Few children in the United States have heard of Baron Petrovich von Wrangell. St. Elias has never been a nationally recognized feast day in the U.S. Yet the largest National Park in the United Sates is the Wrangell-St. Elias National Park and Preserve, a Park located in Alaska. Where can anyone find both bison and bats? Where can anyone find a region with more than eighty different grasses?
One of the former governors of Russia's Alaskan colonies was Petrovich von Wrangell. St. Elias day was celebrated on the day that Vitus Bering first saw the tall coastal mountains of Alaska. Those mountains are now found in a National Park. Yet even though von Wrangell objected to the sale of Alaska to the United States, the country's largest National Park was not named St. Elias National Park. Its full name is Wrangell-St. Elias National Park and Preserve.
Four different mountain ranges, the Wrangell, St. Elias, Chugah and the eastern part of the Alaskan range converge within the Wrangell-St. Elias National Park and Preserve. It is a Park that brought realization to a vision first seen during the time of President Franklin Roosevelt. Perhaps if World War II had not intervened the area might have been called St. Elias National Park.
But by the late 1970s, the time when the United States made a concrete effort to preserve some Alaskan mountain ranges, the community of Wrangell, Alaska had grown in size. Hence Jimmy Carter proclaimed the mountainous area the Wrangell-St. Elias National Monument. Two years later it became a National Park.
Perhaps in the late 1970s when President Jimmy Carter and his family flew into the Grand Teton National Park he thought of the Alaskan mountains named for Wrangell. St. Elias' mountains may have been on his mind as he flew out of the magnificent Park established in the area of the Grand Teton. Whatever crossed the mind of President Carter as he vacationed in the Park next to Yellowstone, President Carter contributed greatly to the establishment of the Wrangell-St. Elias National Park and Preserve.
Hence mountain goats continue to frolic over the mountain range named for Wrangell. St. Elias' Mountains continue to contain grizzly and black bears. Golden eagles still float over the mountains named for a man called Petrovich von Wrangell. St.Elias' mountains still nurture the growth of close to one hundred different sedges. Winds still sweep over the sand dunes and the volcanic ash at the convergence of the Wrangell, St. Elias and Chugah Mountains.
All of this was guaranteed by the creation of the Wrangell-St. Elias National Park and Preserve. The entire gamut of the above happenings has brought greater prosperity to Wrangell, Alaska. And many Americans applaud the efforts to protect and preserve caribou, lynx, wolves, snowshoe hare, beaver, river otters, salmon, pine grosbeaks and falcons. A good number of U.S. citizens now make plans to travel to the mountainous region where those animals all live-- north to the Wrangell-St. Elias National Park and Preserve.