What is a Park and Preserve?

Wrangell St. Elias National Park
Wrangell-St. Elias National Park & Preserve

Preserve vs Park
ANILCA directed that preserves be administered “in the same manner as a national park…except that the taking of fish and wildlife for sport purposes and subsistence uses, and trapping shall be allowed.” Future access to Dall sheep for sport hunting and protection of certain visitor corridors from hunting were some of the controversial issues involved in drawing the boundaries between Park and Preserve.

A National Park is an area of unusual scenic or historic interest owned by the federal government and administered by the National Park Service, U.S. Department of the Interior, to conserve the scenery, the flora and fauna, and any natural and historical objects within its boundaries for public enjoyment in perpetuity. It has more than one type of national significance.

A National Preserve is similar to a National Park, but allows other human activities to occur, such as sport hunting.

In the case of Wrangell-St. Elias, ANILCA permitted maintaining and even constructing structures for protection of public health and safety; it also permitted motorized vehicle use (airplanes, snowmobiles, and ATVs) for subsistence, hunting, fishing, and access to in-holdings, activities normally prohibited in designated wilderness areas in the lower 48 states. Designated wilderness is normally limited to areas with minimal human improvements or habitation, and emphasizes natural conditions and processes, as well as opportunities for solitude or a primitive and unconfined type of recreation.

Last updated: April 14, 2015

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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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