The mission of Wrangell-St. Elias National Park and Preserve is to:
preserve and protect ecological integrity and heritage resources of a vast ecosystem in south-central Alaska, while providing for public use in a wilderness setting.
Wrangell St. Elias, at 13.2 million acres, was specifically designated to encompass an area large enough to include a diverse range of scenery, high latitude biomes, and landscape level processes where man is considered an integral part of the ecosystem.
Ecosystem integrity and carefully planned public use is essential so there is opportunity for the continuation of subsistence lifestyles, future scientific investigations, interpretation of natural forces, and the inspiration and solitude of wilderness experience for present and future generations.
Compatible public uses and increased access, where appropriate, will be promoted to the extent that the quality of the experience and the natural and cultural resources are maintained.
The Department of the Interior
The Department of the Interior was created by Congress on March 3, 1849. As the Nation's principal conservation agency, the Department is responsible for most of our nationally owned public lands and natural resources. This includes fostering the wisest use of our land and water resources, protecting our fish and wildlife, preserving the environment and cultural values of our national parks and historical areas, and providing for the enjoyment of life through outdoor recreation. The Department assesses our energy and mineral resources and works to ensure that their development is in the best interest of all our people. The Department has a major responsibility for American Indian reservation communities and for people in the island territories under the administration of the United States.
The National Park Service
The growth of the National Park System has been tremendous since its establishment. Today, it includes 381 areas encompassing more than 79 million acres, and it serves over 358 million visitors annually. The National Park Service is responsible for administering an extensive system of national parks, monuments, historic sites, and recreation areas for the American people. Its major objective is to ensure that these lands are properly administered for the enjoyment and education of the people, to protect their natural environment, and to assist state and local governments and citizen groups in the development of park areas.
The National Park Service enjoys an interesting history
Yellowstone National Park was the first national park, authorized by Congress on March 1, 1872. (It remained the largest park in the National Park System until 1980, when the vast lands in Alaska were added to the system). In 1890, Congress authorized Sequoia, and Yosemite National Parks, followed by Mount Rainier, Crater Lake and others. By 1916, 16 national parks had been authorized, and the need for an agency to manage the parks was evident. The National Park Service was established by an Act of Congress on August 25, 1916, under the Department of the Interior to:
"Regulate the use of national parks and monuments to conserve the scenery and natural and historical objects and the wild life therein and to provide for the enjoyment of the same by such means as will leave them unimpaired for the enjoyment of the future generations."
This basic mandate is the foundation of all park activities. It has guided all National Park Service Activities and in 1978 the Redwoods Amendment further strengthened it by stating:
"The authorization of activities shall be construed, and the protection, management, and administration of these areas shall be conducted, in light of the high public value and integrity of the National Park System and purpose for which these various areas have been established, except as may have been or shall be directly and specifically provided by Congress."
The National Park Service develops and implements park management plans and it staffs the areas under its jurisdiction. Its interpretive programs relate the natural and cultural values and historical significance of these areas to the public through talks, tour films, exhibits, publications, and other media. Campgrounds and other visitor facilities are operated to provide lodging, food, and transportation services (usually through concessions) to the visiting public for recreational enjoyment.
For more effective management of the areas under its jurisdiction, the National Park Service is divided into 7 Regions, each of which is administered by a Regional Director. Each park area is usually managed by a Superintendent who reports directly to the Regional Directors Office. In addition, there are two service centers, one in Denver, Colorado, and one in Harpers Ferry, West Virginia, both of which are under Center Managers. The Denver Service Center produces planning documents for parks, designs park facilities, and oversees construction projects. The Harpers Ferry Center produces interpretive exhibits, audiovisual materials, and park visitor publications. The Regional Director's report to the Director of the National Park Service in Washington, D.C.