Alaska is still a relatively young state in the eyes of the United States after being acquired on January 3rd, 1959. However, this beautiful state has been inhabited for hundreds of years with its history tracing back much farther than 1959. Much of the Matanuska Glacier Wildlife has some of the most important stories to tell!
Alaska is a rich, thriving ecosystem with an abundance of wildlife, particularly around the Matanuska Glacier. The wildlife is often best enjoyed from above via our helicopter tours.
The Alaskan moose are well known throughout the state and are the largest of their subspecies in North America. They prefer to dwell in mixed deciduous forests, like the ones around the Matanuska River. Moose are solitary creatures, coming into contact with other moose only during mating season. The spring and summer months are often the best seasons to see moose, since females have recently given birth to newborn calves. Despite Mama and baby moose sightings being prevalent in the warmer months, mothers also become more aggressive during this period. Due to their large size and tendency to remain far away from areas where there may be crowds of people, helicopters are the perfect mode of transportation to see a moose around the Matanuska Glacier.
Alaska has the most bears roaming compared to any other state in the United States, in turn making bear sightings highly sought after by tourists. There are currently more than 40,000 grizzly/brown bears and 100,000 black bears in Alaska. Black bears are the most common around the Matanuska Glacier, but brown bear sightings are not unheard of. Black bears evolved in heavily forested areas similar to the Matanuska Valley and thus enjoy climbing trees and grazing an assortment of vegetation. Brown bears are most often spotted in alpine tundra environments but follow seasonal feeding patterns which bring them into the Matanuska Valley.
Cunning, yet shy, and also supremely adorable arctic and red foxes are another native creature worth seeing around the Matanuska Glacier. The arctic and red foxes prefer roaming tundra but have been spotted out on the hard, packed ice of the Matanuska Glacier. Due to the skittish nature of both varieties it is hard to view them in their natural setting up close, but it is not uncommon to sight them from in the air from either plane or helicopter.
Mountain goats of Alaska are the true mountaineers of the rocky, ice covered mountains surrounding the Matanuska Glacier. Goats tend to reside in the high alpine on isolated cliffs to avoid predators, but they are known to wander down on to more moderate terrain to graze. Since goats prefer more vertical terrain, it can be difficult to spot them. The best way to increase chances of sightings is to view them from a helicopter.
Alaska is truly one of the last untouched regions within the continental U.S. The array of flourishing wildlife, unexplored wilderness, and jagged, snow capped peaks still hold an element of mystery! Don’t be afraid to bite the bullet and take the time to explore the vastness Alaska holds.