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Contact: Margie Steigerwald, 907-822-7251
Copper Center, AK - Wrangell-St. Elias National Park and Preserve Superintendent Ben Bobowski is initiating a series of public listening sessions to engage all resident zone communities and federally recognized tribal governments in discussions about management of wilderness, frontcountry and backcountry areas within the park. Stakeholders beyond the rural communities will be engaged in future meetings as well. Public meetings will begin this summer and continue until all surrounding communities have had a chance to meet with the superintendent and the planning team.
Below is a list of scheduled meeting locations for the summer of 2018:
3-7 pm on June 26th, 27th & 28th
Wrangell-St. Elias Visitor Center
3-7 pm on June 29th & 30th
Chitina Ranger Station
3-7 pm on July 11th & 12th
McCarthy & Kennecott
4-8 pm July 26th at Tony Zak Building
4-8 pm on July 27th at Kennecott Rec Hall
Additional communities where listening sessions will be held after the summer of 2018 include Anchorage, Cantwell, Chistochina, Cordova, Fairbanks, Gakona, Glennallen, Kenny Lake, Mentasta, Northway, Tazlina, Tok, Valdez, and Yakutat. A separate news release will announce the dates and times for those listening sessions.
In 2015, Wrangell-St. Elias National Park and Preserve started to plan for the management of the park’s backcountry and wilderness areas. Initial public engagement took place during the summers of 2015 and 2016, and also included consultation with Alaska Native Tribes and Corporations during the fall of 2017. Analysis of all input received highlighted that several topics need additional public engagement for the following reasons: 1) the need for more clarity around the issues and potential solutions; 2) the emergence of new issues, particularly in the frontcountry; and 3) the arrival of Superintendent Ben Bobowski, the third superintendent since the project’s inception in 2015.
The community listening sessions will be informal opportunities where the public can share their thoughts and ideas on issues and concerns regarding management at Wrangell-St. Elias in person with Superintendent Bobowski and staff. Attendees can offer their input through a variety of media ranging from comment cards, transcribed verbal comments, and other options. In addition to the open houses, the public can e-mail comments to WRST_planning@nps.gov or through the NPS planning website at http://parkplanning.nps.gov/WRSTListens.
For further information contact Morgan Gantz, Outdoor Recreation Planner, at 907-822-7213.