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Subsistence Hunting in Aniakchak National Monument & Preserve

Alaska Support Office
Joni Piercy
Midway down the wild and road-less Alaska Peninsula lies one of the Nation's most fascinating recent volcanic features. Aniakchak is a 6-mile-wide, 2,000-foot-deep caldera formed by the collapse of a 7,000-foot mountain. Aniakchak’s origins are uncertain but the caldera was probably formed by a nuee ardente explosion similar to the Katmai eruption of 1912. The circumference of the base of the volcano is approximately 100 miles. The Aniakchak River passes through the east wall at a point known as “The Gates,” where erosive action has helped form a narrow canyon between 2,000-foot cliffs.

In creating Aniakchak National Monument and Preserve, Congress recognized the unique geological significance of the caldera and also acknowledged the outstanding wildlife and recreational values of the Aniakchak River by designating it a wild river within the National Wild and Scenic Rivers System. The parkland’s boundaries also contain other important resources. West of the caldera lies the waterfowl and migratory bird habitat of Bristol Bay's coastal plain. To the east, rugged bays and inlets of the Pacific coast and offshore islands provide habitat for sea mammals and sea birds.

For thousands of years, Alaska Natives have relied on fish, wildlife, and other wild resources for food, shelter, clothing, transportation, handicrafts, and trade. Today, many rural Native and non-Native Alaskans continue to live off the land and waters depending on wild plants, fish, and animals as reliable and economic food sources. For many, the ability to continue these subsistence activities is also integrally tied to cultural preservation. Title VIII of the Alaska National Interest Lands Conservation Act (ANILCA) included provisions to ensure continued access to subsistence resources on Federal public lands and waters.

The Federal government has managed subsistence hunting and trapping on Federal public lands since July 1, 1990. On October 1, 1999, the Federal subsistence management program expanded to include subsistence fisheries on Alaskan rivers and lakes within and adjacent to Federal public lands.

The Federal Subsistence Management Program emphasizes cooperation and consensus-building with rural Alaskans and involves five Federal agencies – The National Park Service, the US Fish and Wildlife Service, the Bureau of Land Management, the Bureau of Indian Affairs, and the US Forest Service. A Federal Subsistence Board composed of the Alaska directors of the five agencies, along with a representative of the Secretary of the Interior, oversees the program with public input from park and monument Subsistence Resource Commissions and the Subsistence Regional Advisory Councils.

GIS has been producing Federal subsistence hunt maps for parks on an annual basis since 1999. This mapping effort began in Wrangell-St. Elias National Park and Preserve with species specific hunt maps. These maps required seasonal updates due to land status data changes as well as regulation changes. This series did not attempt to map hunting areas outside of the conservation unit.

This map of the Aniakchak National Monument and Preserve is a first for the Alaska Peninsula area. The Federal public lands – a long and tedious definition based on State of Alaska and Native Corporation (under ANCSA) land selections Conservation System Units– has been mapped so that a subsistence user can determine where he/she can and cannot fish, hunt and trap under Federal subsistence regulations. Using the NPS land status as well as the statewide generalized land status provided by the State of Alaska Department of Natural Resources, this was done through a series of simple queries. Combined with the 1:63,360 topographic quadrangles and digital elevation data, the user has the information they need displayed in a format they are familiar with.
April 08, 2004