• Winter in the Wrangells

    Wrangell - St Elias

    National Park & Preserve Alaska

Subsistence

Chitina Fishheels in the Copper River
Popular subsistence activity during the summer, catching salmon using a fishwheel.
NPS Photo
 

A Way of Life
Many Alaskans live off the land, relying on fish, wildlife and other wild resources. Subsistence fishing and hunting provide a large share of the food consumed in rural Alaska. The state’s rural residents harvest about 22,000 tons of wild foods each year — an average of 375 pounds per person. Fish makes up about 60 percent of this harvest. Nowhere else in the United States is there such a heavy reliance upon wild foods.

Alaska Natives have used these resources for food, shelter, clothing, transportation, handicrafts and trade for thousands of years. Other residents living in rural Alaska depend on local harvests as reliable and economic food sources. For many, subsistence is more than just about economics. It is about who they are; it is a way of life.

The park along with Alaska Department of Fish and Game have recently surveyed local area residents to determine the harvest of subsistence resources. The findings include: Subsistence Harvests and Uses of Wild Resources in Chistochina, Alaska, 2009 and Subsistence Harvests and Uses of Wild Resources in Copper Center, Slana/Nabesna Road, Mentasta Lake and Mentasta Pass, Alaska 2012. For the complete reports.


ANILCA
When the U.S. Congress passed the Alaska National Interest Lands Conservation Act (ANILCA) in 1980, which established Wrangell-St. Elias National Park and Preserve along with many other conservation areas in Alaska, it recognized the important connection between local rural subsistence users and the land in allowing for a continued opportunity for a subsistence lifestyle by rural Alaska residents, both Native and non-Native.

As long as resources and their habitats are maintained in a natural and healthy state, traditional subsistence hunting and fishing are allowed in the park and preserve. Additionally, ANILCA provides that rural residents with knowledge of local conditions should have a role in the management of subsistence resources on public lands.

This section provides an overview of the subsistence program at Wrangell-St. Elias National Park & Preserve for the subsistence user and other interested persons. You will find information about who is eligible to hunt, trap, fish, and gather on park and preserve lands; the ways in which these lands may be accessed; and how regulations concerning subsistence are made or changed.

Did You Know?

Mt. Bona

Mount Bona, a 16,421’ peak in the St. Elias range, was named in 1897 by Italy’s Duke of the Abruzzi for his racing yacht, the Bona. The Duke, grandson of the first king of Italy, was the first person to climb towering 18,008’ Mount St. Elias, from which vantage point he could view Mt. Bona.