The Alaska mountains were named for Alfred Hulse Brooks, who was the chief U.S. Geological Survey geologist for the state during the first two decades of the 20th century. He led several USGS expeditions through the range of mountains that would eventually bear his name. Brooks believed that these mountains were separate from the Canada Rockies, a view that is no longer shared by the USGS or the U.S. Forest Service.
The Brooks Range runs east-west and acts as a watershed divide. Water that drains off the north slope flows into the Arctic Ocean, while runoff from the south flanks eventually reaches the Pacific Ocean.
The Alaskan pipeline and the Dalton Highway cross the range of mountains at Atigun Pass, which has an elevation of 4,739 feet. Other this avenue of commerce and a few native villages on the north slope, the Brooks Range has little evidence of human presence.
Wildlife, especially caribou, Dall sheep and grizzly bears, is abundant throughout the mountains. The surrounding lowlands also support many species of migratory birds.
The Brooks Range is the main geographical feature of the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge, a vast tract of land that has been under federal jurisdiction since 1960. There are 19.3 million acres in the refuge, a land area that is about the size of the state of South Carolina.
Article Written By Henri Bauholz
Henri Bauholz is a professional writer covering a variety of topics, including hiking, camping, foreign travel and nature. He has written travel articles for several online publications and his travels have taken him all over the world, from Mexico to Latin America and across the Atlantic to Europe.