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NPS in Alaska Before 1972


Response to ANCSA, 1971-1973


NPS in Alaska, 1973-1980





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The National Park Service and the
Alaska National Interest Lands Conservation Act of 1980: Administrative History

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1. With the addition of the d-2 lands, the Park System in Alaska totalled 51,256,000 acres. This amounted to just over sixty-three percent of the National Park System. By 1983, NPS employees in Alaska would total less than two percent of the number of employees in the National Park Service. Everhart, The National Park Service (1982), p. 198; Interview of Roger Contor, November 2, 1983.

2. Cecil D. Andrus to Solicitor, et. al., December 2, 1980 [especially attachments], NPS WASO Files, ANILCA Papers, USDI; Required Studies, Reports, and Deadlines in Alaska Lands Legislation (As Passed by Senate on August 19, 1980), undated MS, Box 11, Ibid.; Deputy Assistant Secretary - Indian Affairs to Undersecretary, October 23, 1980, doc. no. 001405, ANILCA Papers, USDI; USDI, NPS Final Environmental Impact Statement for the Kantishna Hills/Dunkle Mine Study and Report Denali National Park and Preserve (Denver: NPS, 1984); Margaret McKeown to Solicitor, et. al., December 31, 1980 [Emergency Interim Regulations under Alaska National Interest Lands Conservation Act], Box 23, NPS WASO Files, ANILCA Papers, USDI; Robert Herbst to Assistant Secretary - Policy, Budget, and Administration, January 2, 1981, Ibid.; "National Park System in Alaska, Public Uses," Federal Register, Vol. 46, no. 116, part 3, June 17, 1981, pp. 31836-863. To date general management plans have been completed for Kenai Fjords, Lake Clark, and Glacier Bay. All others are on review.

The work of the Service was further complicated in 1981 when the Heritage Conservation and Recreation Service was abolished, and that agency's functions transferred to the National Park Service.

3. Interview of John Cook, January 26, 1984; Cecil D. Andrus to Solicitor, et. al., December 2, 1980. Secretary Andrus ordered the establishment of National Park Service, Fish and Wildlife Service, and Heritage Conservation and Recreation Service regional offices in his December 2, 1980 implementation directive.

4. 'House of Representative Committee Report, June 26, 1980," Belous Files, ANILCA Papers, USDI; U.S., Congress, House, Department of the Interior and Related Agencies Appropriations, Hearings Before a Subcommittee on Appropriations, House of Representatives, 96th Cong., 2d sess., 1980, part II, pp. 548-51, 783-79; U.S., Congress, Senate, Department of the Interior and Related Agencies Appropriations, Hearings before the Committee on Appropriations on H.R. 7724, 96th Cong., 2d Sess., Part 3, pp. 501-503; Anchorage Times, February 28, 1980, Fairbanks Daily News-Miner, May 17, 1980, and Ketchikan Daily News, March 6, 1980, Special Collections Division, DPL; Interview of John Cook, January 26, 1984. Congressional anger over President Carter's use of the Antiquities Act seems to have been the primary reason for refusing to grant the Service's full request. Some Congressmen did argue, moreover, that a full appropriation would place a stamp of approval on the President's action when it was under challenge in the courts. The Service may have hurt its own cause when it proposed the construction of eleven 700-square-foot employee housing units at Bettles and Kotzebue at the cost of $300,000 each. That price, which included installation of utility systems, design and project supervision, site development, and construction of access roads, does not seem unreasonable, and was a reflection of the cost of doing business in Alaska. Nor was it out of line with costs of similar housing constructed by private interests and other agencies in rural Alaska. In retrospect, however, the request was unfortunately timed and made reduction of the funds requested to manage the new areas much easier to accomplish.

5. Interview of Cook, October 27, 1983; Regional Director's Annual Report—1982, Alaska Region, ARO Central Files, ARO. In addition, the Regional Office did begin the process of programming this, and future historical studies of the new parklands.

6. NPS, "Summary of New Alaska Area Requirements," September 26, 1980, attachment to Robert Herbst to Secretary [Andrus], September 30, 1980 [draft], Box 40, NPS WASO Files, ANILCA Papers, USDI; "House Appropriations Committee Report," June 6, 1980, Belous Files, Ibid. In September 1980, the Park Service indicated that implementation of ANILCA would require sixty-nine positions in the field areas, and an additional thirty-eight in Anchorage. FY 1981 funds provided for thirty positions in the field areas and six more in mining and mineral management in the Anchorage office.

7. Interviews of John Cook (January 24, 1984), Chuck Budge (July 29, 1983), and Paul Haertel (November 2, 1983). Budge was also acting superintendent of Denali National Monument and Haertel served as chief of operations in the Anchorage area office.

8. Interviews of John Cook (January 26, 1984), and Mack Shaver (November 4, 1983).

>9. Vacancy Announcement - Park Managers--Kenai Fjords, Bering Land Bridge, Gates of the Arctic, and Yukon Charley, December 16. Park Files, Yukon-Charley Rivers National Preserve; Interview of John Cook, January 24, 1984). In addition to Budge, Haertel, and Shaver, Regional Director Cook selected Dick Ring as superintendent at Gates of the Arctic, Dave Mihalic at Yukon-Charley, Dave Moore at Kenai Fjords, and Larry Rose at Bering Land Bridge.

10. Interview of Dave Moore by Frank Williss, July 22, 1983. Moore would not be able to put people into the field until the 1983 season.

11. C. Mack Shaver to Regional Director, Alaska Region, March 31, 1983 [Superintendent's Annual Report, 1981 and 1982], ARO Central Files, ARO; Interview of Mack Shaver, November 4, 1983.

The Park Service had worked for inclusion of a local-hire provision in the Alaska Lands bill since 1972. The provision had been deleted from the Secretary Morton proposal at the request of the OMB. Section 1308 of ANILCA includes a provision providing for hiring of individuals who had "lived or worked in or near a conservation system unit, has special knowledge or expertise concerning the natural or cultural resources of such a unit and the management thereof."

12. Interview of Dave Mihalic, May 17, 1983. As it turned out, use of this telephone for park business at Yukon-Charley National Rivers provided for a real example of open government. In a complex link, phone calls went by radio from the store to a nearby earth station three miles away for transmission outside. It was possible, as a result, to monitor both incoming and outgoing calls. The situation no longer exists.

13. Interview of Dick Ring by Frank Williss, July 13, 1983; "Significant Organizational Events, 1982 - Gates of the Arctic National Park and Preserve," April 12, 1983, ARO Central Files, ARO; Interviews of Chuck Budge (July 29, 1983) and Bill Paleck (July 27, 1983); Budge to Regional Director, Alaska Region, March 30, 1983, ARO Central Files, ARO.

Fairbanks headquarters of Gates of the Arctic was not established until August. At first, it was located in offices of the Cooperative Park Studies Unit at the University of Alaska. Headquarters of Wrangell-Saint Elias was officially in a rented room at the library. In actuality, according to Budge, it was in the cabs of two four-wheel drive trucks assigned Budge and Chief Ranger Bill Paleck.

14. For a particularly perceptive analysis of the conflicting demands that National Park Service managers in Alaska will face, see C. Mack Shaver, "Traditional National Park Values and Living Cultural Parks: Seemingly Conflicting Management Demands Coexisting in Alaska's New National Parklands, 1984, typescript in ARO. This paper was presented by Mr. Shaver at the First World Conference on Cultural Parks held at Mesa Verde National Park, September 16-21, 1984.

15. For example, USDI, NPS, Statement for Management, Wrangell-Saint Elias National Park (Anchorage: NPS, 1983); USDI, NPS, "Draft Statement for Management, Gates of the Arctic National Park and Preserve," 1982; USDI, NPS, "Draft Statement for Management, Yukon-Charley Rivers National Preserve," April 8, 1983.

16. By NPS policy neither the superintendent nor regional director is authorized to take any action which will have a lasting effect on the resources until a general management plan is approved.

17. As indicated Chuck Budge, Paul Haertel, and Mack Shaver had served as rangers-in-charge of their respective areas since 1979 and 1980. Dave Mihalic had visited Yukon-Charley briefly as a member of the 1979 ranger task force, and earlier had been involved in interim management of the d-2 lands while employed at the Bureau of Land Management. Additionally, employment of several Alaska residents as seasonal staff brought added expertise to the staffs of the new areas.

Nevertheless, the majority of personnel in the new parks had little experience in Alaska, and had not been a part of the pre-ANILCA planning process. Earlier the keymen had been considered to be prime candidates for the positions of new area managers. Most, however, had left, and those who remained—Bill Brown and Bob Belous—were assigned to the Anchorage Office. Brown was chief of cultural resources and Belous was special assistant to the regional director.

18. C. Mack Shaver to Regional Director, Alaska, March 31, 1983, ARO Central Files, ARO. It must be made clear that the people contacted were visitors to Kotzebue and should not be considered as park visitors.

19. Interview of Dick Ring, July 13, 1983.

20. Park Service officials recognized that a failing of the ranger task forces that manned the national monuments in 1979 and 1980 was that the people were in the field only during the summer. Before 1980, Ray Bane, who lived in Bettles, was the only Park Service employee permanently in the field in any of the new areas.

21. Kotzebue and Nome, for example, are reached only by boat (in the summer) and airplane. Gates of the Arctic is some 200 miles north of Fairbanks and is reached only by air, although the Dalton Highway does run along the eastern boundary. Eagle (headquarters for Yukon Charley Rivers National Preserve) can be reached by what is euphemistically called the Taylor Highway, a 161-mile-long narrow, winding gravel road that is open from April to mid-October. During the winter Eagle is accessible only by airplane.

22. Dave Mihalic, "But What's it Really Like?" Newsletter of the Association of National Park Rangers, VII (Spring, 1984), pp. 8-9; U.S., Congress, House, Department of the Interior and Related Agencies Appropriations for 1982, Hearings before a Subcommittee of the Committee on Appropriations, House of Representatives, 97th Cong., 1st Sess., 1981, pp. 805-806; Interview of John Cook, January 26, 1984. Federal employees in Alaska do receive a twenty-five percent cost of living adjustment.

23. Interviews of Jim Hannah (July 29, 1983), Bill Paleck (July 27, 1983), Chuck Budge (July 29, 1983), Dave Mihalic (May 17, 1983), Bryan Pittman (July 11, 1983), Mack Shaver (November 4, 1983), and John Cook (January 26, 1984); G. Mack Shaver to Regional Director, March 31, 1983, ARO Central Files, ARO.

Housing is not provided for by the Park Service. Mack Shaver reported that employees in Kotzebue spent five months finding permanent housing. The expense and difficulty in finding housing in the remote areas of Alaska could prove to be a real problem for the Park Service in the future. It could become a barrier to the movement of Service personnel in and out of Alaska, causing difficulties in managing the Alaska parks and creating, in effect, a separate Alaska National Park Service.

24. Interview of Jim Hannah, July 29, 1983. Hannah had been a member of the 1980 ranger task force.

25. "Task Directive for meeting Alaska Planning Needs, 1981-1985," >May 18, 1981, Elizabeth Janes Files, Branch of Planning, Western Team (TWE), Denver Service Center (DSC); G. Ray Arnett to Directors, NPS and FWS, June 20, 1983, ARO Central Files, ARO.

In 1981, The Alaska Regional Office gave key responsibility for general management planning in Alaska to the Denver Service Center. In 1983, that responsibility was transferred back to Alaska. Team Captains for remaining plans (Gates of the Arctic, Bering Land Bridge, Noatak, Kobuk Valley, and Cape Krusenstern) were hired and duty-stationed in Alaska.

26. "General Management Plan Program," undated MS [1984], Janes Files, DSC. It was estimated that the total cost of producing general management plans for the Alaska areas would be $1,396,972. The 1982 funds represented forty percent of the service-wide general management planning funds.

27. Summary Schedule--Status Report, Region: Alaska, FY 1982, undated MS [1982] Janes Files, DSC.

28. "Task Directive for meeting Alaska Planning Needs, 1981-1985," Janes Files, DSC. An environmental assessment is a brief public document used by the Federal agency proposing an undertaking that provides sufficient information and analysis to make a determination whether to prepare an environmental impact statement or a finding of no significant impact. This document also provides compliance with the National Environmental Policy Act when a longer and more detailed environmental impact statement is not required.

29. Federal-State Land Use Planning Commission for Alaska, Final Report of the Federal-State Land Use Planning Commission for Alaska: Some Guidelines for Deciding Alaska's Future (Anchorage: JFSLUPC, 1979), foreword.

30. See, for example, "Regulations are the next d-2 fight!" Anchorage Daily News, December 23, 1981, ARO Clipping Files, Special Collections Division, DPL; "Andrus: d-2 being 'dismantled,"' Anchorage Times, April 29, 1982, Ibid.; "Natives find much wrong with Lands Act," Ibid.; "'We're redeeming Lands Act promises,' Horn says," Wildlife Refuges: What Future for Alaska? Proceedings of the National Audubon Society Alaska Regional Conference, May 7-10, 1981, (Anchorage: National Audubon Society Alaska Regional Office], 1982); Robert Cahn, The National Parks, The People, The Parks, The Politics," Sierra, LXVIII (May-June, 1983), pp. 47-55; Celia Hunter, "This Land is Our Land," Alaska: Magazine of Life on the Last Frontier, L (November 1984), pp. 15, 61; Michele Strutin, "Alaska Land Scramble," National Parks (May/June 1982), p. 29; Edgar Wayburn, "The Alaska Lands Act. The beginning of What?" Sierra LXVII (September-October 1982), pp. 42-44; Wayburn, "Hunters Take Aim at Alaska's National Parks S. 49 and H.R. 1493," Sierra, LXVIII (May-June, 1983), pp. 17-18.

31. Roderick M. Nash, "Comments on the Draft Statement of Management for Gates of the Arctic National Park and Preserve with Special Emphasis on the problem of Air Access and Wilderness Values," September 10, 1982, Typescript in Brown Files, ARO.


Last Modified: Tues, Jan 9 2001 10:08 am PDT

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