Subsistence-Collection Regs To Be Developed For National Park Lands In Alaska

Regulations will be developed for gathering of "wild, renewable resources" on national park lands in Alaska where it is allowed.

Under the proposed regulations, "NPS-qualified subsistence users will be able to collect resources to make and use handicrafts for personal or family uses, to barter them, or to sell them as customary trade. NPS-qualified subsistence users are residents of communities and areas already specified in NPS regulations. These subsistence users would receive written authorization from the local NPS Superintendent before making collections," a National Park Service release said.

The NPS undertook this effort because system-wide regulations prohibit these types of collections and uses; however, a purpose of the Alaska National Interest Lands Conservation Act (ANILCA) is to provide opportunities for rural residents to continue a subsistence way of life. Many rural residents near park areas indicated they thought ANILCA authorized them to collect shed or discarded animal parts and plants to make handicrafts for personal uses, to barter, or to sell because these activities were traditional since before and after ANILCA.

This decision is the result of an environmental assessment released in 2012 and nearly two years of analysis and discussion of public comments, resulting in the selection of this action (Alternative D with minor modifications) in the Finding of No Significant Impact signed this past April 14.

The EA and the final decision are available with responses to public comments on the NPS Planning, Environment and Public Comment (PEPC) website.