For those with a naturalist streak, few places on earth compare with the wonders of Southwest Alaska. Brown bears amble along the hills and plains, and more than 240 bird species inhabit Alaska’s Southwest region. The region’s terrain ranges from a landscape of volcanoes in Katmai National Park created by the 1912 eruption of the Novarupta volcano, to the windswept Aleutian Islands that make a 1,000-mile sweep toward Asia.
Bethel, a commercial center and medium-draft port on the Kuskokwim River, is the largest bush (rural) community in Alaska. An Eskimo trading center in the 1870s, Bethel is still a marketplace for Eskimo ivory carvings, baskets and other craft items. The town’s Yupik Cultural Center features Native exhibits and demonstrations of dancing and carving. Bethel’s Visitor Center and Museum Annex is called Yugtarvik, meaning “a place for people’s things.” The center offers exhibits of traditional Native tools and clothing, a collection of vintage photos, Native art classes and a gift shop. With daily scheduled air service from Anchorage, Bethel is easily accessible.
Yukon-Kuskokwim River Delta: Cities & Towns
Yukon-Kuskokwim River Delta: Parks