Wrangel Island is a 91 mile long island off the coast of Siberia. It was the last mammoth refuge before they were completely wiped out by man about 4,000 years ago. All that remains are huge mounds of mammoth tusks and bones.
Today it is the world's biggest breeding place for polar bears. In addition there are large numbers of seals, walrus, and lemmings.
The first recorded modern times landing took place by the Americans in 1881, who claimed the island for the United States. The expedition included naturalist John Muir, who published the first description of Wrangel Island.
Other explorers followed, and you can read its colorful history here: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Wrangel_Island.
The Russians eventually established sovereignty over the island and today it is a protected nature preserve. You need official permission from the goverment to visit.
Hampton Sides wrote about his sojourn on Wrangel Island for the National Geographic.
Though Arctic animals have long flourished on Wrangel, people most emphatically have not. Lying 88 miles off the coast of northeastern Siberia, Wrangel was for centuries little more than a rumor, a mirage, a fog-gauzed dream. Perhaps it was an island, perhaps a continent, perhaps a magical gateway to the Pole.
Throughout much of the 19th century “Wrangell Land” functioned as a kind of ultima Thule, a hypothetical realm just beyond the veil of the known world. Before its existence was proved, Wrangel Island went by a succession of tentative names: Tikegen Land, Plover Island, Kellett Land. Wrangel loomed in cartographers’ imaginations—some even surmised that it was an extension of Greenland that stretched clear across the Pole.
Scientists who come here say there is something peculiarly haunting and powerful about this raw Pleistocene landscape secreted near the roof of the world. “You feel as though you’ve come to the end of the Earth,” says University of Michigan mammoth paleontologist Daniel Fisher.
“It’s such a pristine environment,” says Irina Menyushina, who has spent 32 seasons on Wrangel Island conducting snowy owl and arctic fox studies. “You feel yourself so close to the primeval processes of the universe.”
Read more here: http://ngm.nationalgeographic.com/2013/05/wrangel-island/sides-text
NPR article and interview with Hampton Siles - http://www.npr.org/blogs/pictureshow/2013/05/06/180932256/a-picture-postcard-from-wild-wrangel-island
UNESCO page for Wrangel Island (with photos) - http://whc.unesco.org/en/list/1023