Imagine an area the size of Switzerland. Now strip away its road network, eradicate its towns and cities and take away all but 40 of its eight million people. The result would be something approximating Wrangell-St Elias National Park. Comprising 20,625 square miles of brawny ice-encrusted mountains, Wrangell-St Elias is the second-largest national park in the world after Northeast Greenland, meaning there’s plenty of room for its 45,000-or-so annual visitors to get lost – very, very lost. The park’s vital statistics are mind-boggling.
One more time: this park is big. If Wrangell-St Elias were a country it would be larger than 70 of the world’s independent nations. Its biggest glacier covers an area larger than the US state of Rhode Island. Plenty of its mountain peaks have never been climbed. And that’s even before you’ve started counting the bears, beavers, porcupines and moose.