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Opportunities for Cooperation Following the Creation of National Park "Beringia" in Chukotka, Russia

Image of Chukotka coast Chukotka coast (NPS photo by Konstantin Savva).
On January 17, 2013, Russian Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev signed a decree creating the Russian National Park "Beringia," in the Russian North East region of Chukotka. (See map) This region is directly across the Bering Strait from Alaska, and the national park designation in Russia would create opportunities for the National Park Service (NPS) to work more closely with the region on park-to-park projects. The establishment of a new national park in Russia is especially important to the NPS Alaska Region, as the designation makes federal lands available on the Russian side for inclusion in an International Protected Area spanning the Bering Strait. As one of the primary goals of the Shared Beringian Heritage Program (SBHP), an international agreement would generate stronger ties and more opportunities for residents on both sides.

This designation is a positive step toward the end goal of deeper relationship between Alaska and Chukotka, as well as Russia and the United States. A federal/national park allows negotiations to be conducted at higher levels and with more possibilities for an actual international government to government agreement. This enables the National Park Service and the SBHP to engage more directly with park administrators, and sets the stage for deeper levels of cooperation on projects, exchanges, travel, tourism, scientific efforts, and bilateral research. The Shared Beringian Heritage Program will work closely with the new park administrators, and will strive for a strong and engaged relationship with their Chukotka counterparts.

Last Updated: November 15, 2013