Size: 8.47 Million Acres
Year Established: 1980
Annual Visitors: 7,400
Firearms Information in Gates of the Arctic National Park
To protect oneself or one’s property, firearms may be carried and discharged lawfully anywhere within the Park and Preserve. Responsible gun carry by guests is required. They offer some guidelines for visitors to keep in mind:
- You can’t trust the sense of safety you get from having a gun.
- Precautions against bears should still be taken, and visitors to bear country shouldn’t rely solely on firearms for self-defense.
- Carriers of guns are expected to be proficient in their use.
- If a visitor accidentally shoots an animal or causes unnecessary harm to a wild animal, they will be held responsible.
- Those who aren’t proficient with firearms are better off without one.
No amount of firearms safety training can replace good judgment and the knowledge to stay away from bears. Only in the most dire of emergencies can you resort to them as a form of self-defense. Bears can get within 10 feet before they turn and flee away.
In Alaska, you can kill a bear to protect yourself and your belongings, but only if you’ve already exhausted all other options.
Hunting in Gates of the Arctic National Park
Sport hunting and trapping are permitted in Gates of the Arctic National Preserve, but not in Gates of the Arctic National Park. The preserve is open to hunting and trapping, but only with the proper permits and in accordance with all state laws.
Preserve wildlife is managed jointly by the National Park Service and the State of Alaska. Any Alaska resident who is 16 years or older must have a valid hunting license issued by the state. Possession and bag limitations are also species and region specific. Before going on a hunting trip in Alaska, make sure you know the rules.
Additional Information About Gates of the Arctic National Park
Gates of the Arctic National Park and Preserve protects parts of the Brooks Range in northern Alaska. The park is the U.S. national park that is the farthest north. It is completely north of the Arctic Circle. At 8,472,506 acres, the park and preserve is the second largest in the U.S., slightly bigger than Belgium. The National Park part is the second largest in the U.S., after the National Park part of Wrangell–St. Elias National Park and Preserve.
On December 1, 1978, Gates of the Arctic was made a national monument. In 1980, when the Alaska National Interest Lands Conservation Act was passed, it was changed to a national park and preserve.
The Noatak Wilderness is right next to the wilderness area. Together, they make up the largest area of wilderness that is joined together in the United States.
Best Time to Visit Gates of the Arctic National Park
The best time to visit the Gates of the Arctic National Park is between the months of June to July.
No fees or registration are needed to get into the park, but visitors are asked to stop at one of the park’s visitor centers to get an orientation on the backcountry.
Interesting in visiting multiple National Parks this year?
Consider the America The Beautiful Annual Park Pass.
This annual park pass to gets you and some friends into all U.S. National Parks for $80.
They also offer Senior, Military, and other discounts.
Fairbanks Alaska Public Lands Information Center
101 Dunkel Street
Fairbanks, AK 99701
Hours of Operation
Daily 8:00 AM–5:00 PM
Be sure to check for seasonal closures. This visitor center is typically closed on sundays only from September 26-May 31.
Bettles Ranger Station and Visitor Center
Bettles, AK 99726
Hours of Operation
Daily 8:00 AM–5:00 PM
Be sure to check for seasonal closures. This visitor center is typically closed for Winter from September 26-May 31.
Arctic Interagency Visitor Center
Milepost 175 of the Dalton Highway
Coldfoot, AK 99701
Hours of Operation (Temporarily Closed)
Daily 12:00 PM–8:00 PM
Be sure to check for seasonal closures. This visitor center is typically closed for Winter from September 26-May 22.