Parks in this Network
Southwest Alaska Network Parks
Reviewing historic photo for placement of repeat photography
- Alagnak Wild River (ALAG)
- Aniakchak National Monument and Preserve (ANIA)
- Katmai National Park and Preserve (KATM)
- Kenai Fjords National Park (KEFJ)
- Lake Clark National Park and Preserve (LACL)
The Southwest Alaska Inventory & Monitoring Network (SWAN) is an office of the National Park Service dedicated to providing the scientific foundation for effective, long-term protection and management of natural resources in five units of the national park system. Collectively these units comprise approximately 9.4 million acres, 11.6 percent of the land managed by the National Park Service, or 2 percent of the Alaska landmass, and include a diversity of geologic features, ecosystems, fish, wildlife, and climatic conditions that are equaled few places in North America.
From calving glaciers to rumbling volcanoes, the SWAN is located in one of the most geologically active regions on the continent. The Valley of Ten Thousand Smokes, a spectacular 100 square-kilometer pyroclastic ash flow in Katmai National Park & Preserve, and Aniakchak Caldera, a 10 km-wide, 600 m-deep caldera in Aniakchak National Monument & Preserve are just two of the many volcanic features in the Network. Superimposed on these features are ice and permanent snowfields that blanket approximately one-fifth of the land area in the SWAN. Valley and tidewater glaciers radiate from massive snowfields along the coastal mountains of Kenai Fjords National Park, Lake Clark National Park & Preserve, and Katmai National Park & Preserve, while rapidly retreating glaciers leave huge deposits of till in their wake.
Collectively, the SWAN spans 3 Alaska climatic zones and 11 ecoregions, encompassing the area where coastal Aleutian, low Arctic, interior-boreal, and Pacific coastal flora and fauna converge. Approximately half of the land area in southwest Alaska is characterized by mean annual temperatures at or near 0 °C, and as a result relatively small changes in temperature may have regional effects on seasonal snow and ice dynamics.