"Gates of the Arctic National Park and Preserve Scenery" by U.S. National Park Service , public domain

Gates Of The Arctic

National Park & Preserve - Alaska

Gates of the Arctic National Park and Preserve is a U.S. National Park in Alaska. It is the northernmost national park in the U.S. (the entirety of the park lies north of the Arctic Circle) and the second largest at 8,472,506 acres (3,428,702 ha), slightly larger in area than Belgium. The park consists primarily of portions of the Brooks Range of mountains. A large part of the park is protected in the Gates of the Arctic Wilderness which covers 7,167,192 acres (2,900,460 ha). The wilderness area adjoins the Noatak Wilderness Area and together they form the largest contiguous wilderness in the United States.

maps

Official visitor map of Gates Of The Arctic National Park & Preserve (NP & PRES) in Alaska. Published by the National Park Service (NPS).Gates of the Arctic - Visitor Map

Official visitor map of Gates Of The Arctic National Park & Preserve (NP & PRES) in Alaska. Published by the National Park Service (NPS).

Official visitor map of Cape Krusenstern National Monument (NM) in Alaska. Published by the National Park Service (NPS).Cape Krusenstern - Visitor Map

Official visitor map of Cape Krusenstern National Monument (NM) in Alaska. Published by the National Park Service (NPS).

Map of Dalton Highway from Fairbanks to Coldfoot in Alaska. Published by the Bureau of Land Management (BLM).Dalton Highway - Fairbanks to Coldfoot

Map of Dalton Highway from Fairbanks to Coldfoot in Alaska. Published by the Bureau of Land Management (BLM).

Map of Dalton Highway from Coldfoot to Deadhorse in Alaska. Published by the Bureau of Land Management (BLM).Dalton Highway - Coldfoot to Deadhorse

Map of Dalton Highway from Coldfoot to Deadhorse in Alaska. Published by the Bureau of Land Management (BLM).

https://www.nps.gov/gaar/index.htm https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Gates_of_the_Arctic_National_Park_and_Preserve Gates of the Arctic National Park and Preserve is a U.S. National Park in Alaska. It is the northernmost national park in the U.S. (the entirety of the park lies north of the Arctic Circle) and the second largest at 8,472,506 acres (3,428,702 ha), slightly larger in area than Belgium. The park consists primarily of portions of the Brooks Range of mountains. A large part of the park is protected in the Gates of the Arctic Wilderness which covers 7,167,192 acres (2,900,460 ha). The wilderness area adjoins the Noatak Wilderness Area and together they form the largest contiguous wilderness in the United States. This vast landscape does not contain any roads or trails. Visitors discover intact ecosystems where people have lived with the land for thousands of years. Wild rivers meander through glacier-carved valleys, caribou migrate along age-old trails, endless summer light fades into aurora-lit night skies of winter. It remains virtually unchanged except by the forces of nature. Gates of the Arctic is a wilderness park, with no roads or trails into the park lands, so visitors must fly or hike into the park. Access begins in Fairbanks, Alaska & there are several small airlines that provide daily flights into the communities of Bettles, Anaktuvuk Pass, and Coldfoot. Most visitors access the park by air taxi or hike in from the Dalton Highway or from the village of Anaktuvuk Pass. River crossings are necessary from both locations. Anaktuvuk Pass Ranger Station The Anaktuvuk Pass Ranger Station is staffed during the summer season from April through September, typically Monday-Friday, 9-5:30. Here you can learn about the park, and gain advice on hiking routes in the area. Bear Resistant Food Containers are available to borrow as well. Outside display is open year-round. The Anaktuvuk Pass Ranger Station is located in the center of the village, on Main Street. Arctic Interagency Visitor Center Multi-agency visitor center located on the Dalton Highway in Coldfoot, Alaska West side of Dalton Highway, opposite of Coldfoot Camp Bettles Ranger Station and Visitor Center The Bettles Ranger Station is situated outside of the boundaries of Gates of the Arctic National Park & Preserve, in Bettles, Alaska. This small ranger station and visitor center has exhibits, park-related films, interpretive programs, and trip-planning tools. Across Airport Road from the Bettles airport Fairbanks Alaska Public Lands Information Center Explore world-class exhibits, watch a free informative movie, and receive assistance on your trip planning needs while at the Alaska Public Lands Information Center, located inside of the Morris Thompson Cultural & Visitors Center in Fairbanks, Alaska. Located in downtown Fairbanks, on the corner of Wendell and Dunkel Streets Alatna River Aerial view of the Alatna River as it winds through a valley Aerial view of the Alatna River as it winds through a valley Arrigetch Peaks Alpenglow on the granite cliffs of mountains A spring alpenglow brightens the granite walls of the Arrigetch Peaks Entering Oolah Valley A hiker crosses a stream with mountains in the background A hiker crosses a stream and enters Oolah Valley. Blueberries Handful of blueberries Pausing to pick blueberries can result in a handful of delicious snacks. Hikers crossing a mountain pass Two hikers climb up a mountain pass Hikers choose river valleys as corridors when hiking over mountain passes. Nellie Cashman Learn about Nellie Cashman: businesswoman, miner, prospector, philanthropist, voter. painting of a young woman Home, home on your range? Read the abstract and get the link to a paper published in the Journal of Wildlife Management about the overlap across four Arctic caribou herds: Prichard, A. K., L. S. Parrett, E. A. Lenart, J. R. Caikoski, K. Joly, and B. T. Person. 2020. Interchange and overlap among four adjacent Arctic caribou herds. Journal of Wildlife Management 1-15. Caribou in brushy northern forest. Permafrost Resource Brief for the Arctic Network Permafrost underlies most of the Arctic Network and affects nearly everything in the arctic ecosystem. Thawing permafrost also changes the local hydrology and creates the second-greatest disturbance to boreal forests, after wildfires. Recent warm and wet conditions caused some thaw of ice masses and surface subsidence in Arctic parks that ultimately led to a record number of drained of shallow lakes. This brief provides an update on permafrost monitoring in the Arctic Network Polygonal shaped tundra due to underlying permafrost Rachel Riley As one of the last remaining persons to have completed The Long Walk - a major and permanent move to the final destination of the previously nomadic Nunamiut people - Rachel Riley was a leading advocate for the continuing knowledge and practice of the traditional Nunamiut culture. Rachel's most prominent role was as an Inupiaq language teacher. Rachel Riley as a child in 1949, soon after completing The Long Walk as an eight-year-old girl. Arctic Cryosphere: snow, water, ice, and permafrost This article is a summary of findings from the Snow, Water, Ice, and Permafrost in the Arctic report by the Arctic Council Arctic Monitoring and Assessment Programme. A person dwarfed in the expansive snow-covered tundra of the Arctic. Snowshoe Hare Snowshoe hares live in the boreal forests of North America and are active year-round. They gain their curious name from their very large hind feet form a snowshoe, supporting their weight on the surface of the snow. Hares greatly influence the world around them, including the vegetation, predators, and other herbivores and omnivores that live in the same habitats. a white colored hare under a shrub in snow A Soil Survey from the Early 1990s Valuable in Today's Decisions A Soil Survey from the Early 1990s Valuable in Today's Decisions Abandoned Mine Lands in Alaska National Parks—An Overview From the thousands of mining claims that existed at when Congress created most national parks in Alaska, around 750 still remain. These are mainly abandoned sites and features, in various stages of disrepair and failure. Since 1981, the NPS has worked to quantify the number and type of hazards posed by these sites and has pursued a variety of solutions to mitigate the issues, such as visitor safety hazards, presented by relic mining features. dilapidated wood building in a mountainous setting Subsistence The study of subsistence resources in parks has been a mix of long-term work and projects instigated by issues facing the Federal Subsistence Board. Winter hunting is an important subsistence activity in many Alaska communities and park areas. Alaska Native Place Names in Arctic Parks Indigenous place names are rich ethnographic and historical resources. Many of them refer to activities that regularly took place at the site; others tell of historical events that occurred there. These names have been replaced by English names on modern maps; this article discusses efforts to document these names into the future. a group of people near a canvas tent, alongside a large river Red Fox Despite the name, red foxes come in a variety of colors. They're found throughout the United States and are not uncommon sightings in many national parks. two red foxes Science in Wilderness Marine Reserves ANILCA establishes the largest scientific laboratory...ever! A spawning salmon struggles to get back into the water. A Tribute: Dave Spirtes, 1948-2004 A tribute to a lost colleague and friend, Dave Spirtes. Dave Spirtes holds an award presented to him by Ron Arnberger, Alaska Regional Director (retired). 2016 Science Education Grant Recipients The Murie Science and Learning Center (MSLC) funds numerous outreach projects through the Science Education Grant program. These grants help MSLC partner parks pay for science education outreach projects. Funding for the Science Education grant program is provided by Alaska Geographic. Read about the 2016 Science Education Grant recipients and their outreach projects. a photographer takes a picture in the grass while the sun sets Prehistoric Obsidian Procurement and Transport in Gates of the Arctic National Park and Preserve Since the discovery of a prominent obsidian source near the Indian River, a tributary of the Koyukuk, numerous researchers have investigated obsidian use in prehistoric Alaska. Learn more about the studies from Gates of the Arctic National Park and Preserve that have illuminated evidence of an elaborate network of long distance trade and cultural interaction throughout prehistoric Alaska and beyond. close up of a piece of obsidian with the sunlight shining through it In Celebration of ANILCA Former President, Jimmy Carter, offers a sentimental introduction to the 25th Anniversary Edition of Alaska Park Science and the Alaska National Interest Lands Conservation Act (ANILCA). Black and white photo of six white men standing in front of an old National Park Service Building. A History of Science in Alaska's National Parks National park units in Alaska precede the establishment of the National Park Service in 1916. The first park unit, Sitka National Monument, was conceived in 1908, and by the mid-1920s four national monuments along with Alaska’s first national park were part of the growing park system. Discover how the early 1900s and observations of a few helped to establish the National Park Service in Alaska. Black and white photo of Arno Cammerer sitting at his desk looking through papers. Old is Getting Older In the last 25 years, persistent archaeological survey and improved scientific techniques have resulted in new data which confirms that Alaska sites are actually much earlier than we once believed. NPS archaeologist works at Amakomanak site in Noatak National Preserve. Tent Ring Archaeology in Gates of the Arctic National Park and Preserve This article explores what a tent ring is and what cultures of Alaskan people once created them. A big question asked in this article is "Are all the tent rings in Gates of the Arctic attributed to Nunamiut occupations?" Through a series of comparisons of different tent rings, the author eventually reaches an answer to the question and realizes the importance of archaeology in Gates of the Arctic. A tent ring. Download Alaska Park Science: Volume 16, Issue 1 Download a print-friendly copy of Volume 16, Issue 1 of Alaska Park Science. a group of muskox running across a field Arctic brown bears like salmon, too! Read the abstract and get the link to an article on the use of salmon streams by brown bears in the Arctic: Sorum, M. S., K. Joly, and M. D. Cameron. 2019. Use of salmon (Oncorhynchus spp.) by brown bears (Ursos arctos) in an Arctic, interior, montane environment. The Canadian Field-Naturalist 133(2):151-155. A bear stands in a river fishing with two cubs on the bank. NPS Geodiversity Atlas—Gates Of The Arctic National Park, Alaska Each park-specific page in the NPS Geodiversity Atlas provides basic information on the significant geologic features and processes occurring in the park. [Site Under Development] lone hiker in large valley Lichens as Indicators Read the abstract and link to an article on Arctic lichens published in The Bryologist: Nelson P. R., B. McCune, and D. K. Swanson. 2015. Lichen traits and species as indicators of vegetation and environment. The Bryologist 118(3):252-263. A tiny community of Arctic lichens, including the "pixie cup" Cladonia species. Fire Communication and Education Grants Enhance Fire Interpretation and Outreach in the National Parks in 2015 and Beyond The 2015 National Park Service Fire Communication and Education Grant Program provided funding for projects, programs, or tasks in twelve parks around the country. A woman studies a small coniferous tree while a younger woman looks on. Land Ownership in National Park System Units in Alaska and Possibilities for Mining and Other Developments There are over 54 million acres of National Park System units in Alaska, which is 65 percent of the entire National Park System. Although most of those lands are in federal ownership and are managed by the NPS, there are over two million acres of non-federally owned lands within those units. These non-federal lands are in private, state, borough, or municipal ownership. The existence of these lands creates the possibility of mining and other developments within the boundaries rustic buildings near a creek, hills and mountains in the distance Studying Arctic Marine Mammals in the Shipping Age Pod of narwhals, one of the few mammals endemic to the Arctic Ocean. Photo used by permission from Kristin Laidre A pod of narwhals surfaces in the Arctic. Fire Ecology Annual Report 2018 Fire Season Despite the relatively quiet fire season in Alaska in 2018, the National Park Service saw 24 wildfires spanning over 36,000 acres burning within and adjacent to park boundaries. Six of those fires were in Cape Krusenstern National Monument. An anvil-shaped smoke plume rises above the tree line on the Yukon River. Building PIO capacity in Alaska National Park Service Public Information Officers were in short supply last fire season. To help bolster the numbers, NPS Alaska recruits 12 new staff members to assist with all hazard and wildfire incidents. A fire public information officer highlights updates on a fire to members of the public. Aurora Borealis: A Brief Overview A brief overview of how Northern Lights occur. two ribbons of greenish light in a dark blue sky, over a very dark forest Hunting and Subsistence Use of Dall Sheep Learn about the two ways humans harvest sheep - for subsistence use and in sport hunting. a male sheep Alaska's Northern Parks: The Wonder of the Arctic The Arctic is a region characterized by extremes and adaptation. It is rich in natural and cultural history. The articles in this edition of Alaska Park Science highlight the many facets of life in the Arctic. stone outcrop in the Arctic tundra Small Mammals as Indicators of Climate, Biodiversity, and Ecosystem Change This is a time of rapid environmental changes in Alaska. Species that have evolved within tundra habitats over multiple glacial cycles are not only best adapted to high-latitude and high-elevation environments, but may also respond more slowly to change. Studies of small mammal communities could provide valuable insights to larger ecosystem changes. two marmots perched atop a large boulder Declining Sheep Populations in Alaska’s Arctic Parks Dall’s sheep are an important subsistence species for local residents, particularly when caribou are scarce, and they are highly valued by sport hunters and wildlife enthusiasts. Their populations may be at an all-time low, however, in Noatak National Preserve and Gates of the Arctic National Park and Preserve due to weather conditions and other factors. a woman kneeling in snow, collecting sheep shit 2013 Microgrant Recipients The Murie Science and Learning Center (MSLC) funds numerous outreach projects through the Microgrant program. These grants help MSLC partner parks pay for science education outreach projects. Funding for the Microgrant program is provided by Alaska Geographic. Read about the 2013 Microgrant recipients and their outreach projects. A Ranger stands with two junior rangers 2014 Microgrant Recipients The Murie Science and Learning Center (MSLC) funds numerous outreach projects through the Microgrant program. These grants help MSLC partner parks pay for science education outreach projects. Funding for the Microgrant program is provided by Alaska Geographic. Read about the 2014 Microgrant recipients and their outreach projects. Two students kneel in grassy field taking notes while looking at pink flagged marked locations Wolverines Wolverine. The name alone stirs up visions of northern wilderness. Wolverines belong to the mustelidae family along with weasels, mink, marten, and otters. The family mustelidae makes up most of the order Carnivora (carnivores). a wolverine on a snow-covered river digging at something partially buried 2019 Science Education Grants The Murie Science and Learning Center (MSLC) funds numerous outreach projects through the Science Education Grant program. These grants help MSLC partner parks pay for science education outreach projects. Funding for the Science Education grant program is provided by Alaska Geographic. Read about the 2019 Science Education Grant recipients and their outreach projects. a park ranger and kids standing in shallow lake water Snowshoe hare use of mineral licks Read the abstract and link to the recently published article in Ecology on hare geophagy: Kielland, K., D. DiFolco, and C. Montgomerie. 2018. Dining dangerously: Geophagy by snowshoe hares. Ecology DOI:10.1002/ecy.2555 A hare eats mineral soil. North for Science! Learns About Fire Ecology in Alaska This summer's North for Science! Program included a lesson in wildland fire ecology in Alaska. The funding for the fire ecology portion was made possible by the National Park Service Fire Communication and Education Grant Program. Students were provided an incredible opportunity to learn about the role of wildland fire in boreal and arctic ecosystems. A group of eight students sit atop the Arctic Interagency Visitor Center's welcome sign. Caribou: Did You Know? Did you know facts and life history about the Western Arctic Caribou Herd of northwest Alaska Bull caribou in the Brooks Range mountains of Alaska Fire in the Range of Western Arctic Caribou Herd Wildland fire may have a significant impact on lichen-dependent caribou within the tundra ecosystem. A caribou carrying heavy antlers walks slowly though green tundra on a hazy, grey day. Jeff Rasic - Archaeologist Jeff Rasic, an archaeologist by training, is a program manager for natural and cultural resources at Gates of the Arctic National Park and Preserve and Yukon-Charley Rivers National Preserve in Alaska. Jeff Rasic 2018 Science Education Grants The Murie Science and Learning Center (MSLC) funds numerous outreach projects through the Science Education Grant program. These grants help MSLC partner parks pay for science education outreach projects. Funding for the Science Education grant program is provided by Alaska Geographic. Read about the 2018 Science Education Grant recipients and their outreach projects. an instructor and a camper work on a carving The Fate of Permafrost At present, permafrost is continuous in Arctic parks and discontinuous in Denali and Wrangell St.-Elias national parks and preserves. We expect the distribution of permafrost will still be continuous in Arctic parks by the 2050s; however, it is very likely that the distribution of permafrost in Denali and Wrangell-St. Elias will become sporadic by then. a person standing next to an eroded hillside Artists Spotlight Alaskan Wilderness Voices of the Wilderness Traveling Art Exhibit is a collection of paintings, photographs, sculptures, poetry, and other works inspired by Alaska’s wilderness. quilt of two white birch trees Caribou: Nomads of the North Caribou are an iconic Arctic species that are highly adaptable both physiologically and behaviorally. Yet, caribou populations face many challenges, such as climate change and industrial development, and are in decline in many portions of their range. two bull caribou swimming through a river 2015 Microgrant Recipients The Murie Science and Learning Center (MSLC) funds numerous outreach projects through the Microgrant program. These grants help MSLC partner parks pay for science education outreach projects. Funding for the Microgrant program is provided by Alaska Geographic. Read about the 2015 Microgrant recipients and their outreach projects. Students kneel in a wetland and examine a net Jillian Richie - Archaeologist Jillian Richie is an archaeologist for Gates of the Arctic National Park and Preserve and Yukon-Charley Rivers National Preserve, Alaska. Jillian in the field, preparing an archaeological field site. Amy Larsen - Aquatic Ecologist/Pilot Amy Larsen is an aquatic ecologist and pilot for Gates of the Arctic National Park and Preserve and Yukon-Charley Rivers National Preserve in Alaska. Amy Larsen collecting field data on shallow lakes. Caribou Migration Linked to Climate Cycles and Insect Pests Read the abstract and get the link to an article published in Ecosphere on climate and insect drivers for caribou migration: : Gurarie, E., M. Hebblewhite, K. Joly, A. P. Kelly, J. Adamczewski, S. C. Davidson, T. Davison, A. Gunn, M. J. Suitor, W. F. Fagan, and N. Boelman. 2019. Tactical departures and strategic arrivals: Divergent effects of climate and weather on caribou spring migrations. Ecosphere 10(12):e02971. 10.1002/ecs2.2971 Caribou migrate across snow-covered tundra. Larger Brown Bear Sows are More Successful in Rearing Cubs Read the abstract and get the link to a new article looking at Alaska brown bear cub recruitment across four populations: Hilderbrand, G. V., D. D. Gustine, K. Joly, B. Mangipane, W. Leacock, M. D. Cameron, M. S. Sorum, L. S. Mangipane, and J. A. Erlenbach. 2019. Influence of maternal body size, condition, and age on recruitment of four brown bear populations. Ursus 29(2): 111-118. A brown bear sow and four cubs. Brown Bear Den Sites Read the abstract and get the link to a new article on bear den site characteristics in the Brooks Range: Sorum, M. S., K. Joly, A. G. Wells, M. D. Cameron, G. V. Hilderbrand, and D. D. Gustine. 2019. Den-site characteristics and selection by brown bears (Ursus arctos) in the central Brooks Range of Alaska. Ecosphere 10(8): e02822. 10.1002/ecs2.2822 A close up of bear paws and claws. Donna DiFolco - Biological Technician Donna DiFolco is a biological technician for Gates of the Arctic National Park and Preserve and Yukon-Charley Rivers National Preserve, Alaska. Donna releasing a hare during field work. Caribou Resource Brief for the Arctic Network The Western Arctic Caribou Herd is one of the most critical subsistence resources in northwest Alaska. Monitoring the herd helps develop subsistence and sport hunting regulations that conserve the resource, protect critical habitat, and reduce conflicts among user groups. Since 2009, over 300 GPS collars have been deployed on caribou that have collected over 800,000 caribou locations. Caribou swim across the Kobuk River at Onion Portage in Kobuk Valley National Park Collared Pika Collared pikas are small mammals within the same order as rabbits and hares, and they resemble small rabbits with very short ears and small limbs. Adapted to thrive at high elevations in Alaska, their habitat is at risk -- climate change may drastically change the fragile environment in which they live. tiny gray rabbit-like creature sitting on a rock Arctic Ground Squirrel The largest of the North American ground squirrels, arctic ground squirrels are burrowing rodents that resemble prairie dogs, with small ears, a flat tail, and a white-spotted back. They are very common throughout much of Denali and live mainly in the alpine tundra. two ground squirrels Dall Sheep Dall sheep are unmistakable, looking like pure-white bighorn sheep. Like bighorn sheep, they have large, curled horns, but Dall sheep horns are longer and skinnier than their southern counterparts. They inhabit mountain ranges in Alaska and Canada and are often visible from quite far away. Close up of sheep face and horns The Surprising Diets of Brooks Range Brown Bears Read the abstract and get the link to a paper on brown bear diets in the interior Arctic of the Brooks Range: Mangipane, L. S., D. J. R. Lafferty, K. Joly, M. S. Sorum, M. D. Cameron, J. L. Belant, G. V. Hilderbrand, and D. D. Gustine. 2020. Dietary plasticity and the importance of salmon to brown bear (Ursus arctos) body size and condition in a low Arctic ecosystem. Polar Biology. A bear fishes a small stream. Salmon Sleuths: GPS-collared Bears Lead Researchers to Unknown Salmon Streams in Interior Alaska Movement data from GPS-collared bears provides valuable information to improve conservation efforts not only for bears, but also for salmon. This study describes the discovery of an unexpected relationship between bears and salmon in the Arctic Interior and the out-sized role salmon have on diet and movement patterns of grizzly bears living in a nutrient-limited system. Alaska Park Science 19(1):2020 A bear sow and 2 cubs fishing in an Arctic stream. Fish Inventories of the Upper Kobuk and Koyukuk River Basins Fish inventories in the Brooks Range added hundreds of new miles to the Anadromous Waters Catalog, improving overall knowledge of fish species assemblage, distribution, and abundance in the region. This information will help guide management actions on the proposed Ambler Road and future studies of aquatic resources. Alaska Park Science 19(1):2020 A helicopter landed on a small stream bank. Fall 2019 Weather Summary for Arctic Parks What was the weather like in Arctic Parks in 2019? Check out this weather summary for Fall 2019 for Bering Land Bridge NP, Gates of the Arctic NPP, and Western Arctic Parklands. Climate scientists repair climate station. Mountains in the backdrop. Hoary Marmot Hoary marmots are large rodents that live mainly in alpine areas. Their loud, clear warning calls are a common sound in mountainous regions. closeup of a marmot baby Magnetic Detection of Archaeological Hearths in Alaska Read the abstract and link to a recent article on archaeological research using magnetic detection of hearths: Urban, Thomas M., Jeffrey T. Rasic, Claire Alix, Douglas D. Anderson, Linda Chisholm, Robert W. Jacob, Sturt W. Manning, Owen K.Mason, Andrew H. Tremayne, Dale Vinson (2019). Magnetic detection of archaeological hearths in Alaska: A tool for investigating the full span of human presence at the gateway to North America. Quaternary Science Reviews 211: 73-92. An archaeologist searches for hearths using a magetometer Arctic Perennial Snowfields are Shrinking Read the abstract and get the link to an article on changes in perennial snowfields in the Brooks Range. Tedesche, M. E., E. D. Trochim, S. R. Fassnacht, and G. J. Wolken. 2019. Extent Changes in the Perennial Snowfields of Gates of the Arctic National Park and Preserve, Alaska. Hydrology 6, 53. A researcher records measurements on a snowfield high in the Brooks Range. Moose: Did You Know? Did You Know factoids about moose in Interior Alaska National Parks Bull moose bedded in vegetation Refining the Analysis of Hair Samples Read the abstract and get the link to a published paper on how bear hair is used to determine diet and how the method of using hair to determine diet is refined to detect seasonal variation. Rogers, M. C., G. V. Hilderbrand, D. D. Gustine, K. Joly, W. B. Lealock, B. A. Mangipane, and J. M. Welker. 2020. Splitting hairs: Dietary niche breadth modelling using stable isotope analysis of a sequentially grown tissue. Isotopes in Environmental and Health Studies. A close look at bear fur. Predicting Seasonal Distributions and Migratory Routes of Western Arctic Herd Caribou Read the abstract and get the link for an article on caribou migration patterns published in Movement Ecology: Baltensperger, A. P., and K. Joly. 2019. Using seasonal landscape models to predict space use and migratory patterns of an arctic ungulate. Movement Ecology 7 (18). DOI: 10.1186/s40462-019-0162-8. The western arctic caribou herd along the Kobuk River. Weather Impacts on Dall's Sheep Read the abstract and link to a recent paper in Ecosphere on Dall's sheep population impacts from weather events: Rattenbury, K. L., J. H. Schmidt, D. K. Swanson, B. L. Borg, B. A. Mangipane, and P. J. Sousanes. 2018. Delayed spring onset drives declines in abundance and recruitment in a mountain ungulate. Ecosphere 9(11):e02513. 10.1002/ecs2.2513 Dalls sheep lambs and ewes on a rock cliff. Permafrost Landforms as Indicators of Climate Change in Parks Across the Arctic Permafrost, ground so cold that it stays frozen for multiple years, develops certain landforms when it thaws, and thereby provides a way for scientists to recognize and monitor our changing climate. treeless hillside partially collapsed into a river at its base Research Fellowship Recipients (2015) Learn about 2015 Research Fellowship recipients a man sitting in a forest Research Fellowship Recipients: 2008 Learn about 2008 fellowship recipients Research Fellowship Recipients: 2009 Learn about 2009 research fellowship recipients The Social Structure of Dall Sheep Dall sheep employ a sophisticated social structure. A ewe and two lambs stand on a rocky cliff Monitoring Dall Sheep Discovery how and why scientists monitor Dall sheep in national parks throughout Alaska. A group of three dall sheep walk down a dirt road Dall Sheep and Climate Change How might climate change impact the world's northernmost wild sheep population? ewe and lamb on a rocky outcropping Birds of the Arctic Simon Paneak, a Nunamiut hunter, spent most of his adult life living in Anaktuvuk Pass in the Brooks Range. Simon was a fountain of traditional ecological knowledge, as were other adults within his community. However, Simon spoke, read, and wrote English, which facilitated his long collegial relationships with a variety of researchers interested in Arctic cultural and biological ecosystems. landscape of spruce forests and mountains Landbirds Resource Brief for the Arctic Network Approximately 147 resident and migratory bird species are expected to occur in the five National Parks of the Arctic Network. Among the songbirds breeding above treeline, White-crowned Sparrow, American Tree Sparrow, Savannah Sparrow, and Wilson’s Warbler are ubiquitous and abundant. This resource brief summarizes long-term monitoring of landbirds in the Arctic Network. A Bluethroat perched in a willow in the golden light of the Arctic. What Future for the Wildness of Wilderness in the Anthropocene? Visionary as it was, the Wilderness Act did not anticipate today’s human-driven, global-scale changes. The idea of preserving wild lands challenges us with the irony that such places, untouched by humans, will only continue through our will to keep them that way. A resolute human purpose is needed to maintain the decision to have areas that are free of human purpose. aerial view of wolves moving single-file through a snowy forest Using Ethics Arguments to Preserve Naturalness: A Case Study of Wildlife Harvest Practices on NPS Lands in Alaska The NPS responsibility to maintain natural wildlife populations is inherently challenging. For example, many animals migrate out of parks either seasonally or long-term. Typically, we collect and analyze data, and then publish our work. However, the answer rarely, if ever, lies solely in the data. Often the question is not even one of biology, but one of values. In these cases, nonscientific tools such as rigorous and transparent argument analyses are appropriate. bear eating a fish in shallow water The Economic and Cultural Benefits of Northwest Alaska Wilderness Northwest Alaska, from Kotzebue Sound to the headwaters of the Kobuk River, is approximately the size of Indiana. It is mostly roadless wild lands, dotted by eleven villages that are located on the coast or major rivers. The formal designation of wilderness areas in northwest Alaska contributes to sustaining an ecosystem that is predicated on an expansive area of natural habitat that is not fragmented by human development. four caribou swimming in neck-deep water Research Fellowship Recipients: 2012 Learn about 2012 Research Fellowship recipients woman in a red shirt and white hat Research Fellowship Recipients | 2014 Learn about 2014 Research Fellowship recipients. woman kneeling in water Monitoring Dall Sheep in Alaska's Arctic Parklands In an area the size of New Jersey, scientists study Dall's sheep. They are one of 28 vital signs monitored by the Arctic Network Inventory and Monitoring Program (ARCN I&M) because of their importance to the public and in assessing the overall health of the regional ecosystem. group of white colored sheep on a mountainside Alaska brown bears exposure to bacterial, viral, and parasitic pathogens Read the abstract and get the link to a new article on pathogens found in Alaska brown bears published in the Journal of Wildlife Disease: Ramey, A. M., C. A. Cleveland, G. V. Hilderbrand, K. Joly, D. D. Gustine, B. Mangipane, W. B. Leacock, A. P. Crupi, D. E. Hill, J. P. Dubey, and M. J. Yabsley. In press. Exposure of Alaska brown bears (Ursus arctos) to bacterial, viral, and parasitic agents varies spatiotemporally and may be influenced by age. A bear perched on a rock outcrop National Park Getaway: Gates of the Arctic National Park & Preserve North of the Arctic Circle lies a wild land barely changed from time immemorial, a park whose name invites adventure and exploration—Gates of the Arctic National Park and Preserve. Even amidst the grand landscapes of Alaska, the 8-million acre Gates of the Arctic remains a treasured destination for wilderness exploration. Is the Arctic too hot for moose? Read the abstract and get the link to a science article on how moose in the Arctic are impacted by climate change: Jennewein, J. S., M. Hebblewhite, P. Mahoney, S. Gilbert, A. J. H. Meddens, N. T. Boelman, K. Joly, K. Jones, K. A. Kellie, S. Brainerd, L. A. Vierling, and J. U. H. Eitel. 2020. Behavioral modifications by a large, northern herbivore to mitigate warming conditions. Movement Ecology 8(39). A moose gets some shade under spruce trees. Alaska Aviation Safety In Alaska, small planes are often the best way to get around but flying has its risks. Aviation safety requires more than just a pilot’s skill–it takes all of us. Learn more about aviation to increase the safety of your next park flight. An NPS pilot in a plane cockpit flying over a turquoise lake Matthew Cameron - Wildlife Biologist Matthew Cameron is a wildlife biologist at Gates of the Arctic National Park and Preserve and Yukon-Charley Rivers National Preserve. Matt Cameron portrait. Perennial Snowfields of the Central Brooks Range: Valuable Park Resources The nature of change in perennial snowfields in the central Brooks Range is one of rapid decline, and these changes are of increased significance to the high alpine hydrology and ecology of Gates of the Arctic. Results of research will help archaeologists continue to target field survey areas, as well as address the impacts that these changes are having on park natural resources. a large patch of snow near the top of a rocky mountain Lichens of the Arctic Because certain lichen species are both abundant and sensitive to changes in the environment, they can serve as useful indicators of ecosystem health. When exposed to even low levels of certain pollutants, particularly sensitive species will decline or die, making lichen community composition a good indicator. closeup of green colored lichen Adam Freeburg - Archaeologist Adam Freeburg is an archaeologist for Gates of the Arctic National Park and Preserve and Yukon-Charley Rivers National Preserve. An archaeologist hikes a ridgeline to a survey site in the Yukon-Tanana uplands. Kyle Joly - Wildlife Biologist Kyle Joly is a wildlife biologist in Alaska. He works with the Arctic Inventory and Monitoring Network, Gates of the Arctic National Park and Preserve, and Yukon-Charley Rivers National Preserve. Wildlife biologist Kyle Joly with a young caribou. Mathew Sorum - Wildlife Biologist Mathew Sorum is a wildlife biologist for Gates of the Arctic National Park and Preserve and Yukon-Charley Rivers National Preserve. Mat rows a raft across an Arctic lake. The 19th Amendment, Elizabeth Peratrovich, and the Ongoing Fight for Equal Rights In Alaska, women's suffrage passed in 1913—seven years prior to the 19th Amendment—and antidiscrimination legislation passed nearly 20 years prior to the major national civil rights bills of the 1960s. In the 1940s, Elizabeth Peratrovich—a Tlingit woman who was Grand President of the Alaska Native Sisterhood—led the charge to end discrimination against Alaska Natives. gold coin of a raven, a woman's face, and words elizabeth peratrovich anti-discrimination law Series: Alaska Park Science - Volume 16 Issue: Science in Alaska's Arctic Parks The National Park Service manages five parks that fall partially or entirely within the Arctic tundra biome. These five parks encompass 19.3 million acres of land and constitute approximately 25% of the land area managed by the National Park Service nationwide. These are undeveloped places, with free-flowing rivers and wilderness at a massive scale. a group of muskox running across a field Series: Dall Sheep in Alaska's National Parks Discover the importance of Dall Sheep in Alaska's National Parks Two sheep rest on a snowy mountain Series: Alaska Park Science - Volume 12 Issue 2: Climate Change in Alaska's National Parks In this issue: * Status and Trends of Alaska National Park Glaciers * Tracking Glacial Landscapes: High School Science Gets Real * Climate Change Scenario Planning Lessons from Alaska a hillside overlooking a wide valley filled by a glacier, surrounded by steep mountains Series: Alaska Park Science - Volume 13 Issue 2: Mineral and Energy Development There’s no denying that energy and mineral extraction have been and will continue to be important across the North for a long time. Mining and energy-related industries provide direct and indirect employment for thousands of people, taxes and other revenues. Our need is for science, engineering, and scholarly research; to develop safe, effective, and affordable technologies; to protect, preserve, and restore the natural and human environment; and to record and communicate our history. aerial view of buildings and a pier sticking out into the ocean Series: Alaska Park Science - Volume 13 Issue 1: Wilderness in Alaska This issue includes: * Economics of Wilderness * Using Ethics Arguments to Preserve Naturalness * Busing Through the Wilderness: "Near-Wilderness" Experiences in Denali ... and more! mountains reflecting into a calm lake, the words 'alaska park science' Series: The Legacy of ANILCA The Alaska National Interest Lands Conservation Act impacts the National Park Service in many ways. ANILCA stipulates the designation of wilderness, subsistence management, transportation in and across parklands, use of cabins, mining, archaeological sites, scientific research studies and more. Two men drag a harvest seal from icy blue waters across frozen ice. Series: Geologic Time Periods in the Paleozoic Era During the Paleozoic Era (541 to 252 million years ago), fish diversified and marine organisms were very abundant. In North America, the Paleozoic is characterized by multiple advances and retreats of shallow seas and repeated continental collisions that formed the Appalachian Mountains. Common Paleozoic fossils include trilobites and cephalopods such as squid, as well as insects and ferns. The greatest mass extinction in Earth's history ended this era. fossil corals in a rock matrix Series: Copper River Basin Symposium - Wrangell-St Elias National Park and Preserve February 2020: With a theme of Tradition, Science, and Stewardship, the two-day symposium included keynote speakers, 26 short presentations, and a poster session. A panel discussion delved into opportunities in working with indigenous communities. Ahtna elders provided wisdom in daily welcomes, and there was a presentation by Copper River Stewardship Youth. Topics ranged widely from fisheries to archaeology to geology. As well as sharing knowledge, participants shared meals, stories, and ideas. Copper River Basin Symposium logo by Lindsay and Elvie Series: National Park Service Geodiversity Atlas The servicewide Geodiversity Atlas provides information on <a href="https://www.nps.gov/subjects/geology/geoheritage-conservation.htm">geoheritage</a> and <a href="https://www.nps.gov/subjects/geology/geodiversity.htm">geodiversity</a> resources and values all across the National Park System to support science-based management and education. The <a href="https://www.nps.gov/orgs/1088/index.htm">NPS Geologic Resources Division</a> and many parks work with National and International <a href="https://www.nps.gov/subjects/geology/park-geology.htm">geoconservation</a> communities to ensure that NPS abiotic resources are managed using the highest standards and best practices available. park scene mountains Series: Alaska Park Science - Volume 19, Issue 1 - Below the Surface: Fish and Our Changing Underwater World Alaska has over three million lakes, 12,000 rivers, and an estimated 6,640 miles of ocean coastline. Below the surface swim some of the world’s most abundant, healthy, all-wild fish, including salmon, halibut, and eulachon. Fish sustained Alaska Natives for millennia and continue to represent food and economic security for many people. Alaska Park Science 19(1): 2020 Red-colored salmon swim in turquoise water. Series: Alaska Park Science - Volume 14 Issue 2: Birds of Alaska's National Parks This issue includes articles exploring birds throughout national parks in Alaska. Particular emphasis is on the changing ways to study birds, and the increasing importance not just on the summer homes of birds in Alaska, but the routes between their wintering and summer breeding grounds. a great horned own and two large owlets in a nest Series: Alaska Park Science - Volume 9 Issue 1: Monitoring the "Vital Signs" of Healthy Park Ecosystems This issue explores the "vital signs" of parks. The National Park Service's Inventory and Monitoring (I&M) Network studies broad ecological trends throughout parks, and uses those trends, or vital signs, to gauge the health of a park's ecosystem. man standing in a shallow creek Series: Alaska Park Science- Volume 8 Issue 1: Connections to Natural and Cultural Resource Studies in Alaska's National Parks This issue of Alaska Park Science explores natural and cultural studies in Alaska's National Parks. Theses studies cover a variety of topics including wildlife management, archaeology, permafrost, sustainable energy, and interviews with two researchers from the Cooperative Park Studies Unit. Aurora over Klondike Gold Rush National Historical Park and Skagway, Alaska. Brown bear population size and harvest in Northwest Alaska Read a summary and get the link to a paper published in the Journal of Wildlife Management on brown bear population trends in northwest Alaska: Schmidt, J. H., H. L. Robison, L. S. Parrett, T. S. Gorn, and B. S. Shults. 2021. Brown bear density and estimated harvest rates in northwestern Alaska. The Journal of Wildlife Management 85(2): 202-214. Aerial view of brown bears crossing a snow field in the Brooks Range. Mississippian Period—358.9 to 323.2 MYA The extensive caves of Mammoth Cave and Wind Cave national parks developed in limestone deposited during the Mississippian. Warm, shallow seas covered much of North America, which was close to the equator. fossil crinoid Devonian Period—419.2 to 358.9 MYA The Devonian is part of the “Age of Fishes.” Fish fossils from Death Valley National Park shed light on the early evolution of fish in North America. Tilted Devonian rocks in Chesapeake & Ohio Canal National Historical Park attest to continued Appalachian Mountain formation. fossil brachiopod Paleozoic Era During the Paleozoic Era (541 to 252 million years ago), fish diversified and marine organisms were very abundant. In North America, the Paleozoic is characterized by multiple advances and retreats of shallow seas and repeated continental collisions that formed the Appalachian Mountains. Common Paleozoic fossils include trilobites and cephalopods such as squid, as well as insects and ferns. The greatest mass extinction in Earth's history ended this era. fossil corals in a rock matrix Fire Extent and Frequency Resource Brief for the Arctic Network Fire affects all 5 parks within the Arctic Network. The first fires in the network were officially recorded in 1956, although the history of fire in these parks, based on charcoal records dates back to at least 6,000 years ago. Since 1956, 574 fires have occurred in Arctic Network parks, burning nearly 1.1 million acres, an area almost twice the size of Cape Krusenstern National Monument. The vast majority of these fires (97%) were started by lightning. Fire ecologist measures depth of soil consumption in tussocks 1 year after a recent fire in Noatak. Fire in Ecosystems: Boreal Forest The boreal forest, also called taiga, is the largest forested habitat in the world, making up one third of the earth’s total forested area. In North America, the boreal forest spreads from Alaska, across Canada, and into the Great Lakes region of the United States. Boreal forests have burned naturally for thousands of years creating a variety of landscapes, or mosaic, with young and old trees living on the landscape. Aerial view of flaming front in coniferous trees putting off a lot of smoke. Repeat Photography: A Visually Compelling Tool for Documenting Natural Resource Change Repeat photography is an effective method to qualitatively and quantitatively assess landscape change over time. From shrinking glaciers to changing vegetation to changes in the built environment, comparing historical and contemporary photos can help us identify specific features or processes that may require more intensive monitoring and research and can serve as a valuable tool for education, outreach, and resource management. Alaska Park Science 20(1), 2021 A historic photo overlaid on a modern image. Series: Alaska Park Science Volume 20 Issue 1 - Parks as Proving Grounds Parks in Alaska pose special challenges to researchers: they are large, remote, and less is known about them. This makes it all the more important that tools and techniques we use here are practical, effective, and impactful. While researchers often focus on sharing the findings from their work, here we shine a light on the devices and approaches used by researchers with attention to the innovation needed to work in Alaska. Alaska Park Science 20 (1), 2021 A scientist uses a probe on the top of a mountain. Dall's Sheep Resource Brief for the Arctic Network Dall’s sheep are an alpine adapted species at their northernmost extent in the Brooks Range of Alaska. GAAR and NOAT encompass most of the available habitat in the central and western Brooks Range and were estimated in the 1980’s to contain 13-15% of the world’s Dall’s sheep. Dall’s sheep are an important subsistence species for local residents and highly valued where sport hunting is permitted in preserves. A Dall's sheep ram close up image Brown Bear Resource Brief for the Arctic Network Alaska has more than 50% of the remaining North American brown bears and the second largest population worldwide. Parks in the Arctic Inventory and Monitoring Network may ultimately provide a refuge for brown bears in northwest Alaska that are adapted to life in the Arctic, but strong monitoring programs are needed to understand whether these bear populations can remain healthy in a rapidly changing Arctic. A brown bear sits in a tundra wetland. Bumble Bees of Alaska: A Field Guide This field guide to bumble bees will help you identify these abundant and conspicuous pollinators, which are found across most of Alaska. They are well-adapted to cold, harsh climates and live in every habitat where there are flowers offering up pollen and nectar, including forests, shrublands, tundra, wetlands, riparian areas, beaches, and gardens. a bumble bee perched on tiny pink flowers The Long Walk: The Origins of Anaktuvuk Pass The time is early summer 1949, at Sulupaat, a camp near the mouth of April Creek in the Killik River valley. There, the families of Maptigaq Morry, Inualuuraq Hugo, Homer Mekiana, and their children and grandchildren are prepared to set out on The Long Walk. It would be more than a two week long overland dog-packing trek, as the Killik families made their way eastward to join another small group of families at Tulugaq Lake, nearly a hundred miles distant. Justus Mekiana walking with a group of dogs wearing dog-packs Nunamiut Caribou Skin Clothing and Tents Inland mountain Eskimos experience one of the world’s most extreme winter climates—temperatures of 55 degrees below zero or colder, often with gale force winds and blinding snow. Despite these daunting conditions, Eskimo people carry on with their daily life of hunting, fishing, gathering firewood, traveling, and camping. The key to their success and survival—above all else—is warm, effective, brilliantly designed and expertly made clothing. Nunamiut: The Caribou People In Northern Alaska, people and caribou have lived in a close, intricate relationship for at least 11,000 years. Caribou have been vitally important for the survival of all native people whose homelands are now partially encompassed by Gates of the Arctic National Park and Preserve. For some tribes, caribou is just part of a diet which also includes other game, fish and marine mammals. But for the Nunamiut Eskimos, caribou is by far the single most important food source. What a mammoth's tusk can tell us about its life Where did woolly mammoths roam when they lived in Beringia? What can learning about their movements tell us about their lives and their extinction? Read more here: Wooller, M. J., C. Bataille, P. Druckenmiller, G. M. Erickson, P. Groves, N. Haubenstock, T. Howe, J. Irrgeher, D. Mann, K. Moon, B. A. Potter, T. Prohaska, J. Rasic, J. Reuther, B. Shapiro, K. J. Spaleta, and A. D. Willis. 2021. Lifetime mobility of an Arctic woolly mammoth. Science 373(6556): 806-808. Two woolly mammoths walk across Beringia. Stream Communities & Ecosystems Resource Brief for the Arctic Network Stream flow has changed in recent decades at monitoring sites near the Arctic Network. The timing of peak discharge during spring snowmelt now occurs nearly 10 days earlier than it did 30 years ago. The Kobuk River is now re-freezing later in fall than it did in the 1980s. In headwater streams of the Arctic Network, permafrost thaw is changing watershed hydrology, causing streams to cool and discharge to decline during summer months. Aerial image of a Braided river in Alaska’s Arctic Network with mountains in background
National Park Service U.S. Department of the Interior Gates of the Arctic National Park and Preserve Photo by Andrew Ackerman Arrigetch Peaks National Natural Landmark The 40-square miles encompassing Arrigetch Peaks National Natural Landmark includes a wide spectrum of ecologies: mountain terrain, alpine glaciers, tundra, high altitude rock desert and boreal forest. Our Natural Heritage National Natural Landmarks are sites that possess exceptional value in illustrating the natural heritage of our nation and present an unspoiled example of natural history. The 40-square-mile area encompassing Arrigetch Peaks, considered to be of outstanding national importance, was declared a National Natural Landmark many years before Gates of the Arctic National Park and Preserve came into being around it. The Arrigetch Peaks The Arrigetch Peaks became a National Natural Landmark in 1968, six years after it was initially suggested by a geologist doing studies in the central Brooks Range. Considered an exceptional example of geologic formations, processes and history, and EXPERIENCE YOUR AMERICA™ including multiple ecological communities, it was also recognized for its spectacular scenic attributes. Under the Bureau of Land Management at the time, it eventually became one of the iconic landmarks of Gates of the Arctic National Park and Preserve. National Park Service U.S. Department of the Interior Gates of the Arctic National Park and Preserve Photo by Joe Wilkins Made of solid bronze and weighing in at over 25 pounds, a new plaque commemorating Arrigetch Peaks National Natural Landmark within Gates of the Arctic National Park and Preserve finally replaces the original bronze plaque that had been in the old ranger station in Bettles, which was melted by the fire that demolished the station in 2004. The area encompasses a wide spectrum of ecologies in a 40-square-mile area: mountain terrain, alpine glaciers, tundra, high altitude rock desert and boreal forest. Formed by glacial ice and running water, which lowered the surrounding uplands, the Arrigetch Peaks are an excellent example of alpine glacier activity. Some of the oldest spruce trees in Alaska have been found here, in isolated sites untouched by wildfire. “The Fingers of the Hand Outstretched” Long before early geologists came to survey the area, the inland Nunamuit Eskimos called the place Arrigetch, meaning “the fingers of the hand outstretched.” They told a story of a mighty hunter who taught them to survive in the harsh arctic landscape. He showed them the best animals to hunt and which plants to use. Before he left he threw down his gloves and transformed them into the towering granite spires of the Arrigetch, so that the people would always remember him. Still Inspiring Visitors Today the area is still inspiring awe in visitors. The two day trek into the peaks from the Alatna River presents the hiker with one scenic vista after another, increasing in grandeur with the altitude. Boreal forest becomes tundra, the tundra changes to rock desert, and granite rock faces rise as much as 4,000 feet above the adjacent valleys. The jagged peaks and sheer rock walls of this area are some of the most spectacular in northern Alaska. It is truly a natural national treasure. For more information about the Arrigetch Peaks National Natural Landmark within Gates of the Arctic National Park and Preserve, please contact our Interpretive Park Ranger in Bettles, DaleLynn Gardner, at (907) 692-6100, or email her at DaleLynn_Gardner@nps.gov. EXPERIENCE YOUR AMERICA™
National Park Service U.S. Department of the Interior Gates of the Arctic National Park and Preserve Photo by Andy Greenblatt Keeping Tabs on Caribou and Moose Populations Ten additional GPS-satellite radio-collars were deployed on Western Arctic Herd (WAH) caribou. The collars provide biologists with the locations of these caribou every 8 hours, 365 days a year—over 170,000 locations so far— enabling biologists to track the migration and distribution of caribou throughout the year. Moose Project Nearing Completion The fieldwork for a multi-agency project involving NPS, U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service, Bureau of Land Management and Alaska Dept. of Fish & Game is complete. About 70 collars were deployed on bull and cow moose from the southern end of Kanuti National Wildlife Refuge to Sukakpak Mountain. The moose were located by aircraft monthly; about 30 moose had GPS collars that recorded their positions every 8 hours. Most of the collars on moose in the park have been removed. The project’s goals are to increase our understanding of the distribution, movements, A number of new caribou-related projects have recently been initiated, including an analysis of potential impacts of the proposed Ambler Road and the Red Dog Road, investigating summer range quality and quantity, a traditional ecological knowledge survey, and a sport hunter survey. Check out the WAH Working Group’s webpage at: www.westernarcticcaribou.org Photo by Jimmy Fox Caribou Monitoring Continues habitat usage, and survival and twinning rates of this population. We are currently analyzing the data and hope to report results next year. Gates of the Arctic National Park & Preserve For more information about the caribou or moose projects, contact Wildlife Biologist Kyle Joly at (907) 455-0626 or email him at Kyle_Joly@nps.gov. EXPERIENCE YOUR AMERICA™
National Park Service U.S. Department of the Interior Gates of the Arctic National Park and Preserve Eskimo Hunting Bow These fragments of an Eskimo hunting bow were a rare find near the Nigu River in Gates of the Arctic National Park and Preserve. Most wooden artifacts decay rapidly and are rarely available to help archeologists learn about early lifeways of Eskimo peoples. The hunting bow was a fixture in most prehistoric cultures worldwide. During the summer of 2008, National Park Service archeologists Chris Ciancibelli and Dael Devenport conducted a field survey in a high mountain valley along the upper reaches of the Nigu, Alatna, and Killik Rivers in the northwestern corner of Gates of the Arctic National Park and Preserve. As part of ongoing efforts to study the cultural resources within the park’s boundaries, they documented artifacts, campsites, and other indicators of the historic and prehistoric presence of people on the landscape. While walking over a gravelly, tundra-covered lakeside terrace at the headwaters of the Nigu River (see map), the researchers noticed a small scatter of sticks. As they approached, they could confirm that the driftwood-like weathered sticks on the ground were actually pieces of a wooden hunting bow. Finding this bow is remarkable because organic artifacts, such as wood, skin, or bone, are usually found only when preserved in permafrost, even though archeological relics such as stone tools, tent rings, and rock cairns are relatively common finds throughout the Brooks Range. When organic materials are lacking, archeologists can only gain insight into the material culture of a people by way of its stone technologies, losing the information-rich associations of the organic components of hunting weapons and other objects. Analysis of the wooden bow When reassembled from six fragments, the bow measures about 127 cm (50 inches) in length. This bow is the most complete specimen recovered to date from the Brooks Range, as only small fragments had been identified previously. Radiocarbon analysis of a small sample from the bow dates the wood to the late 1800s or early 1900s. After comparing the bow to different known cultural styles, Dr. Claire Alix (a specialist in wooden artifacts at the University of Paris-Sorbonne, France) classified the Nigu River bow as a reflexed Western Arctic type bow. Reflexed refers to the shape of a bow, which, when unstrung, forms a “C” that opens away from the hunter. The reflexed Western Arctic type of bow was first described by ethnographer John Murdoch as one commonly used by Eskimo cultures of northern Alaska and the Bering Strait. Murdoch documented their material culture in the late 1800s before the shift toward more modern technologies. Looking at a piece of the wooden bow under a microscope to identify wood characteristics diagnostic to tree species, Alix concluded that the Eskimos constructed the bow from either spruce or tamarack. Neither species is readily available in the Arctic tundra environment north of the Brooks Range, but both are found along the southern edge of the Range and as driftwood along the Arctic coastline. The Eskimo hunting bow The hunting bow was a fixture in most prehistoric cultures worldwide. Each culture adapted the bow to the local function and environment where the weapon was used. Eskimo hunters migrating from Siberia eastward across the Arctic are believed to have introduced the bow to North America. Many variations of the bow exist in Eskimo cultures, as the bow has been used to hunt sea mammals, fish, and a variety of terrestrial animals. Construction techniques were equally diverse. Some bows were composite, meaning they were made from multiple parts and material types. For example, the handle was often made of a stronger material such as bone, which would add strength to the bow and allow for the use of two separate lengths of wood. the Nigu River artifacts, including the bow, were made and used before Euro-American contact was established. Although Eskimo people are commonly thought of as strictly coastal inhabitants, the archeological record indicates their presence in the Brooks Range for around 5,000 years. The Nunamiut are an inland group of Iñupiaq Eskimos that have inhabited the Gates of the Arctic region for the last 400-500 years. Prior to settling in Anaktuvuk Pass in the 1940s, the Nunamiut were nomadic hunters who relied on the spring and fall migrations of the caribou through the mountains. The Nigu bow is likely a remnant from the nomadic period of the Numamiut people. The wooden bow was found at the headwaters of the Nigu River (circled in map at top). Eskimos using the Nigu River site hunted in this landscape. Dr. Claire Alix measures the bow to determine its style and material type. Did Eskimos launch this stone arrowhead also found at Nigu River (bottom photo) with the wooden bow? Other artifacts at Nigu River On searching the Nigu River site near the hunting bow, park archeologists found ot
National Park Service U.S. Department of the Interior Gates of the Arctic National Park and Preserve Paleo-Eskimo Culture at Matcharak Lake Thousands of bones and artifacts, well-preserved within the permafrost layer, were found at Matcharak Lake. The 2008 excavations have already confirmed many assumptions about Denbigh people 4000 years ago—the extensive use of bone and antler as tools, and that these earliest of Paleo-Eskimos were skilled artisans. As archaeologists, we realize that the record will always be incomplete; therefore, we must work with the information we have. Paleo-Eskimos are the ancient ancestors of modern Eskimos, as recognized through archaeological studies throughout Alaska, Canada, and Greenland. In Alaska, the earliest members of this group are known from a distinctive stone tool technology known as the Denbigh Flint Complex (say DEN-bee). When archaeologists talk about Denbigh, they are not only referring to their material culture, i.e. the stone tools, but also to the people who made them. More broadly, Denbigh people are part of the Arctic Small Tool tradition, who were the first humans to colonize most of Arctic North America 5000 years ago. The importance of bone It is believed that Denbigh Paleo-Eskimos, after processing animals for consumption, would often discard the unusable remains in camp, away from where people were working and sleeping. Rarely are the bones of this type of midden (prehistoric trash dump) discovered at ancient archaeology sites in the Arctic. Although 75 to 100 Denbigh sites are known in Alaska, only a handful (literally) of bone fragments are known from all of these sites. Without bones, questions about diet, seasonal mobility, and hunting strategies are unanswerable, although archaeologists have proposed numerous hypotheses about Denbigh life-ways. However, at a recently-discovered site near Matcharak Lake, in Gates of the Arctic National Park and Preserve, the conditions of shallow permafrost and the ongoing formation of peat were just right to preserve the discarded remains of numerous Denbigh meals—perfectly preserved until excavation in 2008. With the discovery of a frozen bone midden at Matcharak Lake, archaeologists can now begin to reconstruct the behavior of these Native Alaskans. Archeological discovery The Matcharak Lake site perches on a 15-meter (45­ foot) terrace between Matcharak Lake (see photo) and the Noatak River. It was discovered through routine archaeological survey of the upper Noatak River drainage in 2007 by Andrew Tremayne and Cody Strathe, both student archaeologists for the National Park Service. Prior to this discovery, no prehistoric sites were known in the area. Recognizing the potential for recovering organics (e.g., bone, antler, teeth, and plants) associated with Denbigh Flint Complex tools, National Park Service archeologist Jeff Rasic arranged for a team of archeologists, including Tremayne, to excavate a portion of the site in 2008. Excavation at Matcharak Lake To access this site, a crew consisting of Tremayne and four other archeologists were flown by float plane directly to the area of excavation. Technical equipment was flown in, including a total station (surveying instrument) for recording the exact location of artifacts and bone, and screens for sifting dirt to capture very small artifacts. For three weeks, the crew worked patiently and slowly, waiting for the permafrost to melt enough to actually dig in the soil. Learning about Denbigh At the Matcharak site, Tremayne and the others recovered thousands of bones of various kinds (caribou, fish, and migratory birds), along with tools and incised-bone art work. Now, the work of archeologists can unfold further as they begin to address some of the questions that have puzzled them for years. For his part, Tremayne has chosen (for his Master’s thesis at the University of Wyoming), to analyze the site’s animal remains, focusing on what the bones reveal about the diet and hunting strategies of site occupants. However, as Tremayne explains, because Matcharak Lake is a localized, small-scale mountain camp, he can only really talk about how these Paleo-Eskimos behaved while at that camp. The discovery of unrivaled preservation of bone, including the articulated caribou thorax (top), at Matcharak Lake, makes this a very important Denbigh site. Incised bone artwork (middle) and designed bone tools (L & R, lower). The tool at right is associated with a caribou mandible and bone fragments. Testing hypotheses about Paleo-Eskimo life-ways Some researchers have suggested there is evidence that Denbigh people spent their winters in the mountains and the summer on the coast, but the presence of at least one caribou fetal bone, fish, and migratory birds at Matcharak Lake supports the hypothesis that, at some point, Denbigh occupied Matcharak Lake in early summer or spring. If Denbigh hunters were specialized caribou hunters, the expectation would be to find mostly caribou bones. So,
National Park Service U.S. Department of the Interior Gates of the Arctic National Park and Preserve NPS photo by Joe Keeney Uncovering Prehistory at Lake Matcharak Archaeologists at work on the Matcharak Peninsula Site, August 2013. This photo was taken about a week after excavations began. The string grid helps to guide the archaeologists on where to excavate and is used to map the exact location of each artifact that is found. Human Occupations 7,000 Years Ago From July 29 to August 17, 2013, NPS archaeologists Joe Keeney, Jillian Richie, and Caroline Ketron, along with volunteer archaeologists Sam Hutchins and Ryan Nordstrom, visited Lake Matcharak, a site along the Upper Noatak River in Gates of the Arctic National Preserve, to expand on subsurface tests from previous years. The Matcharak Peninsula Site (AMR-196) is located on a south-facing terrace, centered on a small peninsula along the southeast shore of the lake. Keeney, a graduate student in the University of Alaska Fairbanks department of anthropology, led the team with the goal to collect data about the cultural materials buried beneath the surface and how the overlying sediments were deposited. The site is the focus of Keeney’s master’s thesis research, and the data will hopefully illustrate details about the people inhabiting the site in prehistory. Radiocarbon dates that are associated with stone tools EXPERIENCE YOUR AMERICA™ and well-preserved bone recovered from the site reflect human occupations to as early as around 7,000 years ago, making it significant as the largest collection of well-preserved faunal remains from this time period and the associated Northern Archaic technological tradition. Analysis of the artifacts from this site should shed light on life ways of these Arctic hunter-gatherers, how they subsisted at Lake Matcharak, when, and at what time of year. National Park Service U.S. Department of the Interior Gates of the Arctic National Park and Preserve During fieldwork, the archaeologists carefully Meticulous Sifting and Documenting Yields Results and systematically dug through approximately microblades, and utilized flake tools. All sediments were backfilled upon completion of the project to leave as little trace of the fieldwork as possible. 7 m3 of surface sediments. They precisely mapped over 500 bones, bone fragments, stone tools, and flakes (the waste material from manufacturing stone tools) using a total station, a laser-based surveying instrument. All dirt was sifted with a fine mesh to locate artifacts too small to be seen during excavation and each artifact was then carefully collected for later analysis. The first formal tools recovered from the site were found this summer, including the base of a side-notched point (a tool indicative of Northern Archaic technology), a microblade core, numerous Photo courtesy of Brooks Range Aviation NPS photo by Joe Keeney The first formal tools recovered from the site were found this summer, including the base of a side-notched point (a tool indicative of Northern Archaic technology), a microblade core, numerous microblades, and utilized flake tools. The Matcharak Peninsula Site (AMR-196) was originally identified in 2009 when NPS archaeologists discovered a 5,000 year-old caribou bone and evidence of stone tools. The site was then revisited in 2010 and 2011 for extended testing, resulting in over 600 bones, bone fragments, and stone tool flakes being recovered from approximately 6 m3 of excavated sediments. A conical microblade core discovered during excavations at the Matcharak Peninsula Site in 2013. The 2013 archaeology crew at Lake Matcharak. From left are Ryan Nordstrom, Caroline Ketron, Sam Hutchins, Jillian Richie, and Joe Keeney. Gates of the Arctic National Park & Preserve For more information about the work being done at the Matcharak Peninsula Site, contact Archaeologist Joe Keeney at (907) 455-0634, or email him at Joseph_Keeney@nps.gov. EXPERIENCE YOUR AMERICA™
National Park Service U.S. Department of the Interior Gates of the Arctic National Park and Preserve Yukon-Charley National Preserve Prehistoric Networking: Obsidian in Gates of the Arctic National Park and Preserve Long before the boundaries of the Gates of the Arctic National Park were on the map, people used the volcanic glass known as obsidian to fashion projectile points, hide scrapers and other tools. Archaeologists today are especially interested in these obsidian artifacts because they can tell presicely where each piece of obsidian was collected and how far a person, thousands of years ago, carried their tools. Tracing obsidian also allows archaeologists to make connections between archaeological sites. This research is possible because each obsidian source has a unique chemical signature. Several methods can be used to identify this signature and the geographic source of the material. So far, close to 200 obsidian artifacts from Gates of the Arctic have been analyzed. The obsidian entered the central Brooks Range almost exclusively from the Batza Tena source on the Koyukuk River, more than 200 km (125 mi) south of the park. Obsidian is found at over 200 archaeological sites in the Gates of the Arctic National Park and Preserve. the XRF technology have brought about portable instruments that make it possible to analyze artifacts within the museums rather than sending samples away for analysis. An obsidian flake from Itkillik Lake sourced to Group P. The source for this obsidian has not yet been discovered. Formation of Obsidian Obsidian is a volcanic glass that lacks a crystal lattice structure because it formed from a magma or lava that cooled very rapidly. This geological characteristic makes obsidian a perfect raw material for manufacturing stone tools because it flakes easily. When this liquid rock cools, it traps the elements present in the molten liquid. These trace elements occur in volcanic glass in variable amounts, thereby creating a unique chemical signature for any particular volcanic flow. Obsidian Sourcing The most reliable method of obsidian sourcing involves using X-ray fluorescence (XRF) or Inductively Coupled PlasmaMass Spectrometry (ICP-MS) to detect the combination and proportions of trace elements. The advantage of XRF spectrometers is that they do not destroy any part of the artifact during the analysis; ICP-MS leaves a scar barely visible with the naked eye. In addition, recent developments in Alaskan obsidian sources can be differentiated from one another by measuring levels of iron, rubidium, strontium, zirconium, and yttrium. Researchers have developed databases that keep records of all sourced obsidian. In all of Alaska, five obsidian sources are known and more than 20 sources are represented by archaeological samples from unknown geological sources. By finding more samples from unknown sources in archaeological sites researchers hope to determine an area where the source is likely to be located. Results of Obsidian Sourcing Obsidian occurs in 211 (16%) of the 1300 known archaeological sites in the Gates of the Arctic. So far, archaeologists have been able to source obsidian from 25 sites in several valleys, including the Killik, Alatna, Nigu, Itkillik, North Fork of the Koyukuk, and Hunt Fork of John River. Obsidian for this analysis was also obtained from sites on the shores of several lakes: Kurupa, Kipmik and Agiak. Most obsidian has been found on high knolls where soil accumulation is marginal and organic materials that can be dated (by radiocarbon methods, for example) are practically non-existent. However, based on characteristic stone tool forms and the few dated archaeological sites present in the park, archaeologists have determined that obsidian was used the entire time that people have occupied the valleys of the park, starting approximately 10,000 years ago. Nearly all obsidian found in the park came from the Batza Tena source. Artifacts from this source are found across the state (excluding the Aleutian Islands and Southeast Alaska) and in all time periods. The shortest distance that the obsidian had to travel to the Gates of the Arctic from this source is 175 km (110 mi), the longest is 340 km (210 mi). It is no surprise that this obsidian is so common in the Gates of the Arctic, since the source is relatively close to the park and the Koyukuk River Valley connects the two. Only two obsidian artifacts found in the Gates of the Arctic cannot be attributed to the Batza Tena source. These came from two different groups. A group designation singifies that artifacts with a particular chemical signature consistently appear at archaeological sites, however the physical source of that obsidian has not yet been discovered. One of these samples, found at Kurupa Lake, came from a source that is referred to as Group G. Group G obsidian is also found in archaeological sites in the western Brooks Range. Another artifact was attributed to Group P was found in the
National Park Service U.S. Department of the Interior Gates of the Arctic National Park and Preserve Snowshoe Hare Project A volunteer carefully searches a plot for snowshoe hare pellets. Each plot is 2 inches wide by 10 feet long, delineated by an elastic band wrapped around plastic stakes at each end. The fact that snowshoe hare populations cycle dramatically from very low to very high densities over a 10 year period is fairly common knowledge. What is not as well understood is what causes this cycling and what controls the amplitude of hare population peaks. Some hare populations in and around Gates of the Arctic National Park consume mineral soils when their populations become more dense. Hare populations in these areas seem to reach higher densities than hare populations that do not consume such minerals. Questions about how hare populations in “mineral” vs. “non-mineral” areas differ are a primary focus of this project. 7th Annual Pellet Count During the 7th annual pellet count in 2013, a total of 221 pellets were counted in 408 plots at six sites. This continues the downward trend from the mini-peak a few years ago in the non-mineral sites of Rosie Creek and Snowshoe Hare Annual Pellet Counts Cathedral Mountain south of Coldfoot. At Slate Creek, also a mineral site, and at the mineral sites (Wiseman Creek, Jennie Creek and Gold Creek), which did not experience pronounced increases, the trend of low numbers of hares continues (Figure 1). 6.00 Figure 1. Number of snowshoe hare pellets/plot deposited annually at six study sites in the snowshoe hare study area in and near Gates of the Arctic National Park near Wiseman, Alaska. # Pellets/Plot 5.00 Cathedral Rosie 4.00 Slate 3.00 Wiseman Jennie 2.00 Gold 1.00 0.00 2007 2008 2009 2010 EXPERIENCE YOUR AMERICA™ 2011 2012 2013 The last major peak in hare densities in our area was in 1998-2001, which we documented in the park (our current “Wiseman” site) using winter track counts that began in 1997. National Park Service U.S. Department of the Interior Gates of the Arctic National Park and Preserve Establishment of New Site This grid may eventually replace the nearby Jennie grid. This large bluff lies across the Hammond River from the Jennie Creek pellet plot grid. During the last major peak in snowshoe hare densities, hares purportedly risked exposure to predators to visit this bluff and consume its soils. In addition to checking the established pellet plots, we cleared pellets from 47 plots in the new Hammond grid, established in 2012. This grid may eventually replace the nearby Jennie grid if the miner there bulldozes his entire claim (on which the Jennie grid lays). The new site is as close to the large Jennie Creek bluff as we could put it (where we believe hares consume soil during extreme peak population densities) while being outside the mining claim area. With the grid cleared of all old pellets, we will be ready to conduct the first annual count at Hammond in 2014. Absolute Tree Densities at Jennie and Hammond Sites In August, we made a second trip to the snowshoe hare study area, mainly to collect vegetation data from the new Hammond site. We recorded tree and shrub densities and vegetation strata from 50% of the plots on the Hammond grid. Density data show that the Hammond site has an even lower density of trees than Jennie (Jennie already having the lowest tree density of the other six sites) (Figure 2). However, shrub density at Hammond is greater than at Jennie (Figure 3), which has the second greatest density of shrubs of all study sites. Absolute Shrub Densities at Jennie and Hammond Sites 70,000 600 Picea glauca Ribes triste 60,000 500 Vaccinium uliginosum no trees (open) 400 Salix bebbiana Betula papyrifera 300 50,000 Rosa acicularis Juniperus communis 40,000 Potentilla fruticosa Alnus crispa Populus balsamifera 200 Populus balsamifera 30,000 Betula glandulosa Picea glauca Ledum palustre 20,000 100 0 Alnus crispa Shepherdia canadensis 10,000 Jennie Hammond Salix spp. 0 Figure 2. Comparison of absolute tree densities on the Jennie Creek grid and neighboring Hammond River grid in the snowshoe hare study area near Wiseman, Alaska. Tree density here is relatively low. The Hammond site may need to replace Jennie if mining operations in the area continue to spread. Jennie Hammond Figure 3. Comparison of absolute shrub densities on the Jennie Creek grid and neighboring Hammond River grid in the snowshoe hare study area near Wiseman, Alaska. The Hammond site has the second greatest shrub density (after Cathedral Mountain) of all seven sites in the snowshoe hare study area. Gates of the Arctic National Park & Preserve For more information on Gates of the Arctic National Park and Preserve’s snowshoe hare project, contact Donna DiFolco at (907) 455-0625 or email her at Donna_DiFolco@nps.gov. EXPERIENCE YOUR AMERICA™
National Park Service U.S. Department of the Interior Gates of the Arctic National Park and Preserve Photo courtesy of Anchorage Museum Subsistence Management in Gates of the Arctic Protecting Subsistence Rights Anaktuvuk Pass residents hunting caribou in 1962. Subsistence Resource Commissions In 1980, Congress recognized the uniqueness and importance of a subsistence way of life to rural residents by identifying it as one of the purposes of the Alaska National Interest Lands Conservation Act (ANILCA). Through Title VIII of ANILCA, Congress established a policy that rural residents engaged in a subsistence way of life be provided the opportunity to continue to do so, consistent with sound management principles and the conservation of healthy fish and wildlife populations; that the utilization of public lands in Alaska is to cause the least adverse impact possible on rural residents who depend upon subsistence resources; that the non-wasteful subsistence uses of fish and wildlife be the priority consumptive use; and that in managing subsistence activities, the federal land managing agencies shall cooperate with adjacent landowners and land managers, including tribal governments, Native corporations, and state and federal agencies. To achieve this complex synthesis of protection and use, Congress felt it was important to formally involve those who have a personal knowledge of traditional subsistence activities and resources on federal lands. For national parks and monuments where subsistence uses were traditional, Subsistence Resource Commissions were established to make recommendations to the park superintendents, Secretary of Interior, and Governor of Alaska on a hunting program for the park areas. The Gates of the Arctic National Park Subsistence Resource Commission (SRC) was established in 1982, and has been formally meeting with National Park Service U.S. Department of the Interior Gates of the Arctic National Park and Preserve Resident Zone Communities the NPS since 1984 to provide a sounding Photo by Jack Reakoff Wolverine pelts (right) and wolf hides (reversed) dry outside a home in Wiseman, one of Gates of the Arctic’s 11 resident zone communities. Sleds are used to haul a harvested moose home from the field. Gates of the Arctic National Park & Preserve For more information on Gates of the Arctic National Park and Preserve’s Subsistence program, contact Marcy Okada at (907) 455-0639 or email her at Marcy_Okada@nps.gov. EXPERIENCE YOUR AMERICA™ Photo by Heidi Schoppenhorst The SRC is comprised of nine members representing different geographical, cultural, and user diversity for the Gates of the Arctic region. Three members are appointed by the Secretary of Interior, three appointed by the Governor of Alaska, and three appointed by Federal Regional Advisory Councils. The Commission meets at least twice a year to review regulatory wildlife and fisheries proposals and make recommendations which may address major topics such as eligibility, access, harvest monitoring, methods and means of taking, research needs, use of cabins and shelters, trapline management, and timber management. board for local concerns and develop a subsistence management program specific to Gates of the Arctic. It was the intent of Congress to limit eligibility for subsistence activities within Gates of the Arctic National Park to local rural residents who have a personal or family history of use of park resources. Hence, 11 communities near Gates of the Arctic National Park were designated as subsistence resident zone communities for the park. Alatna, Allakaket, Ambler, Anaktuvuk Pass, Bettles, Evansville, Hughes, Kobuk, Nuiqsut, Shungnak, and Wiseman were identified as communities with a significant concentration of subsistence users who have customarily and traditionally used park resources and lands.
National Park Service U.S. Department of the Interior Gates of the Arctic National Park and Preserve NPS photo by Chris Ciancibelli Walker Lake Archaeological Survey NPS Archaeologists record a site near Walker Lake. Jillian Richie maps the boundary of the site while Joe Keeney documents and photographs each artifact. Located at the headwaters of the Kobuk River in Gates of the Arctic National Park, Walker Lake was the focus for a National Park Service archaeological survey in July 2013. A crew of four archaeologists evaluated the condition of known prehistoric sites, expanded survey coverage, and identified new archaeological sites. Past surveys in the area documented small lithic scatters indicative of short-term prehistoric hunting locations; results of the 2013 survey follow this tendency. Discoveries of Ancient Sites Fourteen known archaeological sites were revisited during the 2013 field season, and 16 Continue new sites were discovered. The majority of investigated sites are lithic scatters—remains of chert, obsidian, and other stone material discarded during ancient tool production. A typical site contains one or more lithic scatters, small in both number of artifacts and extent, and is usually located on one of the many elevated landforms near the lake (e.g. bedrock knolls, beach ridges, and glacial moraines). A small number of tools are present in some EXPERIENCE YOUR AMERICA™ scatters, and include unifacial scrapers, expedient flake tools, microblades, biface preforms and side-notched projectile points. Test pits dug near lithic scatters have also revealed prehistoric campfires, or hearths. Hearths are particularly interesting to archaeologists for their ability to preserve organic material like charcoal or bone, which can indicate when the fire last burned using radiocarbon dating. Samples of bone and charcoal collected from hearths at Walker Lake during the 2013 field season date as old as 4,320 years ago. National Park Service U.S. Department of the Interior Gates of the Arctic National Park and Preserve NPS photo by Jillian Richie NPS photo by Jillian Richie These arctic huntergatherers used stone tools to hunt and process a kill, typically caribou, and the elevated landforms on which the tools were discovered at Walker Lake were likely used as lookouts. A side-notched point discovered in 2013 during the archaeological survey at Walker Lake. The notches near the base allow the point to be securely fastened to a shaft. One of two sub-surface hearths found at Walker Lake in 2013, evidenced by oxidized soil, bone fragments, and flecks of charcoal. Early Hunter-Gatherers at Walker Lake Information gained during the 2013 field season is preliminary in nature, but the archaeological sites dated in 2013 are most likely associated with the Northern Archaic tradition, a cultural and technological tradition associated with hunter-gatherers across Alaska and northwest Canada. These arctic huntergatherers used stone tools to hunt and process a kill, typically caribou, and the elevated landforms on which the tools were discovered at Walker Lake were likely used as lookouts. Additionally, the ephemeral nature of sites at Walker Lake, along with artifact assemblages that include end scrapers and bone fragments, appears to reflect temporary hunting localities. Cultural Resources at Risk Cultural materials at Walker Lake are at a risk of being disturbed by human collection, animal trampling, and other natural forces such as fire and erosion. Despite this risk, the vast majority of sites evaluated in 2013 are stable and in good condition, with only minimal impacts by human or natural disturbances. Anyone can help maintain these, and other, archaeological sites by leaving archaeological materials in their natural setting. If you encounter a site or artifact, report it to National Park Service staff with photographs and detailed location information. Gates of the Arctic National Park & Preserve For more information on Gates of the Arctic’s archaeological survey at Walker Lake, please contact Jillian Richie at (907) 455-0630, or email her at Jillian_D_Richie@nps.gov. EXPERIENCE YOUR AMERICA™

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