Wrangell-St. Elias National Park and Preserve, AK
National Park Trust supported the National Park Service in the acquisition of more than 40 mining claims and land along Chititu, Rex, and White Creeks near McCarthy, in the National Preserve. The Park Trust took part in negotiations with the property owner and performed legal research to find missing information on past ownership. Had not the missing land document been found, it would have affected the ability of the NPS to purchase the property.
Acquisition of the property protected the rustic quality and historic buildings of the Alaskan precious gold mining era that began in the Chititu Creek area of the Nizina Mining District around 1902. Placer mining, or washing out gold from sand and gravel, was the main method used there. Mining equipment, buildings, and cabins are on the property; a decades-old inventory showed 25 remaining at that time. The Chititu area is accessible by air, with more facilities nearby in McCarthy, which can be reached by air and road. The mining district is in the Preserve, which is open to hunting. The park has increased in popularity over the years; transfer of the land from the private sector to the park keeps increase and development of visitor facilities nearby but on private lands.
Project Years: 2001-2002
Parcel Size: 907 acres
Project Cost: $430,000
Long Term Significance of the Acquisition:
- Sites, historic buildings, and equipment representing a significant era in Alaskan history are permanently preserved.
- A remote area growing in popularity and prone to the development of tourist facilities is protected from changes that would change the remoteness of the area
Value to the Park and Public:
- The public can see and learn about the early history of the Alaskan gold mining era, seeing sites and buildings from that time.
- Visitors can continue to have a rustic, remote wild area experience without the presence of modern lodging and service facilities