"Rehearsing the Future" - Scenario Planning in Alaska

SEAK Workshop Participants at Mendenhall Glacier.

Changing climatic conditions are rapidly impacting environmental, social, and economic conditions in and around National Park System units in Alaska. With over 50 million acres of parklands to administer, Alaska park managers need to better understand possible climate change trends in order to better manage arctic, subarctic, and coastal ecosystems and human uses of these areas.

This three-year project will help Alaska managers and communities develop a range of plausible climate change scenarios for parks and adjacent areas throughout Alaska. NPS personnel, together with their stakeholders, completed climate change scenario planning exercises and reports for the all NPS units in the Region, organized around each of the Inventory & Monitoring networks in Alaska.

During a series of webinars, workshops and climate change scenario exercises, managers develop plausible future narratives for parks based on a wide range of possible ecosystem and societal response to climate change. These various future climate scenarios will inform park managers with respect to environmental and social trends affecting park cultural and natural resources, visitation patterns, subsistence resources and uses, and facilities development and maintenance.

Project deliverables include climate change projections of temperature, precipitation, permafrost, ice, snow, etc. for park areas in Alaska at various future intervals and under variable greenhouse gas scenarios. These park narratives will inform management decisions in response to changes for natural and cultural resources, coastlines, water resources, visitation trends, changes in subsistence uses and patterns, and potential effects to park developments, including relocations/replacements.

Core Team members:
Nancy Fresco, Scenario Network for Alaska Planning, SNAP-UAF
Lena Krutikov, Scenario Network for Alaska Planning, SNAP-UAF
Robert Winfree, Regional Science Advisor, AKRO
Jeff Mow, Supt. Kenai Fjords National Park
Bud Rice, Environmental Protection Specialist, AKRO
Don Callaway, Senior Cultural Anthropologist (retired), AKRO
John Morris, Interpretive Program Manager, AKRO
Nancy Swanton, Subsistence Coordinator, AKRO
Don Weeks, Scenario Planning Coordinator, CCRP

Scenario Planning Workshops

A series of six workshops were held around Alaska, five of them focusing on specific regions. Additional information and reports from these sessions are posted at the following links:

Last Updated: September 22, 2014