Katmai National Park has become well known for its salmon run which attract both bears and people alike. Katmai contains the world's largest protected brown/grizzly bear population, estimated to number about 2,200. Apart from its famous Brown Bears, Katmai also has moose, grey wolves, beavers, otters, porcupines, wolverine and other mammals. Marine mammals include hair seals, sea lions, sea otters, beluga whales, orca and grey whales. Caribou occasionally winter within the park. Each year millions of salmon enter Katmai National Park from the Bering Sea. They swim up into the lakes, rivers and streams of the area to spawn. These fish provide a food source for Alaskan Rainbow Trout and other fresh water fish. This is Alaska’s famous sport fishing country. Katmai truly embodies the wild heart of Alaska. Katmai National Park and Preserve is located on the Alaska Peninsula in Southwest Alaska, with headquarters in the nearby town of King Salmon, about 290 miles southwest of Anchorage. The park and preserve cover 4,093,077 acres. Most of this is a designated wilderness area in the national park where all hunting is banned. The park is named after Mount Katmai, its centre piece Volcano. The area was first designated a national monument in 1918 to protect the area around the major 1912 volcanic eruption of Novarupta, which formed the Valley of Ten Thousand Smokes. The park includes as many as 18 individual volcanoes, seven of which have been active since 1900.
Following its designation as a national park, the monument was left undeveloped and largely unvisited until the 1950s. Katmai and the surrounding lands, became appreciated for their abundance of sockeye salmon, the grizzly bears that fed upon them, and a wide variety of other Alaskan wildlife and marine life. After a series of boundary expansions, the present national park and preserve were established in 1980 under the Alaska National Interest Lands Conservation Act. A truly remarkable ecosystem, beautiful to behold and full of natural treasures to discover.