Kennecott Mill Town Cultural Landscape Report
In June 1998, the National Park Service (NPS) acquired the land, mineral rights, and associated holdings of the Kennecott Copper Mines in south-central Alaska. Located in the center of Wrangell-St. Elias National Park and Preserve, the area is a designated National Historic Landmark (NHL) District, encompassing 7,700 acres of public and private lands. The 2,839 acres purchased by the NPS includes property and structures in the historic mill town, which was the center of operations between 1901-1938.
After the Kennecott Copper Corporation left the site in 1938, portions of the property were sold to private individuals. Over the years the NPS has provided technical assistance to local organizations and individuals interested in documenting and stabilizing historic structures in the town. With the purchase of Kennecott the NPS has become a partner in the management of Kennecott. Committed to working with the community and private landholders, the NPS is fulfilling agency policies and legal mandates to preserve resources and provide public access.
Prior to the 1998 purchase, the NPS completed several special studies and reports to assist in the clean up of hazardous materials and to assess the requirements for stabilizing historic structures. Although these reports were helpful in understanding individual resources in the mill town, there was no single document addressing the relationship among resources or the landscape as a whole. Without a complete and holistic understanding of Kennecott’s resources, management of the NHL would be fragmented. This Cultural Landscape Report (CLR) was undertaken to consolidate existing research and to document and evaluate significant landscape resources. Based on the resource evaluation, this CLR proposes treatment for stabilization, preservation, and use of the cultural landscape at Kennecott.
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Did You Know?
The Klutina River’s name is derived from the Ahtna native word, Khlu ti tna, meaning “glacial river”.