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Obama Becomes The First U.S. President To Visit The Arctic

The highly-anticipated trip was meant to highlight climate change where the president said residents are already grappling with its everyday effects.

Last updated on September 3, 2015, at 1:18 a.m. ET

Posted on September 2, 2015, at 11:06 p.m. ET

As part of a trip he hopes will draw attention to the effects of climate change, President Obama on Wednesday became the first sitting U.S. president to trek north of the Arctic Circle.

President Obama looks at Bear Glacier, which has receded 1.8 miles in about 100 years, while on a boat tour to see the effects of global warming in Resurrection Cove, Alaska.
Andrew Harnik / AP

President Obama looks at Bear Glacier, which has receded 1.8 miles in about 100 years, while on a boat tour to see the effects of global warming in Resurrection Cove, Alaska.

"What's happening in Alaska is just a preview of what will happen to the rest of us if we don't take action, it's our wake-up call," Obama said in a video previewing the three-day trip.

President Obama speaks to the media before taking a boat tour to see the effects of global warming in Kenai Fjords National Park, Tuesday.
Andrew Harnik / AP

President Obama speaks to the media before taking a boat tour to see the effects of global warming in Kenai Fjords National Park, Tuesday.

Exit Glacier at Kenai Fjords National Park was one of the stops for the president, where he pointed out that the glacier has receded more than 1.5 miles, and melting faster each year.

President Obama stops to make remarks to reporters as he hikes to the Exit Glacier at Kenai Fjords National Park in Seward, Alaska.
Jonathan Ernst / Reuters

President Obama stops to make remarks to reporters as he hikes to the Exit Glacier at Kenai Fjords National Park in Seward, Alaska.

"This is worth preserving," Obama said in a video posted on Twitter while standing in picturesque areas of the state to promote federal action in addressing climate change. "We've got to do something about it. The good news is we can."

Watch @POTUS go behind the camera in Alaska to talk about the impacts of climate change: http://t.co/eAVC9RjeMV https://t.co/5y0EZH9RKi

He even brought out the selfie-stick for those scenic shots.

White House / Via Twitter: @WhiteHouse

On Wednesday, he met with local fishing families on Kanakanak Beach. Hunting and fishing areas are being threatened, Obama said, and land where permafrost is melting in Alaska has seen homes sinking into the ground.

President Obama looks at salmon being smoked while meeting with local fishermen and families on Kanakanak Beach, Wednesday.
Andrew Harnik / AP

President Obama looks at salmon being smoked while meeting with local fishermen and families on Kanakanak Beach, Wednesday.

He tried some of salmon jerky.

Andrew Harnik / AP

He also tried to handle some of the local catch.

Andrew Harnik / AP

One of the fish, though, released milt — the sperm-containing fluid of a male fish — as he was holding it. "He said he was happy to see me," Obama said of the fish.

Andrew Harnik / AP

Obama also stopped by a local grocery store to highlight the rapidly rising cost of groceries in Alaska, where the president said prices have at times doubled.

Andrew Harnik / AP

Then he visited Dillingham Middle School, where he joined kids in performing a native Alaskan dance.

Andrew Harnik / AP
vine.co

Obama also flew Wednesday over the village of Kivalina, a 400-person Alaska native community receding into the ocean as a result of rising sea levels.

Air Force One, carrying Obama, flies over the island village of Kivalina.
Andrew Harnik / AP

Air Force One, carrying Obama, flies over the island village of Kivalina.

"For many of those Alaskans, it's no longer a question of if they are going to relocate, but when," the president said. "Think about that. If another country tried to wipe out an entire town, we'd do everything in our power to protect it."

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