Planning a trip into the backcountry? Careful planning and consideration is required to ensure your safety while traveling Glacier Bay’s immense wilderness. Remember, safety is your responsibly!
Visitor Information Station
The Visitor Information Station (VIS) serves as Glacier Bay's permit office and information center for backcountry users. Attend an orientation and obtain your permit here. If you have questions about your trip, Rangers can guide you and provide local knowledge for the areas you will be exploring. If you would like to speak with a Ranger before your trip, please give us a call at (907) 697-2627 or e-mail us email@example.com.
Camping in Bartlett Cove
Camping in Bartlett Cove is limited to the developed campground. Obtain a free campground permit from the Visitor Information Station between May and September. At this time, reservations for the campground are not accepted. More detailed information is available on the Bartlett Cove Campground page.
Backcountry Permits and Orientation
From May 1 to September 30, all overnight backcountry users (including kayakers) must register for a free permit and attend an orientation, held at the Bartlett Cove Visitor Information Station. This 30-minute session is for your benefit: to answer your questions, provide you with a tide table, inform you of special wildlife and safety closures, and to assist in planning your trip. Permit registration and check-out of bear-resistant food canisters can be done at the time of the orientation. Contact the Visitor Information Station at (907) 697-2627 for the orientation schedule and for additional information.
Camping Advisories and Temporary Closures
Wildlife, negative bear encounters, or other safety concerns will occasionally cause advisories to be issued or areas to be temporarily closed for overnight camping.
Reid Inlet Advisory June 14 – July 12, 2019
|National Park Service Dispatch||(907) 697-2651|
|National Park Service||Marine VHF 16|
|Glacier Bay Contacts|
|KWM20 Bartlett Cove||Marine VHF 12|
|Visitor Information Station||(907) 697-2627|
|Glacier Bay National Park||(907) 697-2230|
Leave No Trace
Help us to ensure that future generations will enjoy Glacier Bay as it is today. Choose a campsite where you will leave little or no impact. A good campsite is found and not made. Campsites should be at least 100 feet from fresh water sources. Check at the Visitor Information Station for areas that are closed to backcountry use. Know these areas, and mark them on your maps and charts. Do not approach wildlife. Some animals are easily disturbed. You are responsible for knowing and following all applicable regulations during your visit to the park. Glacier Bay is wild, clean and unpolluted. Remember to carry out all trash (do not burn). Use the intertidal zone for campfires, and preparing and eating food. Generally, the next high tide will erase traces of your presence. Learn more about the seven principles of Leave No Trace in preparation for your trip.
Off Season Backcountry Travel
Both Black and Coastal Brown Bears are frequently seen throughout the park. These are wild animals and should always be considered to be potentially dangerous. When hiking, lessen your chance of a bear encounter by looking for bear signs, making noise, and traveling in groups. Consider carrying bear spray in the backcountry. It is important that bears never come in contact with human food, so NEVER leave food unattended. Keep a clean camp. Store food and any scented items in bear resistant food containers at least 100 yards from your campsite. Do all cooking and eating in the intertidal zone at least 100 yards from your campsite. If you do encounter a bear, remain calm, identify yourself as a human (talk to the bear) and stand your ground. Do not run. You can not outrun a bear and fleeing may trigger the bear’s chase response.
Help keep Glacier Bay bears wild by knowing park regulations and practicing proper food storage. Bear-resistant food canisters are provided to campers at no charge. Become familiar with bear canisters and food storage regulations in Glacier Bay.
You'll live and breathe by the tides here in Glacier Bay! A basic understanding of tides and currents is crucial to safely traveling in the backcountry. There is up to a 25 foot tidal offset and strong currents of up to seven knots. Standing waves, whirlpools and tidal rips are common in some parts of the bay (e.g. Sitakaday Narrows, Adams Inlet, Berg Bay, ect.) Familiarizing yourself with tides in Glacier Bay before you arrive is highly recommended.
An ever-present danger in cold climates is hypothermia, a condition created when you lose body heat faster than you create it. Early symptoms of hypothermia include slurred speech, trembling, exhaustion, stumbling, and impaired judgment. Unchecked, symptoms may progress to mental confusion, unconsciousness, and eventually death. Hypothermia can result from cold ambient temperatures between 30 and 60 degrees F, especially when accompanied by wind or rain. Should you get wet, you must be aware that hypothermia will likely follow.
Take preventative action:
Put on rainwear or warm clothes before you become soaked or cold. Ventilate or remove clothing layers before you sweat. Wrap sleeping bags and clothing in plastic bags. Eat high calorie food throughout the day before you become exhausted. Keep hydrated. Make sure all members of your party are aware of the symptoms of hypothermia and look out for each other.
The objective of hypothermia treatment is to rewarm as fast as possible. Begin by finding a spot out of the wind, removing wet clothing, and adding dry layers. "FEED AND HEAT." That is, first provide the body with quick calories that will enable it to produce heat (FEED). Simple foods such as candy bars and hot chocolate will be absorbed the fastest. Follow up with food containing more complex carbohydrates such as bread and fruit. "HEAT" means rewarm quickly by exercising and moving. Walk about or practice isometric exercises inside the tent or shelter. Body movement and exercise will usually affect rewarming considerably more than remaining still under piles of sleeping bags. Avoid alcohol as it increases heat loss.
If a hypothermic patient has ceased shivering, has exhibited a dramatic decrease in mental status such as hallucinations and unconsciousness, and their core body temperature is below 90 degrees, the patient has severe hypothermia. Field rewarming of severely hypothermic patients can be dangerous, and is usually not effective. Transport the patient to the nearest medical facility.
Last updated: September 8, 2019