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Inhabiting the Alaskan Wild

Inhabiting the Alaskan Wild

Chapter:
(p.113) 12 Inhabiting the Alaskan Wild
Source:
Wildness
Author(s):
Margot Higgins
Publisher:
University of Chicago Press
DOI:10.7208/chicago/9780226444970.003.0013

In 1980, the Alaska National Interest Lands Conservation Act (ANILCA) designated ten national parks and 56 million acres of legislatively protected wilderness—tripling the amount of wilderness in the United States, and doubling the size of the national park system. Following years of contentious debate in congress, the act also guaranteed the continuation of traditional livelihoods for both Native and non-Native Alaskans. “Inhabited wilderness” is the result of this unusual compromise. Based on an ethnographic study, this chapter documents the ways in which a unique rural culture has been protected in Wrangell-St. Elias National Park and Preserve and the ways this culture has continued to emerge. A case study on the cultural resource management of the historic Kennecott mines demonstrates the divide between the local population and the National Park Service mandate, which is beholden to a different set of objectives for the park.

Keywords:   Alaska, ANILCA, National Parks, inhabited wilderness, mining, resource management, Wrangell-St. Elias

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