What’s up with Mendenhall Glacier?

Alaska Glaciers are melting and that is true for the Mendenhall Glacier, Juneau, Alaska. What can the visitor expect? Nothing to worry about, or should I be in a hurry to visit the Last Frontier before it is too late?

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Alaska is changing too fast for us old timers. Tourism is everywhere, it seems, and the glaciers are melting. Living in the wilderness, you would think we would be used to change. It has always been this way, and I can cite many examples of natural normal give and take of Mother Nature.

“Things always change” was our motto whenever we travelled in our boat to my small studio on our island homestead. One thing you can say for sure when you go out on the ocean near Juneau in your Kayak, no matter what the forecast, you will encounter a sea change you did not predict. It’s one of the “Wilderness Rules” expect the unexpected and be prepared.

It is just plain uncomfortable to see how much the Mendenhall Glacier near Juneau, Alaska, has changed in the last 20 years. According to NASA, 5 percent of the state is covered by glaciers and they are melting fast.

The Mendenhall Glacier is on U.S. Forest Service Land and they operate the Mendenhall Glacier Visitor Center which has a great view of the glacier… for now. Since reaching it’s maximum in the 1700’s the Glacier has been receding steadily and is expected to disappear from view in 20 years or so. Plans are underway to locate a visitor center further up the natural valley formed by the glacier, and eventually provide sightseeing by boat on Mendenhall Lake to take sightseers within view.

The retreat of this glacier is so rapid that it is easy to see the changes from year to year. So yes. You should visit Juneau, Alaska, and the Mendenhall glacier soon.

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About Me

Alaska Artist Devita Stipek WriterDevita Stipek Writer is an established Alaska landscape painter and muralist. An estimated one million people experience her public work every year. In 1964 she left art school to marry an Alaska fisherman. There followed a life of adventure, tragedy, and triumph.

Note: If you own an original oil painting by Devita that you would like to sell, please contact the artist.