interior house posts and an interior house screen which depicts the stories of the four primary Huna Łingít clans and their tie to Glacier Bay Homeland. These cultural elements impart spiritual value to the Tribal House, and, as importantly, their design and completion expand the circle of tribal members who hold traditional skills and share in cultural knowledge. The 2,500 square foot Tribal House is not only a place for visitors to learn about Łingít traditions, but is also a venue for tribal members to reconnect with their traditional homeland, life-ways, and ancestral knowledge. Within months of its dedication, the Tribal House inspired native high school students to spend their winter school break at the Tribal House learning traditional crafts from elders and culture bearers. Months later, hundreds of tribal members gathered to raise the Eagle and Raven totem poles that grace the sides of Xunaa Shuká Hít. In August 2018, these poles were joined by Yaa Naa Néx Kootéeyaa (Healing Totem Images of the Huna Tribal House dedication and carving projects are available on the park’s website under the Tribal House Media Gallery. To learn more about special events and opportunities to experience the Tribal House, check the posted activity schedules in Bartlett Cove or ask a ranger. Visit NPS.gov to learn more: Traditional songs inspire the strength and stamina to carry the Raven and Eagle totems at the May 2017 Totem Raising. 7 Yaa Naa Néx Kootéeyaa Glaciers I believe we are on a path - that our people will be remembered...” - Frank Wright Jr, President of Hoonah Indian Association Our pole...is a story pole. It is, essentially, the recorded history, not only of the Huna Łingít, not only of Glacier Bay National Park, but of our long, sometimes painful, sometimes joyous, journey together. - Philip Hooge Glacier Bay Superintendent, 2014 - 2020 Journey of Healing Philip Hooge (left) and Frank Wright, Jr. (right) at the Healing Totem Pole Dedication. Raised on August 25, 2018, Yaa Naa Néx Kootéeyaa (Healing Totem Pole) tells the story of the long journey for both Huna Łingít and the National Park Service (NPS) to heal years of misunderstandings and hurt. Designed collaboratively by tribal elders, carvers, and NPS staff, the pole contains a mix of traditional formline design and modern representations of symbols—differentiating it from other poles in Southeast Alaska. Glacier Bay is the traditional home and “breadbasket” of the Huna Łingít—sustaining them physically and spiritually until a rapidly advancing glacier pushed them out in the late 1700s. The Huna Łingít felt that the federal government—a faceless, soulless being with too many hands—barred them from many traditional practices upon their return after the glacier receded. A glacier flows from the Fairweather Mountains. Glaciers continue to change in response to their environment. Rivers of Ice Tall, coastal mountains and an abundance of snow make Glacier Bay a comfortable home for hundreds of glaciers. Storms from the Pacific Ocean collide with the towering Fairweather Mountains, often producing rain at sea level and snow at higher elevations. The snow compacts, forming ice. With the influence of gravity, the ice slides down the mountainside. Basically, ice in motion is a glacier. As a glacier flows down the mountainside, it reaches warmer elevations. When the air above a glacier is above freezing or if it is raining, then ice melts. The balance between the amount of ice forming and ice melting determines whether a glacier advances (grows) or retreats (shrinks), though it always flows forward. Traditional dugout canoes support healing journeys cooperatively planned by NPS and the Hoonah Indian Association—connecting tribal members with Glacier Bay Homeland. Visit the Healing Totem Pole next to the Visitor Information Station, and read the complete story from bottom to top at our website: go.NPS.gov/HealingTotem 8 Glaciers shrink in size when more ice is lost from melting than gained from snowfall. “Words and dry figures can give one little idea of the grandeur of this glacial torrent flowing steadily and solidly into the sea, and the beauty of the fantastic ice front, shimmering with all the prismatic hues, beyond imagery or description.” -Eliza Scidmore, 1883 A few glaciers, called tidewater glaciers, reach all the way to the ocean and are strong enough to survive with their ice touching warm ocean water. Tidewater glaciers have a naturally occurring cycle of advance and retreat that has shaped Glacier Bay for millennia. A few hundred years ago, a glacier that sat mid-way down the bay for centuries advanced rapidly until it came to the waters of Icy Strait. The salty ocean water caused the glacial ice to melt and dramatically break away in a process called calving. Snowfall couldn’t keep up with the amount of melting and calving, so the glacier retreated quickly. All of the glaciers visitors see in the park today are remnants of that once large glacier. Changes to glacial ice continue in Glacier Bay. While tidewater glaciers are still influenced by ocean water, all glaciers are now impacted by a rapidly warming planet. Glacier Bay National Park will continue to study glaciers as the climate warms. As a living laboratory, Glacier Bay provides outstanding opportunities to explore the intricate dynamics of glaciers. 9 Timeline of Glacier Bay 1980 Congress, under 1794 Captain George Since time immemorial, Łingít clans live in the area that is now Glacier Bay. Advancing glaciers in the 1700s during the Little Ice Age force the Łingít out of their Homeland. After the Little Ice Age, the glacier melts back and the ocean fills the valley quickly, creating Glacier Bay. 1750 1770s–1790s European explorers arrive. Excursions led by Captains Malaspina, La Perouse, Cook, Vancouver, and many others provide the first western descriptions of the area and its people. Cartographers create the first maps of the area and non-Native names are given to landforms. 10 Vancouver of the H.M.S. Discovery and Lt. Joseph Whidbey describe Glacier Bay as “a compact sheet of ice as far as the eye could distinguish.” The “bay” is a mere five-mile indentation in the coastline. 1800 1925 Ecologist William 1883 James Carroll and other commercial steamship captains make Muir Glacier a popular tourist destination. 1850 1900 Park Service and Hoonah Indian Association sign a Memorandum of Understanding to establish a working partnership. 1950 1916 U.S. Congress passes the Organic Act, creating the National Park Service. part of the “Mission 66” initiative that brought facility improvements to national parks nationwide during the 50th anniversary of the National Park Service. 2023 Glacier Bay welcomed an estimated 703,659 visitors to the park, breaking our visitation record from 2019. More than 90% visited via cruise ship. 2000 2016 The National 1966 Glacier Bay Lodge opens as 1879 John Muir, guided by Łingít men, paddles into Glacier Bay. They find the glacial ice has retreated 40 miles since 1794. Muir returns three times over the next 15 years. He constructs a cabin, makes extensive observations of glaciers, and explains interglacial tree stumps. The eloquent writings of enthusiasts like Muir and Eliza Scidmore begin attracting new visitors to the bay. S. Cooper, studying plant succession in Glacier Bay, and the Ecological Society of America persuade President Coolidge to establish Glacier Bay National Monument. the leadership of President Jimmy Carter, signs the Alaska National Interest Lands Conservation Act into law. Glacier Bay becomes a national park and preserve encompassing 3.3 million acres. 1995 The National 1992 UNESCO designates Glacier Bay, along with Wrangell-St. Elias National Park and Preserve (Alaska), Kluane National Park Reserve (Canada) and Tatshenshini-Alsek Provincial Park (Canada), as a 24-million-acre World Heritage Site, one of the world’s largest internationally protected areas. Park Service celebrates its centennial: 100 years of “America’s Best Idea.” Glacier Bay celebrates with the opening of the Huna Tribal House, a collaborative venture with the Hoonah Indian Association. The building serves as a cultural anchor and a place of learning. 11 Park Science Visitors and researchers alike from around the world explore and admire Glacier Bay. The dramatic retreat of glaciers created a premiere scientific laboratory. Explorer John Muir initiated the park’s remarkable legacy of scientific inquiry in the late 1800s. Botanist William Cooper secured protected status for Glacier Bay following his research about how plant life follows glacial retreat. In fact, the initial proclamation protecting Glacier Bay National Park states research as a reason for national preservation. From whales and plankton to climate and otters, research is a common occurrence in the protected laboratory of Glacier Bay. This scientific study provides a greater understanding and appreciation for the wilderness we explore. Learn more by reading the following pages and make your own discoveries in Glacier Bay. “The most beautiful thing we can experience is the mysterious. It is the source of all true art and science.” - Albert Einstein William S. Cooper recognized Glacier Bay as a living laboratory. He studied the process of pioneer plants colonizing land recently revealed by retreating glaciers. megafauna and fisheries, and more. One study looked at the grazing dynamics of recovering green sea turtle populations in seagrass meadows. Alex’s work helped scientists and resource managers better understand the sustainability of increasing grazing pressure and the roles large herbivores fulfill in coastal ecosystems. Alex conducted this research in collaboration with the National Park Service, where she became interested in the role the NPS plays in guiding essential management efforts to protect ecosystems and wildlife. Alex conducting underwater field research at Buck Island Reef National Monument, U.S. Virgin Islands. Meet a researcher Alex Gulick, Marine Ecologist Alexandra (Alex) Gulick is Glacier Bay National Park and Preserve’s new Supervisory Marine Ecologist. Hailing from Eastern Oregon, Alex found an interest in marine biology at a young age. After attending a middle-school marine science summer camp on the Oregon Coast, she discovered a love for the ocean and the marine life that thrives in the Pacific Northwest. Alex pursued her passion for the ocean as a marine ecologist and research scientist. She studied Biology (Marine Emphasis) at Oregon State University, where she completed a Bachelor of Science, then earned a PhD in Zoology at the University of Florida. She has studied a variety of ocean ecosystems, addressing research questions related to flora and fauna relationships, benthic ecology, population dynamics of marine 12 Helping establish marine research programs and striving for positive change led Alex to Glacier Bay today. Here, she will oversee the study and management of the exciting and complex dynamics of Glacier Bay’s vast marine environment. Alex is thrilled to be living in Alaska, joining several family members in the Southeast Alaska region. Growing up in a rural small town, she’s excited to join Gustavus, Glacier Bay’s neighboring gateway community, allowing for opportunities to spend time in nature and enjoy this wild, remote Southeast Alaska environment. In her off time, Alex is excited about kayaking trips, fishing, diving, and starting a garden in a new home. Alex has a passion for learning about marine ecosystems and developing ecosystem-based management strategies. What drives change in any given ecosystem? How should park managers monitor and manage these ecosystems and mitigate human impacts? Alex hopes to contribute to answering some of these questions, so that Glacier Bay remains one of the world’s wildest marine environments. A Vision of Preservation People visit Glacier Bay to view amazing scenery, dramatic glaciers, and spectacular wildlife. Yet a century ago one man saw something else of great value here: incredible opportunities for science. monument. One of the monument’s fundamental mandates was to preserve the opportunity to conduct scientific studies, making Glacier Bay a true “park for science.” Botanist William Skinner Cooper (1884–1978) came to Glacier Bay in 1916 to study how plants colonize newly-exposed ground following glacial retreat. He recognized Glacier Bay as the best place on earth to witness the process of “plant succession,” a fascinating interplay of plants, nutrients, soil, and time. In this process the bare ground emerging from beneath a glacier goes through various stages to become a rich, thick, mossy evergreen forest of towering spruces and hemlocks. Dr. Cooper returned to his beloved Glacier Bay many times to document the successional development in the study areas and plots he established on his first visit. Dr. Cooper’s students and other scientists continue his work on how ecosystems respond to glacial recession and, more broadly, global climate change. This ongoing research makes Glacier Bay the oldest continuously researched post-glacial landscape in the world. Dr. Cooper saw a natural laboratory in Glacier Bay where scientific principles could be discovered as well as tested; a place where completely new scientific questions could be asked. As a prominent member of the Ecological Society of America, Dr. Cooper successfully led a committee of colleagues in a vigorous campaign to lobby President Calvin Coolidge for protection of the Glacier Bay area in 1925 as a national Glacier Bay is preserved as public land for many reasons: protection of wildlife habitat, scenery, value to the world, enjoyment by present and future generations, and as a living laboratory. Glacier Bay still inspires new discoveries today. Ecologist Brian Buma continues the legacy of research on Dr. Cooper’s original plots. From rock to rainforest—in just 75 years! Images taken at the same location document the landscape changes. 13 Park Science Ninety-five percent of Alaska’s glaciers are thinning, stagnating, or retreating. The Ice Is Melting The Earth’s climate is changing—and fast! In Glacier Bay, glaciers are rapidly shrinking and the ocean temperature is rising. Scientists who study the Earth’s climate have documented warming temperatures in Alaska due to increased carbon dioxide levels. Warming temperatures lead to changes in fire cycles, tree growth, animal migrations, and rapidly melting glaciers. Ninety-five percent of Alaska’s glaciers are currently retreating, thinning, or stagnating. Importantly, the rate of thinning is increasing. Glacier Bay’s glaciers follow this trend. Recent research determined that the area covered by ice in Glacier Bay has shrunk 15% from 1950 to now. Nevertheless, heavy snowfall in the towering Fairweather Mountains means that a few glaciers might remain stable in Glacier Bay, a rarity in today’s world. Take a good look at the glaciers you see in Glacier Bay today. The next time you see these glaciers, they will be different. Alaska and other polar regions experience the effects of climate change more strongly than other places. Decades of data from NASA’s Goddard Institute for Space Studies show that Alaska and the polar regions have warmed more than twice as much as the rest of the earth. Climate change is a reality for Alaskans, threatening villages with coastal erosion, changing subsistence practices, and altering weather patterns. Ask park rangers about what changes they have noticed in Glacier Bay. 14 There is good news. Humans are inventive, resourceful, and capable of overcoming great challenges. Although climate change is a global concern, we each hold a part of the answer to minimizing its impact. The Earth’s climate is changing and Glacier Bay is warming. How will these changes affect you? One fact is certain: the choices we make today will make a difference in the future. For more information about climate change in national parks, visit www.nps.gov/climatechange Aerial photography is used by National Park Service scientists to monitor harbor seal populations. Seals as Sentinels of Ice Dynamics In tidewater glacier fjords, harbor seals’ lives are tied to readily available glacial ice. calving dynamics of tidewater glaciers may influence ice availability in Johns Hopkins Inlet. Tidewater glaciers are the source of vital habitat for harbor seals (Phoca vitulina richardii). Icebergs calved from glaciers serve as pupping, molting, and resting habitat for some of the largest seasonal gatherings of harbor seals in the world. Glacier Bay, specifically Johns Hopkins Inlet, hosts one of the largest aggregations of harbor seals in southeastern Alaska. Johns Hopkins Inlet is an expansive tidewater glacier fjord in the upper West Arm where over 75% of seals in Glacier Bay occur. Icebergs provide benefits to seals such as reducing the risk of predation from orca and providing a stable platform for nursing young seal pups during the brief lactation period. Harbor seals show strong site fidelity to Johns Hopkins Inlet from May to August during the pupping and molting seasons; however, they may travel extensively outside of Glacier Bay during non-breeding season. Tidewater glaciers are dynamic, advancing and retreating in response to local climatic and fjord conditions. Today, the majority of tidewater glaciers around the world are thinning and retreating. While the ice front of Johns Hopkins Glacier has slowly advanced by 2 km (1.2 mi) since the 1920s, it has begun thinning. If the thinning continues, the glacier may start to retreat in the near future. Climate change models predict continued loss of ice which will have many consequences to wildlife, such as harbor seals. The physical processes that influence calving dynamics of tidewater glaciers and ultimately the availability of icebergs can influence seal distribution, abundance, and behavior. Given that harbor seals rely on glacier ice as habitat for critical life history events, such as pupping (May-June) and molting (August), seals may ultimately serve as sentinels of ice dynamics in these rapidly changing tidewater glacier fjord ecosystems. The National Park Service (NPS) conducts annual aerial photographic surveys to monitor the number and trend of harbor seals in Johns Hopkins Inlet. Since the early 1990s, the number of seals has declined from over 6,000 to approximately 2,000 in more recent years. To better understand how changes in ice habitat may influence harbor seals, glaciologists from University of Alaska Southeast and the National Park Service are collaborating with NPS biologists to quantify how the Harbor seals rely on ice calved by glaciers for pupping and molting. 15 Park Science Icebergs calved from Grand Plateau Glacier in Grand Plateau Lake. Cataclysmic Landscape Change Glacier Bay scientists and cruise ship pilots are working together to study and protect humpback whales. New Tools for Avoiding Whale-Ship Collisions Glacier Bay National Park is the same size as the state of Connecticut, 3.3 million acres, though they are certainly very different! For example, while Connecticut has more than 20,000 miles of public roadways, Glacier Bay has only six miles. Yet thousands of people travel through Glacier Bay on another “highway”: Glacier Bay’s extensive waterway. Navigating a ship has some similar hazards as driving a car, such as wildlife avoidance. While drivers in other national parks watch out for squirrels and deer jumping into the road, cruise ship pilots in Glacier Bay are alert for humpback whales suddenly appearing in front of their vessels. In fact, research has documented that over 75% of ships in Glacier Bay experience whales surfacing within 3,280 feet (1,000 meters) of the ship’s bow. Seeing a whale close to a ship is exciting, yet can also be perilous to whales. Whales are often focused on feeding, so they are not always aware of a ship’s presence nearby. In order to keep people and whales safe in Southeast Alaska, Glacier Bay is collaborating with several organizations to develop best practices to minimize the chance of a whale-ship collision. Since 2012, Glacier Bay scientists have worked with experienced marine pilots to test and implement techniques for avoiding whales. A new training currently under joint production will provide marine 16 pilots the opportunity to “practice” whale avoidance techniques in a simulator. This training curriculum is the first of its kind to couple the science of whale behavior with the professional discipline of ship maneuvering. Another collaborative tool is Whale Alert. Throughout Southeast Alaska, cruise ship pilots and biologists are working to produce near real-time whale sighting maps through a smart phone or tablet application. Ships can then avoid current locations where whales are congregating, thereby reducing the risk of a collision. Visitors keeping a watchful eye on the water have a great chance of seeing a humpback whale while traveling on the Glacier Bay waterway. New tools are helping “drivers” in Glacier Bay avoid whale-ship collisions. For more information on Whale Alert and for the free app, visit www.whalealert.org Within Glacier Bay’s dramatic landscape, significant changes continue due to the earth’s warming climate. Recently, monumental landslides have occurred due to glaciers shrinking and

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