Alaska Subsistence
A National Park Service Management History
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Although I have lived in Alaska for almost twenty years, some of it in rural surroundings, I had only vague notions about subsistence when I began this project more than three years ago. As a result, I have sought help from a wide variety of people, both within and outside the NPS, in order to gain an understanding of the economic, legal, political, and cultural manifestations of this remarkable subject. Thanks first go to former Deputy Regional Director (and current Denali Superintendent) Paul Anderson, who initially suggested the need for this study; and to Bob Gerhard and Sandy Rabinowitch, who play key roles here in Anchorage in managing the NPS's subsistence program. All three have been consistently supportive of my efforts during the research and writing of this study, and all three made copious, careful editorial suggestions that considerably improved an earlier draft.

In a more general sense, I offer gracious thanks to many other Alaska NPS employees; some work here in Anchorage, while others serve out in various park headquarters. To one extent or another, I have contacted virtually everyone on the Alaska Support Office staff that has had subsistence responsibilities, and I have also sought help from the various park subsistence coordinators. I thank them all for sharing their experience and advice. I must, however, cite a few of them for special assistance. Included on any "short list" must be Hollis Twitchell, the longtime subsistence chief at Denali National Park and Preserve; Steve Ulvi, who (like Twitchell) lived a subsistence lifestyle before serving as Gates of the Arctic National Park and Preserve's longtime subsistence expert; Devi Sharp, who ably answered a plethora of questions about subsistence activities at Wrangell-St. Elias National Park and Preserve; Ken Adkisson, at Western Arctic National Parklands, who clarified several murky subject areas; Wayne Howell at Glacier Bay National Park and Preserve, who steered me through the long, complex history of subsistence activities in that area; Karen Stickman, who patiently answered several Lake Clark-related questions; and both Clarence Summers and Janis Meldrum of the Alaska Support Office, who often went well out of their way to answer questions that demanded patient, exacting explanations. NPS managers, all helpful, have included Dave Mills, Superintendent at Gates of the Arctic National Park and Preserve and Yukon-Charley Rivers National Preserve; Dave Spirtes, Superintendent of Western Arctic National Parklands; Lou Waller, the longtime head of the Alaska Region's Subsistence Division; and Judith Gottlieb, the current NPS representative to the Federal Subsistence Board. Finally, a sincere note of appreciation goes to Supervisory Historian Sande Anderson and to Cultural Resources Team Manager Ted Birkedal for their consistent support of such a long-term project.

To gain historical perspective, I have contacted a broad range of former Alaska NPS employees, who in all cases have been courteous in sharing their time and knowledge. I was fortunate to be able to converse with each of the Alaska Region's former directors—John Cook, Roger Contor, Boyd Evison, Jack Morehead, and Bob Barbeeand I have gained insights from each. NPS employees during the years immediately before and after ANILCA's passage—whose memories are invaluable and in many ways irreplaceableincluded Bill Brown, Ted Swem, Bryan Harry, John Kauffmann, Ray Bane, and the late Bob Belous.

In order to gain a sense of the ways in which subsistence policies have developed outside of Alaska, I have often depended on the knowledge of agency colleagues. In February 1999 I sent a blanket email to historians and interpreters throughout the NPS, and I'd like to thank the many individuals who have helped explain the ways in which subsistence activities—both legal and informal—take place on NPS lands. The names of many—though certainly not all—of these informants have been noted in the endnotes attached to Chapter 2. I'm also glad to have received comments to a draft of this study from two NPS Washington-office representatives: Janet McDonnell, Bureau Historian in the National Center for Cultural Resources, Stewardship, and Partnership Programs, and Pat Parker, Chief of the agency's American Indian Liaison Office..

Many outside the agency have also provided valuable insight into Alaskan subsistence. A number of people who have served on the various park and monument subsistence resource commissions provided hints and advice. Of particular help has been Florence Collins, with the Denali SRC; Jack Reakoff, with the Gates of the Arctic SRC; Walter Sampson, with the Kobuk Valley SRC; and John Vale, formerly with the Wrangell-St. Elias SRC. At the Office of Subsistence Management, I was ably helped by its director, Tom Boyd, and also by staff members Helen Armstrong, Nancy Beres, Helga Eakon, Cliff Edenshaw, Vince Mathews, Patricia McClenahan, and Pat Petrivelli. Taylor Brelsford of the Bureau of Land Management was enormously helpful. And several subsistence experts with the Alaska Department of Fish and Game have been glad to assist me. Terry Haynes in Fairbanks has been singularly helpful, along with Robert Wolfe in Juneau, Jim Fall in Anchorage, Jim Marcotte in Fairbanks, and Jim Magdanz in Kotzebue. I also received invaluable assistance from several academic and consulting historians, including Lary Dilsaver with the University of South Alabama in Mobile, Tim Rawson with Alaska Pacific University in Anchorage, and Ted Catton with Historical Research Associates, Inc. in Missoula, Montana..

Many of the people noted above, and others besides, have assumed a "double duty" for this project. Not only have they given me their knowledge and insights, but they have also volunteered to read over portions the draft text and offer text corrections. A few stout-hearted souls have read and commented on the entire study, including Dick Stenmark, Bill Brown, Steve Ulvi, Lou Waller, Taylor Brelsford, and Terry Haynes. Thanks to all of these people, the final text is a vast improvement over its previous incarnation..

Finally, I could not have completed this study without the extensive knowledge and cooperative assistance of librarians and archivists in both Anchorage and Juneau. Those who have been especially helpful in steering me in the right direction include Bruce Merrell, at Loussac Library; Bruce Parham, at the National Archives and Records Administration branch office; Celia Rozen and Cathy Vitale, at the Alaska Resources Library and Information Services; John Stewart, at the Alaska State Archives; and Kay Shelton and Sondra Stanway, with the Alaska State Library's Historical Collections..

This study is truly a collaborative effort, and it would have been a poor effort indeed without such widespread support. The author, however, is solely responsible for any errors of fact or interpretation that remain in the final product.

Frank Norris
June 15, 2002

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Last Updated: 14-Mar-2003