National Park Service

State of the Park Reports

State of the Park Report for
Klondike Gold Rush National Historical Park

Chapter 3 - Summary of Key Stewardship Activities and Accomplishments

Brown Bear in Dyea
Brown Bear in Dyea

The items below provide examples of stewardship activities and accomplishments by park staff and partners of Klondike Gold Rush National Historical Park to maintain or improve the condition of park resources and values for this and future generations:

Natural Resources

  • The resource division has long-term inventory and monitoring records for several species including bird inventories through the standardized Breeding Bird Survey, BBS off-road counts, and coastal waterbird surveys; ongoing Western Toad inventory and monitoring; and the recently initiated lichen inventory. Additional long-term monitoring of natural resource condition is being conducted by the Southeast Alaska Inventory and Monitoring Network. Inventory and monitoring is done in partnership with local community members and other agencies. The recently-completed lichen inventory resulted in the amazing claim that KLGO holds the world's record for the highest number of "lichenized and lichenicolous" fungus species per unit ever reported.
  • In 2004, the park acquired full LIDAR coverage of the park. These data form the basis for the park's robust GIS program. Soils inventory and vegetation mapping will be included in the GIS in 2013. Cultural Resources data layers are being standardized and entered as data as funding becomes available.
  • Four weather stations have been installed in the park, all of which will be operational by 2013. The weather stations collect information that will be used to study climate changes throughout the area and contribute information to a larger regional dataset.

Cultural Resources

  • Acquisition of the George and Edna Rapuzzi Historic Gold Rush Collection is the park's greatest success story of the past five years. The Rasmuson Foundation's donation of the George and Edna Rapuzzi Historic Gold Rush Collection added three gold rush era buildings to the park's holdings, including notorious Jefferson "Soapy" Smith's Parlor and the first YMCA building in Alaska, as well as thousands of historic objects from the gold rush.
  • The park successfully launched Artifact ID days in 2012. This extremely popular program asked local residents to assist the NPS curator in identifying "mystery objects" from the George and Edna Rapuzzi Historic Gold Rush Collection. Because many of the objects are industrial in nature, this program attracted several elderly men who were able to identify car and train parts and other unique artifacts.
  • Steady progress is being made to digitize the park's extensive collection of historical photographs and to make them available online for research and education purposes. An ongoing challenge is the lack of adequate resources for digitizing the historical photo collection, diaries and other documents from Stampeders, and other historical materials and to make them available online.

Visitor Experience

  • The Junior Ranger program and Education and Outreach Program have been significantly enhanced over the last few years, and are reaching more students and young people than ever before. Several activities are available, including an environmental education program designed for grades 3–5, Ranger-led excursions with local teenagers to hike the Chilkoot Trail, Junior Ranger activity center using iPads and interactive staff, and a First Bloom garden that involves local children in design and maintenance of a native plant garden in the heart of Skagway.
  • KLGO has steadily been improving and upgrading to a variety of new media to ensure visitor access. The website has been improved and expanded content has been added. Social media accounts have been created for Twitter and Facebook. Movies have recently been upgraded.
  • Interpretive staff developed a very successful living history drama program that is carried out on the NPS grounds.

Partnerships

  • Several established partnerships continue to enhance the park's ability to preserve and protect resources: Community volunteers monitor and control invasive weeds through participation in the annual Weed Pull hosted in partnership with the Municipality of Skagway Borough, the State of Alaska DOT, and the Taiya Inlet Watershed Council; the Municipality of Skagway Borough and the U.S. Geological Survey cooperatively operate the stream flow gauge on the Taiya River.
  • A Welcome sign at the entrance to the city of Skagway is being completed in partnership with the Municipality of Skagway Borough, the Skagway Traditional Council, and the NPS. This new sign will prominently display each agency's logo and allow photo opportunities for the hundreds of thousands of visitors who will see it each year.
  • KLGO interpretive staff works cooperatively with Cruise line partners to provide on-board presentations on two ships each week. These presentations target visitors who may or may not take the time to disembark and visit the community.
  • The park boasts an ongoing successful partnership with Parks Canada as part of the International Klondike Gold Rush Historical Park. Parks Canada is responsible for Chilkoot Trail hiking permits, and works cooperatively with the park staff in educating hikers for responsible hiking practices in bear country.
  • The park recently re-established the Artists in Parks program and has been collaborating with Parks Canada to ensure the successful implementation of this program.
  • The park is an active participant in Skagway community activities, including hosting a float in the 4th of July parade, open house during the Yuletide Christmas events, and volunteering for a variety of community activities supporting the school.
  • Avalanche safety study done in partnership with Parks Canada; included technical assistance to Parks Canada on establishment of weather stations.

Park Infrastructure

  • The park trails crew has made significant safety improvements to the Chilkoot trail by creating a more durable surface and repairing hazardous sections of the trail.
  • Several improvements to radio communications system have been completed. New improvements will allow better coverage for the park's least-developed White Pass unit and enhance safety for the park's employees working in the unit.
  • Upgrades to internet access and IT system, including voice-over communications have been implemented. The park has also been provided access to Denali NP dispatch center for emergency operations use.
  • Fire protection and safety equipment have been upgraded to meet NPS facilities standards.
  • The park is "greener" by purchasing several electric vehicles to use in the Skagway and Dyea area.
  • Historic building restoration combines the preservation of the historic integrity of the building exteriors while treating the interiors to meet modern fire and safety codes and to provide appropriate insulation levels to meet energy conservation needs.

Staffing

  • The park has assembled a staff of highly competent and motivated individuals who work together to advance the mission of the NPS and KLGO.
  • Recent changes to hiring authorities have allowed the park to attract local residents to jobs that might otherwise have gone to non-residents, thus ensuring continued community support for KLGO and its mission.

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Last Updated: April 07, 2014 Contact Webmaster