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Though the division between the Interior and far west is arbitrary, the coastal region between the Alaska Peninsula and the western end of the Brooks Range has several distinct qualities. The regions climate is moderated by proximity to the sea. Forest coverage declines to the west until it is all but absent along the coast. The region is populated mainly by Eskimos, in contrast to the predominance of Athabascan Indians in the Interior.
In the south, the Kuskokwim Mountains fade into the lowlands on the north shores of Bristol Bay, a major salmon-harvesting center with Dillingham as its chief town. The central coast is dominated by the sprawling Yukon Delta, which hosts the mouths of the Yukon and Kuskokwim Rivers, swampy lowlands, thousands of lakes, and millions of waterbirds. Further north is Norton Sound, backed by the wide, low Nulato Hills and home of the coastal town of Unalakleet. The Seward Peninsula, site of Nome and Kotzebue, noses toward Russia and divides the Bering Sea from the Chukchi Sea.
Access to all areas is by air or via long-distance river travel. Only major towns and those useful for further explorations are described below. For further information, contact rangers, refuge managers, and the Alaska Department of Community and Regional Affairs (see the Appendix).