Kennecott Operations and Management Plan

Kennecott bunkhouse, hospital and National Creek
Kennecott bunkhouse, hospital and National Creek.

NPS/Mike Townsend

The Kennecott Operations and Management Plan (KOMP) is a guiding document with broad management goals and concepts that are long lasting and comprehensive. The KOMP is geographically focused in the Kennicott Subdivision and is derived from the 2013 Kennecott Operations Plan (KOP). Because so many actions from the 2013 KOP have been completed, are in the process of being completed, or need to be re-evaluated, a revision to the plan is needed to address current and future desired conditions. For more information on the 2013 KOP, refer to the sections below. The KOMP is in the process of being reviewed and commented upon.

There will be multiple opportunities for public input on the 2023 KOMP, both in person and online, throughout fall of 2023 and summer 2024 before the plan is finalized. To view the 2013 KOP, the draft KOMP, and to provide comment, visit the PEPC website: NPS Planning, Environment, and Public Comment Page (PEPC).


The Kennecott Mines National Historic Landmark (NHL) was designated in 1986. The National Park Service (NPS) acquired portions of the NHL in 1998. Various guiding documents and strategies, such as the 1999 Partnership Management Strategy, and the 2001 Cultural Landscape Report and 2001 Interim Operations Plan provided initial guidance for the area. The Kennecott Operations Plan (KOP), completed in 2013, revised the 2001 Interim Operations Plan. The KOP was written with multiple opportunities for public input, several workshops, and multiple public meetings. The purpose of the Kennecott Operations Plan is twofold:

  • Provide long term guidance and protocols for an NPS/community partnership

  • Provide long term goals, guidance and management strategy for NPS-owned portions of the Kennecott Mines NHL. This includes historic structure preservation and stabilization, interpretation, NPS Utilities and Infrastructure, access/transportation, and vegetation management.

For ten years the KOP has provided guidance and direction in the Kennecott area. However, conditions have changed and many items identified in the KOP have been completed, necessitating a review and revision of the plan, discussed below.


The KOP directs, “Once every five years, the park will initiate a review of the Kennecott Operations Plan (KOP), seeking full community input in advance of adopting any revisions to the current plan.” The KOP further directs that, “These reviews will focus on any discrepancies between the plan and its implementation." The review was originally initiated in 2018, with several internal work sessions and opportunities for public input. However, for various reasons, such as the Covid-19 pandemic and the breadth of the review (there are 64 action items identified), the review was delayed until its completion in 2023. In addition to mandating a review every five years, it is time to review the KOP as significant issues also requiring review has arisen since 2013, and many actions in the KOP have been completed or need to be reassessed considering the new issues that have arisen. Some significant issues also requiring review have arisen since the release of the 2013 KOP. For example, remnant mining contamination prompted the initiation of a Comprehensive Environmental Response, Compensation and Liability Act (CERCLA) investigation to evaluate additional cleanup of mining contaminants. This investigation is necessary before we can continue the next phases of restoration, and it will also inform the NPS’s evaluation of options to provide public drinking water.

The status of all action items identified in the Finding of No Significant Impact (FONSI), the decision document associated with the KOP, was updated through several rounds of staff review. For each action, we have indicated if it is complete, if it was not completed because we are moving in a new management direction, if the action is partially complete and still in progress, or if it has not been completed for another reason. Certain issues, such as parking, reach across specific actions and will likely require a larger, more focused planning effort in the future. In addition to actions not yet completed, we recognize the tremendous amount of effort that went into completing many of these actions or making substantial progress towards completion. The review was completed in a letter (link to document below) shared by Superintendent, Ben Bobowski and in a public meeting providing an overview of the review on June 9, 2023. The next section highlights some of the accomplishments stemming from the KOP.


Sixty-four action items were detailed in the KOP FONSI, ranging from discrete action items such as building stabilization to broader items such as ongoing community communications.Some of the main accomplishments include:

  • Stabilization objectives specified in the KOP have been achieved for many buildings including the hospital (although additional stabilization is under consideration), assay office, railroad depot, recreation hall, dairy barn, east bunkhouse, and National Creek bunkhouse.

    • Stabilization work is partially complete or ongoing for several other buildings including the company store, tram terminus, concentration mill, leaching plant, machine shop, power plant, transformer house, refrigerator plant, west bunkhouse, old schoolhouse, and certain Kennecott cottages.

  • ANILCA local hire authority (a program in which only people who have either lived or worked in or near particular public lands may apply) is in place and actively used.

  • Multiple buildings within the Kennecott Mines NHL are open to the public.

  • Implementation of the 2011 Interpretive Concept Plan has begun, specifically with exhibit installations in 2016.

  • Warning signage, a Contaminated Site Management Plan, and a Safety Plan to protect the public and employees from hazardous materials are developed.

  • Jumbo Mine/Root Glacier outhouse was installed.

  • Most septic tanks and leach fields have been installed.

  • Brochures and other educational materials have been produced in collaboration with the community.

  • The NPS has installed a hybrid solar and propane power generation system.

The full list of actions and their status is available in the Superintendent’s letter. (pdf format, 2.7MB)

Kennecott Mines NHL map
Kennecott Mines NHL map


National Historic Landmark Boundary:

Research during the KOP review resulted in an updated understanding regarding the legal boundary of the NHL. After extensive research, it has been determined that the NHL boundary currently depicted in most NPS records, as well as public-facing documents, is not correct. The actual legal boundary is smaller and consistent with the NHL designation in 1986. The NHL map above depicts the legacy boundary in a checkered red and black line, and the designated boundary, outlined in black. As this discrepancy was recently discovered, the NPS is still weighing options on the most appropriate action(s) moving forward. The public will be kept appraised of any future actions the NPS takes regarding the NHL boundary.

Community Involvement and Contact Info:

Wrangell-St. Elias National Park & Preserve Headquarters
Mile 106.8 Richardson Hwy Copper Center, AK 99573
Phone: 907-882-5234

Kennecott Visitor Center
Blackburn School, Kennecott, AK 99566
Phone: 907-205-7106

For any additional inquiries specific to Kennecott Management, please email at

Kennecott mill
Kennecott Concentration Mill behind the Machine Shop in the foreground.
NPS/Matthew Yarbrough

Last updated: September 19, 2023

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Contact Info

Mailing Address:

Wrangell-St. Elias National Park & Preserve
PO Box 439
Mile 106.8 Richardson Highway

Copper Center, AK 99573


907 822-5234

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