Protecting Cultural Resources
The Cultural Resources program at Denali National Park and Preserve documents people in the parks, now and in the past, and helps preserve places with special history.
People have made their homes in Denali National Park and Preserve for at least 12,000 years. Cultural resources professionals help share the stories of people with ties to the park, then and now.
In Alaska, as in the rest of the United States, the National Park Service recognizes and manages five basic types of cultural resources:
The authentic remnants of our nation’s cultural legacy give us an irreplaceable tangible link to our past that cannot be replaced by a book or an article. These authentic places and objects are material touchstones to a past that we experience for ourselves. They serve as material anchors to our past and reference points to our future that cannot be easily erased or eliminated. We can see them, touch them, connect with them in such a way that we can know the past actually happened. Each generation can learn from the ruins, the buildings, and the objects of the past; these are the landmarks that link us over time and space and give meaning and orientation to our lives.
Did You Know?
Warmer average temperatures over several decades have resulted in expansion of woody vegetation. If this warming trend continues, it will change Alaska's ecosystems and drastically alter the physical appearance of Denali's landscape, as treeline marches higher up the mountains.