It is the fifth most-visited park in Alaska, but the 11th of 13 Alaska parks in area, and is the closest national park to Anchorage. Archeological surveys have altered the early view that the area was subject to only transient occupation as evidence has accumulated of long-term use.It is believed that coastal subsidence and rising water levels have inundated many sites, as the shoreline was the place richest in resources for early peoples. Eleven mine sites have been documented and two of the mine sites have been determined to be eligible for the National Register of Historic Places.The proposed monument totaled 300,000 acres (120,000 ha) in three areas: the icefield and two island groups.Legislation stalled in Congress during the Watergate scandal, and was not pursued again until the Carter administration. Andrus proposed a 410,000-acre (170,000 ha) Kenai Fjords National Park.Another proposal placed the Aialik Peninsula under US Fish and Wildlife Service jurisdiction.
The park is named for the numerous fjords carved by glaciers moving down the mountains from the ice field.The park is home to a variety of terrestrial and marine mammals, including black bears, whales (humpback and killer whales), seals and moose.