WRST are the initials for one of the least-known park units in the US National Park Service. As one of the rangers said ... “The initials for Wrangell-St Elias National Park Preserve might sound like it’s the worst, but WRST is the best.”
At 13.2 million acres, WRST is the largest US national park. It is described in superlatives ... bigger than Switzerland ... six times bigger than Yellowstone National Park ... home to the greatest collection of peaks over 16,000 feet ... has the greatest concentration of glaciers on the continent. And on and on.
WRST is nothing like the national parks in the lower 48. There are only two roads that lead into this immense park ... barely. There are no defined trails. No park activities or programs as one might expect to find in a national park. It’s all wilderness. And you’d better be self-sufficient and experienced if you plan to go exploring as you will be on your own in the vastness of the park.
If you’re not a wilderness person, then your choices for exploring WRST are limited to flight-seeing over the park. Or getting yourself to the two private properties in the park where there are outfitters that provide touring options. We’ll be doing both ... later this week.
In the meantime, today’s stop at the visitor center, about 8 miles south of Glennallen, was our second time in as many days. The last time, we stopped to get info on the McCarthy Road ... one of the two that goes partway into the park. The Wrangell Mountains were hiding behind a thick cloak of clouds then.
Today we stopped because the skies were blue and the “four big ones” (visible from this area) — Sanford, Drum, Wrangell, and Blackburn — were all out of hiding. Though the Visitor Center itself is limited to rangers outside the building, we were able to check out the Exhibit Hall and watch a beautifully filmed documentary about the park.Read more