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World Heritage: Canada

Yukon and British Columbia

Picture of many mountain tops covered by snow
Painting by Bernard Pelletier
© Parks Canada, Bernard Pelletier

Behold! An empire of mountains and ice. Here, in a vast international preserve, are most of the tallest peaks in North America and the largest icefields outside the polar caps. Half the land mass is permanently draped in snow and ice — the other half fosters forests and tundra and stable populations of eagles, grizzlies and other species often at risk elsewhere.

Kluane National Park and Reserve in the Yukon and British Columbia’s Tatshenshini-Alsek Park (which is managed in co-operation with the Champagne and Aishihik First Nations) are the Canadian components of a vast, unbroken ecological unit that covers 97,000 square
kilometres and is untouched but for a historic Aboriginal presence. Wrangell-St. Elias National Park and Glacier Bay National Park, both in Alaska, complete the first bi-national entry on the World Heritage List.

The St. Elias Mountains extend over most of the preserve area, hosting the largest group of great peaks on the continent, including massive 5,959-metre Mount Logan, the highest mountain in Canada. Moist air blown in from the Pacific Ocean makes for tremendous snows in the area, creating a massive icefield and producing hundreds of glaciers, among them some of the world’s largest and fastest-moving. Three dozen major rivers drain the region. Carrying immense loads of silt and rock, they are continually reshaping the landscape.

Vegetation ranges from coastal and valley forests to alpine tundra, nurturing, among other fauna, the largest concentration of Dall sheep in the world.

More information

Parks Canada Web site:
Kluane National Park and Reserve of Canada 

United States National Park Service Web sites:
Wrangell-St. Elias National Park and Preserve

Glacier Bay National Park and Preserve

Province of British Columbia Web site:
Tatshenshini-Alsek Provincial Park

World Heritage Centre Web site:
World Heritage - Kluane/Wrangell-St.Elias/Glacier Bay/Tatshenshini-Alsek

World Heritage Sites in the USA
Wrangell-St. Elias/GlacierBay/Tatshenshini-Alsek

All World Heritage Sites

More Images

An aerial view of mountains including Mount Logan with snow flow at the forefront.
Mount Logan
© Parks Canada, Wayne Lynch
Picture of the Kluane glacier and of mountains which surround it.
Kluane Glacier
© Parks Canada, Wayne Lynch
Aerial view of mountains including Table Top mountain. A small river can be seen in the lower right hand.
Table Top Mountain
© Parks Canada, Wayne Lynch