Archeological, ethnographic, and historic research tell us that people first came to the Lake Clark region around the end of the last ice age. Dena'ina Athabascans, Yup'ik, Russian explorers, gold prospectors and trappers, and American pioneers are the forebears of today's residents.
The Dena'ina Athabascan People
Alaska Natives settled in this region some time after the close of the Last Great Ice Age -- 14,000 years ago. Dena'ina, Alutiiq, Yup'ik and other groups have interacted with one another over the centuries, through warfare as well as trading and peaceable exchanges. Today, six Resident Zone Communities are identified for Lake Clark National Park and Preserve.
Richard L. Proenneke
The source of Sam Keith's book, One Man's Wilderness: An Alaskan Odyssey, Richard Louis Proenneke (1916-2003) embodies humanity's fascination with wilderness. Born in Iowa, he worked as a farmhand and rancher before joining the Navy the day after the bombing of Pearl Harbor. In 1949, he made his first visit to Alaska at the invitation of a friend. Two decades later, Proenneke set off on a path toward a life defined by the struggles and triumphs of a life lived in wilderness. Read more about Dick Proenneke's wilderness experiences.
Can People Still Practice Traditional Subsistence?
Yes! The Alaska National Interest Lands Conservation Act (ANILCA), the enabling legislation for Lake Clark National Park and Preserve and other Alaska public lands, stipulates that local rural people may continue subsistence practices on federal lands, including the park and preserve. Learn more about subsistence use in Lake Clark National Park and Preserve