Glacier Bay National Park: Lamplugh Glacier

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Glacier Bay

Glacier Bay National Park and Preserve covers 3.2 million acres of marine ecosystems in Southeast Alaska including the Lamplugh Glacier. President Calvin Coolidge proclaimed the area around Glacier Bay a national monument under the Antiquities Act on February 26, 1925. President Jimmy Carter expanded it in 1978.

The Alaska National Interest Lands Conservation Act enlarged the national monument again on December 2, 1980 and created the National Park and Preserve. Of the 3.2 million acres, 2.7 million are a designated wilderness area. A portion of the Preserve allows for commercial fishing and hunting and subsistence uses for the Tlingit community.

Glacier Bay became part of a binational UNESCO World Heritage Site in 1979. Our cruise ship entered the bay at Icy Strait. In 1794, the Vancouver Expedition attempted to enter at this point and found the channel entirely covered by one large tidewater glacier. In 1879, John Muir found the ice had retreated 48 miles up the bay.

Two rangers transferred onto the NCL Jewel from a National Park Service boat at the mouth of the bay. They narrated our day-long journey up the bay past several tidewater glaciers. At times, we could see the Ruby Princess keeping pace with us, but for most of the day we sailed alone through the gorgeous icy scenery.

Lamplugh Glacier

Glacier Bay National Park protects over one thousand glaciers. Of those, seven are tidewater glaciers. Four of the tidewater glaciers calve icebergs into the bay.

We spent time near four of the tidewater glaciers: Lamplugh Glacier, Johns Hopkins Glacier, Margerie Glacier and Grand Pacific Glacier. We had a clear sunny day and enjoyed viewing the scenery from the top deck while drinking hot chocolate. The first stop was the Lamplugh Glacier.

Lamplugh Glacier descends from the Brady Icefield into Glacier Bay. As of 2021, it measured 19.75 miles long, 165 feet high and nearly a mile wide. Like most of the glaciers in the park, Lamplugh is receding. The western section no longer reaches the water.

Part of a mountain collapsed onto the glacier in 2015, causing a massive landslide. Six miles of rock and debris from the landslide now blankets the glacier. This changed the dynamics of meltwater and ice movement.

Glacier Bay Posts

  • Glacier Bay
  • Lamplugh Glacier
  • Johns Hopkins Glacier
  • Grand Pacific Glacier
  • Margerie Glacier

Location: Glacier Bay, Alaska
Designation: National Park and Preserve
Date designated/established: December 2, 1980
Date of my visit: June 4, 2022

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