The Copper River Delta in Wrangell-St. Elias National Park and Preserve, Alaska
© Frans Lanting/plainpictur
Riches of the Copper River. Salmon return to the Copper River
This is the vast delta of the Copper River in south central Alaska. The river is known for its large salmon run, which starts in early May when the sockeye and king salmon come back in huge numbers to spawn. Accompanied by much marketing fanfare, this Copper River catch also signals the return of fresh wild Pacific salmon to grocery stores and restaurants. The price per pound, especially in the early days of the commercial season, is as rich as the fish are in Omega-3 fatty acids.But this area's not just about salmon. Here in the vast protected wilderness of Wrangell–St. Elias National Park and Preserve, the Copper River Delta is a birder's paradise, too. The 700,000-acre wetland is an important stop for millions of migrating western sandpipers and other shorebirds on their way to their breeding grounds in the Arctic. Other birds aren’t so quick to leave the delta—trumpeter swans and dusky Canada geese take in these beautiful surroundings and opt to have their babies right here.