"K'alyaan Pole in the Fort Site" by NPS , public domain


National Historical Park - Alaska

Sitka National Historical Park (earlier known as Indian River Park and Totem Park) is a national historical park in Sitka in the U.S. state of Alaska. It was redesignated as a national historical park from its previous status as national monument on October 18, 1972. The park in its various forms has sought to commemorate the Tlingit and Russian experiences in Alaska.



Official visitor map of Sitka National Historical Park (NHP) in Alaska. Published by the National Park Service (NPS).Sitka - Visitor Map

Official visitor map of Sitka National Historical Park (NHP) in Alaska. Published by the National Park Service (NPS).

Map 2 of the Motor Vehicle Use Map (MVUM) of Sitka Ranger District (RD) of Tongass National Forest (NF) in Alaska. Published by the U.S. Forest Service (USFS).Tongass MVUM - Sitka Map 2 - 2023

Map 2 of the Motor Vehicle Use Map (MVUM) of Sitka Ranger District (RD) of Tongass National Forest (NF) in Alaska. Published by the U.S. Forest Service (USFS).

Map sheet AKM-181 for the Alaska Maritime National Wildlife Refuge (NWR) in Alaska. Published by U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (USFWS).Alaska Maritime NWR - AKM-181 2023

Map sheet AKM-181 for the Alaska Maritime National Wildlife Refuge (NWR) in Alaska. Published by U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (USFWS).

https://www.nps.gov/sitk/index.htm https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sitka_National_Historical_Park Sitka National Historical Park (earlier known as Indian River Park and Totem Park) is a national historical park in Sitka in the U.S. state of Alaska. It was redesignated as a national historical park from its previous status as national monument on October 18, 1972. The park in its various forms has sought to commemorate the Tlingit and Russian experiences in Alaska. On an island amid towering spruce and hemlock, Sitka National Historical Park preserves the site of a battle between invading Russian traders and indigenous Kiks.ádi Tlingit. Totem poles from Tlingit and Haida areas line the park’s scenic coastal trail, and the restored Russian Bishop’s House is a rare reminder of Russia’s colonial legacy in North America. Sitka National Historical Park is located in downtown Sitka, Alaska. Sitka is situated on Baranof Island, on the outer coast of Alaska's Inside Passage. No roads connect the city to the mainland; Sitka can be reached only by air or sea. Visitors can travel to Sitka by scheduled and charter air services, ferry, and cruise ships. Russian Bishop's House One of only four Russian period buildings left in North America. Explore exhibits about Russian America and the role of the Russian Orthodox Church. Free tours are offered May to September. Hours of operation vary depending on staff availability. Visitor Center Explore exhibits about traditional Tlingít life and see drums, robes, and other ceremonial objects. A 12-minute film, "The Voices of Sitka," weaves together the stories of Sitkans, past and present. The nearby Totem Trail displays Northwest Coast totem poles and leads to the site of the Battle of 1804. Sitka National Historical Park's visitor center and Totem Loop Trail is located at the east end of Lincoln Street, approximately one-quarter mile from downtown Sitka. The visitor center and Russian Bishop's House are located about a ten-minute walk apart in this essentially urban park. Sitka National Historical Park Visitor Center Visitor Center from the beach. The Visitor Center contains exhibits, a 15 minute park video, and Tlingit and Haida art. Russian Bishop's House Reception Room Reception room in the Russian Bishop's House Tour the Russian Bishop's House to see Russian American architecture and lifestyle restored. Russian Bishop's House Russian Bishop's house from the front. One of the last remaining examples of Russian American architecture. Salmon Run Salmon run in the Indian River Salmon run in the Indian River from mid-July until late September. Mosquito Legend Pole Mosquito Legend Pole See the Park's 18 Totem Poles with a walk along the Totem Trail. Sitka National Historical Park Survey During its first comprehensive archeological inventory, Sitka National Historical Park in Alaska discovered the location of the Tlingit fort built to prepare for battle with Russian colonists. Materials from the Battle of Sitka in 1804 include several cannon balls and musket balls. The inventory team used metal detectors and other geophysical methods in addition to other survey techniques to identify the fort site and areas that will receive further investigation. [illustration] Overhead view of fort. Salmon Density in Southeast Alaska Coastal Rivers Read the abstract and get the link to the article published in Ecosphere: Sergeant, C. J., J. R. Bellmore, C. McConnell, and J. W. Moore. 2017. High salmon density and low discharge create periodic hypoxia in coastal rivers. Ecosphere 8(6):e01846. 10.1002/ecs2.1846 Salmon run on the Indian River. Kittlitz's murrelets abundance estimates, 2009-2015 The Southeast Alaska Inventory and Monitoring Network completed abundance estimates for the Kittliz's murrelet in Glacier Bay proper. Kittlitz's murrelet in flight. National Park Getaway: Sitka National Historical Park Take a tour of Sitka National Historical Park with a banana slug as a guide. Explore the natural and cultural heritage of the oldest park in Alaska discovering its rich history, biodiversity, and recreational opportunities. Ranger giving a program at the base of a totem pole 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. Bears in Totem Poles of the Northwest Coast Natives Totem poles are carved with striking designs and colors, many depicting bears. Ghaanaxh.adi/Raven Crest Pole NPS Geodiversity Atlas—Sitka National Historical 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] forest trail Monitoring and Park Management Read the abstract and get the link to an article published in Ecosphere: Rodhouse, T. J., C. J. Sergeant, and E. W. Schweiger. 2016. Ecological monitoring and evidence-based decision-making in America's National Parks: highlights of the Special Feature. Ecosphere 7(11):e01608. NPS at work on a boat. Effects of Cruise Ship Emissions on Air Quality and Terrestrial Vegetation in Southeast Alaska Increased tourism in Southeast Alaska has raised concerns about the levels and ecological effects of air pollutants emitted by cruise ships in dock and in transit. A monitoring program is in place to measure regional and local air pollutants accumulated by vegetation and in deposition. An image looking down at cruise ships docked at Skagway harbor, with haze hovering between mountains 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 Tlingit Archeology, Legends, and Oral Histories at Sitka National Historical Park Archaeology helps uncover stories from prehistoric Sitka, which has been home to the Tlingit for thousands of years. In more recent times, it also served as the capital of Russian America, and now hosts the oldest national park in Alaska. one-story structure surrounded by drying fish in a forest clearing Future Challenges for Salmon and the Freshwater Ecosystems of Southeast Alaska Mass animal migrations are awe-inspiring sights. Every summer and fall, residents and visitors to Alaska can witness one of the great underwater migrations: Pacific salmon returning from the ocean to their home streams, rivers, and lakeshores to spawn. Hundreds of millions of salmon return to Alaska’s freshwaters annually. Alaska Park Science 17(1), 2018. A group of red salmon. 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 Water Quality Practitioner's Guide Read the abstract and find the link to the article published in Environmental Monitoring and Assessment: Sergeant, C. J., E. N. Starkey, K. K. Bartz, M. H. Wilson, and F. J. Mueter. 2016. A practitioner’s guide for exploring water quality patterns using Principal Components Analysis and Procrustes. Environmental Monitoring and Assessment 188(4):1-15. Researchers collecting water quality data. Influence of Climate Change on Geohazards in Alaskan Parks Alaska’s parks are dynamic and are undergoing constant geomorphic change as glaciers and streams erode and cliffs collapse. Based on climate projec-tions, some permafrost in Alaska will thaw, and many glaciers will thin and retreat, over the remainder of this century, uncovering potentially unstable valley walls. Both permafrost thaw and glacier thinning will contribute to an increase in the incidence of landslides. mountain with its base eroded away 2017 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 2017 Science Education Grant recipients and their outreach projects. two girls sit in a kayak out on the water Prey Pulses in a Marine Environment Forage fish serve an important role in our marine environment; these fish serve as prey for many fish, seabirds, and marine mammals. whale fluke in water Freshwater Quality Monitoring The Southeast Alaska Inventory and Monitoring Network monitors the health of the Salmon, Taiya, and Indian Rivers in Alaska. This article reports on the recent findings on the water quality of these rivers. salmon river in Alaska 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 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 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: 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: Alaska Park Science - Volume 17, Issue 1. Migration: On the Move in Alaska Alaska is home to many amazing animal migrations. In this issue, you will read about caribou, salmon, Golden Eagles, Swainson's Thrushes, beluga whales, and more. Human migrations have also occurred here, from ancient Beringia to the Klondike Gold Rush. You can even read about now-extinct species from the Cretaceous and Pleistocene eras. Enjoy this issue of Alaska Park Science and read about migration. Alaska Park Science 17(1), 2018. Caribou swim across a river. Series: Alaska Park Science - Volume 10 Issue 1: Connections to Natural and Cultural Resource Studies in Alaska's National Parks This issue delves into a variety of topics, including: Glaciers in Denali | Prehistoric Tools in Gates of the Arctic | Remnants of WWII battles in the Aleutians | A projection of fire activity based on climate change predictions; and more! caribou wading through a river, words Alaska Park Science Water Quality Monitoring, 2018 Annual Update Water quality is an important and sensitive indicator of aquatic and terrestrial ecosystem health. Monitoring river and stream conditions helps scientists and park managers detect environmental patterns driven by human activity, climate change and watershed dynamics, then use that information to make better-informed decisions. The following is a data summary from 2018 for Southeast Alaska parks. An aerial view of the watershed of the Taiya River Water Quality Monitoring, 2020 Annual Update Water quality is an important and sensitive indicator of aquatic and terrestrial ecosystem health. Monitoring river and stream conditions helps scientists and park managers detect environmental patterns driven by human activity, climate change and watershed dynamics, then use that information to make better-informed decisions. The following is a data summary from 2020 for Southeast Alaska parks. A sonde in the Indian River Water Quality Monitoring, 2019 Annual Update Water quality is an important and sensitive indicator of aquatic and terrestrial ecosystem health. Monitoring river and stream conditions helps scientists and park managers detect environmental patterns driven by human activity, climate change and watershed dynamics, then use that information to make better-informed decisions. The following is a data summary from 2019 for Southeast Alaska parks. Salmon crowd the aptly named Salmon River. 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 Current Generation Carving Apprentice Connects with Traditions of the Past and Shares Aspirations for the Future Get to know Tim Flanery, Tlingit carving apprentice working in Sitka, Alaska! a man smiling for a photo The Legacy of George Benson (Lkeináa), Tlingit Carver and Community Mentor George Benson’s role as a carver, advocate, and mentor as truly significant to future generations of traditional native artists. A middle aged man wearing a blue shirt holding a paintbrush. A totem pole is laying in front of him. Shis'g'i Noow, the Tlingit Fortified Village The Sheet’ká Kwáan (the Tlingit people of the Sitka area), a tribe of the Northern Tlingit, occupied the western half of Baranof Island, the greater portion of Chichagof Island and smaller islands seaward. Archeological surveys have sought to find physical evidence to corroborate traditional knowledge about lifeways starting over 3,000 years ago. Tlingit fishing camp New Canoe Takes its Maiden Voyage in Sitka Sound A Tlingit Master Carver and his apprentice spent the winter of 2021/2022 carving a traditional dugout canoe out of a Sitka spruce log, and launched it in Sitka Sound on February 26.2022. Water Quality Monitoring, 2021 Annual Update Water quality is an important and sensitive indicator of aquatic and terrestrial ecosystem health. Monitoring river and stream conditions helps scientists and park managers detect environmental patterns driven by human activity, climate change and watershed dynamics, then use that information to make better-informed decisions. The following is a data summary from 2021 for Southeast Alaska parks. A sonde in the Indian River Battle of the Bark Trees shade us from the sun, provide homes for wildlife, stabilize Earth’s surface, and produce food for humans and animals alike. Some are massive, and others are miniscule by comparison, but what makes one better than the other—we’ll let you decide! Check out our iconic trees below and find your favorite! Five thick barked red-brown trees are backlit by the sunlight. Tracking a Flu Strain That’s Killing Wild Birds When confronted with a seemingly uncontrollable disease, surveillance matters. National parks are important watchdogs in the search to know more. NPS employee in safety gear handles a juvenile condor 50 Nifty Finds #11: Carving a Place in NPS History Few employees have left as visible a mark on National Park Service (NPS) exhibits as John A. Segeren. His work has been enjoyed by generations of park visitors who never knew his name but appreciated his intricate wood carvings and playful animal figures displayed in parks throughout the system. A master woodcarver described by former President Lyndon B. Johnson as "a legacy to this country," Segeren carved out his own place in NPS history. Round wooden plaque with bison, globe, and waterfall Stories Yet Told: Alaska’s Cultural Heritage in a Time of Unprecedented Climate Change Within the modern boundaries of Alaska are some of the oldest-dated archeological sites in the Americas. An understanding of the depth and breadth of human history in Alaska informs our global understanding of human evolution, migration, occupation, adaptation, and cultural change around the planet. Climate change is threatening irreplaceable archeological sites, historical sites, and modern communities. Alaska Park Science 22(1), 2023 A river bend with eroding arch site. Series: Reckoning with a Warming Climate The wild lands of Alaska national parks are changing at a rapid pace due to the disproportionate increases in temperature at high latitudes. Climate has fundamentally shaped the landscape of high-latitude parks, but now climate change is redefining them. This collection of articles provides a glimpse of the science related to climate change in the high-latitude parks of Alaska. A golden Arctic landscape looking down from Howard's Pass. Sitka Totem Trail Virtual Tour The Totem Trail at Sitka National Park features replica and original totem poles carved by Alaska Native carvers. The poles generally convey the ancestry (crest poles) or history (history poles) of a particular clan, folklore or real-life experiences (legend poles), or commemorate a person of importance (memorial/mortuary poles). Explore the Sitka Totem Trail via HDP’s virtual tour, animation, and archival HALS documentation. Photograph of carved and painted totem pole with a woman's face and salmon Sitka Totem Coloring Page The Frog/Raven Pole is one of the totem poles at Sitka National Historical Park in Alaska. Which colors will you choose to color in the drawing? Line drawing of Frog/Raven Pole with color blocks behind it
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Bear Safety In Alaska’s National Parklands National Park Service U.S. Department of the Interior Bears and campers often frequent the same areas in Alaska’s national parks. In coastal parks, both tend to spend time on the beach, the narrow band of land found between the sea and the brush, forest, or steep cliffs. Bears prefer these areas because they often contain abundant vegetation for grazing and make travel easy, while campers prefer these areas for cooking and because they offer easy access to kayak travel. Inland parks are also home to bears and it is important that campers respect their space. It is likely that bears and campers will encounter one another, but by remaining calm and following the basic advice of experienced bear behaviorists, you increase the odds of a positive outcome for both you and the bear. Some parks require campers to attend an orientation at the Visitor Information Station. During this orientation a park ranger will inform you about areas that are closed to camping due to high bear activity or recent bear/human encounters. If the park you are visiting does not have a bear safety orientation, take the time to read this brochure and learn how you can camp safely in bear country. Contact park staff to obtain current information on bear safety issues. Once in the backcountry you are on your own. Some parks require you to obtain a camping permit and may issue free bear-resistant food containers (BRFC). Cover photo © Robert Sabin Bear Signs to Watch for and Areas to Avoid It is important to be “bear aware” when camping and hiking in Alaska’s national parks and to avoid seasonal bear foraging areas (sedge meadows, berry patches, etc.). Bear signs are easy to find if you know what to look for. Select a campsite with the least amount of bear sign and away from seasonal bear foraging areas. Here are some signs to be on the lookout for: Trails are formed because of consistent use. Bears will often follow the path of least resistance, for example, lakeshores and ridgelines. A tree or log that has bear hair or claw marks may indicate that it is a repeatedly used bear rub-tree. Large dug up areas could be forage sites, day beds, or belly holes. Narrow beaches with steep cliffs or extremely dense brush do not allow a bear to pass safely. Remember that at high tide a bear will not have as much room to pass between your camp and the high water line. Neither you nor the bear want to be surprised by the other. Avoid areas with restricted visibility and make noise when exiting your tent. Ask yourself: Can a bear walk by and pass my campsite and cooking area unhindered? Avoid salmon streams! Bears like fish. And a noisy stream may lessen your ability to hear a bear or for a bear to hear you. Cooking and Storing Food Photo © Terry D. DeBruyn Keep all food and cosmetics in the BRFC when not in use. Place any snacks, wrappers, lip balm, sunscreen, etc. that were used while kayaking or hiking into the BRFC before entering your tent. It is not a good idea to store food in kayaks overnight. At night, store your BRFC and clean cooking gear off of main animal trails, (in coastal parks above high tide line) and at least 100 yards from your tent and hidden in thick brush or behind rocks. Prepare and consume food at least 100 yards from your tent site and food storage area. Try to select cooking areas where you can see a comfortable distance to minimize the risk of a surprise encounter with a bear passing through the area. Minimize Bear Disturbance and Displacement If camping in a coastal park, prepare and eat all food in the intertidal zone, that area below the seaweed debris line and the waterline. Cook and eat as close to the water as possible so cooking smells and any food particles will then be washed away by the next tide. National Park Service photograph Be prepared to quickly stow all food back into the BRFC if a bear should suddenly approach. Keep your gear together — minimize the amount of space that you occupy. Always ask yourself, “Is there room for a bear to get around us?” Or “Can I quickly get all this gear under my control?” Minimize the Risk of Having Your Gear Destroyed Do not leave gear unattended. This includes tents, clothes, pads, water bottles, etc. Consider using a portable electric fence to discourage bears from investigating your camp. Do not pursue or harass bears for the sake of a close encounter or photograph, either on land or from your watercraft. Photo © Robert Sabin While many bears seem to be tolerant of human presence at distances farther than 100 yards, each animal and situation is different. Pay attention to the bear’s behavior and respect its right to feed and travel undisturbed. Use telephoto lenses and binoculars. Allow bears to pass by your camp undisturbed. If you have made sure that the bear is aware of your presence so it is not surprised and have kept all your gear under your direct control, allow the bear to pass by unhindered. You may just be a
U.S. Department of the Interior National Park Service Alaska Regional Office SITKA’ A’SS NATION ONA AL HIS HIST TOR ORIIC LANDM NDMA ARKS A Window into Alaska’s Past National Historic Landmarks S itka is among the most historical and picturesque communities in Alaska, and its residents take pride in the preservation of this rich heritage. Recognition for Sitka’s historic places includes the listing of more than 20 properties on the National Register of Historic Places.* Eight of these properties which includes individual buildings, sites, and districts are of national significance and are designated National Historic Landmarks (NHLs). NHLs comprise some of our nation’s most important prehistoric and historic cultural resources. The National Park Service administers the NHL Program for the U.S. Secretary of the Interior. The NHL Program focuses attention on historic and archeological resources of exceptional value to the nation ‡ Russian Bishop’s House by recognizing and promoting the preservation efforts of private organizations, individuals, as well as local, NHL window detail. Pho­ state, and federal agencies. Designation of NHLs also furthers the educational objective of the Historic tograph Historic Ameri­ Sites Act of 1935 by increasing public awareness and interest in historic properties. Of the 2,500 NHLs can Buildings Survey. nationwide, 49 are in Alaska. They are an irreplaceable legacy. Artifacts and historic archeological sites are an important part of our national heritage and are protected by federal and state laws. It is illegal to excavate, damage, remove, sell, or transport archeological and historic resources located on federal or state land without proper permits. For more information on the National Historic Landmarks Program please visit http://www.nps.gov/nhl/ *The Sitka Historical Society and Museum provides an “Historic Sites of Sitka” map that identifies the National Register listed properties in Sitka and is available at: http://sitkahistory.org/index.shtml Credits: The National Park Service-Alaska Regional Office, National Historic Landmarks Program prepared this booklet with contributions by Chris Allan and edited by Janet Clemens. Design/layout by Archgraphics. Booklet photographs are courtesy of NPS except as noted. Historical source information is from the Sitka National Historical Park brochure and the National Historic Landmark nominations. Copies of the NHL nominations, as well as Alaska NHL related publications, are available at: http://www.nps.gov/akso/history/nhl-main.cfm. Printed 2013 ‡ Facing Page: Detail, Looking Southeast from Sitka, Alaska, 1891. Oil painting by James Everett Stuart. Image courtesy University of Alaska Museum of the North, Fairbanks, Alaska. Ha libu tP I oin To Old Sitka, 7 miles tR Swan Lake DeGroff oa d oad ek R re mill C Saw Cresent Harbor at h W ed ay ra l D t e tre S C C Str ill C re ek Ro ad ln Str ee E t ive et oln c Lin B m sitka national Historical Park co re St Sitka Channel w Lin n ard Sew eet Sa t et tlia Ka re St G et Stree n to et an tre w eS re ry aste Mon Lake rin Ma g Ko St Street rb or Dr F Ind i Ha e ell Bridg O’Conn H DesignateD national Historic lanDmarks: Japonski Island N p 0 0 0.1 0.2 Kilometers 0.1 Miles B C D E F G H I an Kiks.ádi Fort Site russian Bishop’s House sheldon Jackson school Battle of Sitka Site st. michael’s cathedral 1804 Building no. 29 american Flag raising site (castle Hill) alaska native Brotherhood Hall sitka U.s. naval operating Base and U.s. army coastal Defenses old sitka Sitka Sound Riv er Sitka’s National Historic Landmarks: A Window into Alaska’s Past S itka’s National Historic Landmarks (NHLs) provide a truly unique look into Alaska’s past. Collectively, Sitka’s eight NHLs illustrate significant stories and events that occurred over a 200-year time span. Sitka is also remarkable for its geographic concentration of NHLs. The authenticity of these places is further enhanced by Sitka’s natural coastal splendor and lack of major modern developments which provides a continuity of setting, inviting the Sitka visitor to slip back into its history. Sitka The Tlingit Indians were well established in the region when representatives of the Russian-American Company arrived in 1799. The Tlingits were at once welcoming and wary of the strangers who brought desir­ able trade items, like iron tools and cotton clothing, but who also violated Tlingit territorial claims. Old Sitka NHL, seven miles north of town, serves as a dramatic reminder of the clash between Alaska Natives and the Russians. The Tlingit initially prevailed. Two years later, the Tlingit fought the Russians in the Battle of Sitka, commemorated by today’s Sitka National Historical Park. This was the last major act of resistance by the Tlingits. Once the Russians gained a foothold in Sitka (known by the Tlingit as Shee At´iká) they opened the d
National Park Service U.S. Department of the Interior Sitka Sitka National Historical Park Southeast Alaska Indian Cultural Center Ambassadors for Alaska The stately totem poles of Sitka National Historical Park appear so solidly rooted in place it is hard to imagine a time when they were not part of the surrounding forest. Their his­ tory however, tells a very different story; one that begins in the coastal villages of south­ east Alaska and ends, after traveling more than 6,000 miles by revenue cutter, steamship and rail, in Alaska’s first National Park. Acquired from Russia in 1867, the vast territory some referred to as “Seward’s Folly” was actually rich with resources and far from the frozen wasteland some imagined. Alaska was long on acreage but short on population. How to generate interest in Alaska and at­ tract the settlers who could help shape it into a state? That question was on the mind of Alaska’s Governor, John Green Brady, when he was asked to create an exhibit publicizing Alaska for the Louisiana Purchase Exposition to be held in St Louis in 1904. His answer involved one of Alaska’s most recognizable features: the towering totem poles carved by the Native peoples of southeast Alaska. In Brady’s mind, a display of totem poles would draw people to the Alaska exhibit. Once there, they would learn about the “real” Alaska through displays of Alaska’s raw materials, agricul­ tural products and unique curiosities. Brady hoped visitors would form a new impression of Alaska: that of a place ready for tourism, settlement and development. An Era of Change Governor Brady’s Alaska was quite different from the Alaska that existed before the Russians came. Native populations had been cut in half by epidemic disease and cul­ tural traditions were rapidly changing. Towns, the new economic and social centers, were drawing population away from villages. Concerned that traditional art appeared to be disappearing from sparsely populated coastal villages, Brady conceived the idea of collecting totem poles and bringing them to a place where they could be preserved and people, including tourists, could view them. His idea took a step toward reality in 1901 when Chief Saanaheit of Kasaan donated a totem pole, four houseposts and a canoe for the government park in Sitka. Between 1903 and 1904, Brady toured southern southeast Alaska’s Tlingit and Haida villages by ship, asking leaders to donate poles and other objects specifically for the ex­ position. After several voyages, he was promised poles from the villages of Old Kasaan, Howkan, Koianglas, Sukkwan, Tuxekan, and Klinkwan. It was especially remarkable that Brady was given the poles as gifts because at least one professional collector had tried to purchase poles from these same villages and been refused. Trusting in Brady and looking to the future, these leaders chose to share their cultural heritage with the world, even if it meant parting with it. Meet Me at the Fair In spring of 1904, fifteen Tlingit and Haida totem poles, two dismantled Haida houses, a canoe and other items were delivered to the St. Louis fairgrounds. Brady had arranged for five Native men to accompany the exhibit and help repair and install the poles. John Baranovich of Kasaan and Chief Yeal-tat-see from the Klawock area, both totem pole donors, were among them. Brady arrived in April, in time for the fair’s opening. The Louisiana Purchase Exposition was a truly spectacular cultural event. Massive “palaces” were devoted to amazing technological advances like the electric lighting, the wireless telegraph and the automobile. Although exploitive by today’s standards, anthro­ pological exhibits of indigenous peoples drew huge crowds. The elaborate fairgrounds covered more than 1,200 acres. An astonishing 18 to 19 million people visited the fair be­ tween April and December of 1904. For most of them, it was an experience they would never forget. EXPERIENCE YOUR AMERICA™ Meet Me at the Fair Brady’s totem poles were displayed at either end of the white colonial building that housed the rest of the Alaska exhibit, arranged around the reconstructed houses and canoe. One pole that was too damaged for the exhibit was loaned to an Alaska-themed activity known as the “Esquimaux Village” on “The Pike,” the variety section of the fair. At the close of the exposition, the remaining poles were transported on to the smaller Lewis and Clark Centennial Exposition in Portland for an exhibit there in 1905. Between June and October, 1,588,000 visitors toured the 400 acre fairgrounds along the Willa­ mette River. Accompanying an Alaska exhibit inside the Government building, the totem poles and canoe were aligned along the shores of a man-made lake on the fairgrounds. The Poles Return When the Portland fair closed, the poles began another long journey, this time home to Alaska. They reached Sitka in January of 1906 where Brady’s concept of a totem pole park would be realized. The poles were repaired by skilled
A Russian Empire in North America: Bishop Innocent: Although the Bering-Chirikov expedition first arrived in Alaska int74r, it was between ry99 andt867 thatthe Russian imperial government, through the Russian American Company, maintained colonies in Alaska devoted to a lucrative fur trade. At times this empire extended as far as California and Hawaii, but its principal colonywas New Archangel, known today as Sitka, Alaska. In r84r, Bishop Innocent arrived in Sitka to assume leadership of a vast new diocese that included both Alaska and Kamchatka. As the center of authority for the Orthodox Church in Russian America, he had the power to shape the church's presence. He also had a strong interest in Native cultures. Under his direction, these came together in an approach to missionary work that incorporated Native language and clergy. Sitka's story is one of exchange between cultures, economies, educational systems, technologies, and ideologies. Here, the cultural heritage of the Tlingit interacted with the traditions of the Russians and the Aleuts, Finns, and others who accompanied them. Ships from many countries brought trade goods and ideas from Europe, Asia, and the Americas, adding to the mix.In time, geographic, diplomatic, and economic factors led Russia to abandon the Alaska colonies. The sale of Alaska to the United States in1867 marked the end of Russian America, but not of the multicultural interactions that still shape us today. In many ways, the Russian Orthodox Church is the most enduring legacy of this little-known chapter in United States history. The tsar who authorized the Russian American Company's monopoly in Alaska clearly intended the church to be a part of Russian America. The Company was required to support the church's missionary efforts, bringingpermanent cultural change to Alaska's Natives. Although the fur trade eventually dwindled and the Russian American Company managers returned to Russia, the Russian Orthodox Church continues to thrive inAlaska today. The Russian Bishop's House is a tangible reminder of the role that the Russian Orthodox Church played in Russian America and the history of Alaska. Schoolchildren and clergy tuith a model of Saint Michael's Cathedral outside the RussianBishop'sHowe ca. t9oo. BishopInnocentin t84o Bishop Innocent was well equipped for his Alaskan post. He was a veteran frontier traveler with previous experience in Sitka and the Aleutian Islands, a skilled craftsman, a gifted educator, and a versatile intellectual with a talent for languages. Vith his inspiration, the house became a center of learning and culture in Russian America. Modern researchers continue to rely on his careful observations about Alaska, especially those regarding Alaskan Native culture in the first decades after European settlement. Bishop Innocent's position in the church continued to rise after his time in New Archangel. This man who began his career as priest Ioann Veniaminov was eventually appointed Metropolitian of Moscow and Kolomna, the highest office in the Russian Church. Nearly roo years after his death in 1879, he was glorified as a saint in the Russian Orthodox Church. From the Russian Bishop's House, Bishop lnnocent oaersaw an ertensiae diocesethat encompassedmuch of the North Pacific rim. Orthodox crosseson the map mark some of the many churches he aisited and administered. An Ecclesiastical Palace: The House Restored: Completed in 1843,the Russian Bishop's House was part. of a "Golden Age" in Russian America when industry, construction, and the Orthodox Church were in full flower. It was built as a residence for Bishop Innocent and was the center from which he oversaw his far-reaching diocese. The upper floor included a pUblic reception a.ea, the bishop's private quarters, and chapel. The lower floor of the house served as the church offices; a school for Creole, Aleut, and Tlinglt children; and a seminary where Native clergy were trained. As befit Bishop Innocent's role in Russian American society, his house was one of the most refined in the colonies. Built by the RussianAmerican Company, the house was a symbol of the strength and viability of the church in Russian America. The bishop himself described it as an "ecclesiastical palace." The stmcture is a prime example of Russian wooden archi- tecture, characterizedby tightly-fitted squared-log buildings that were sturdy and weatherproof, with interior walls that could be painted or paperedto achievea refined interior finish. rtrTithinare items from aroundtheworld, including icons and fine fu rnishings from Russia, earthenwarefrom England, mineral water bottles from Germany, and tea from China. Features that make the house well suited to a cold climate include gravel, sand, and sawdust insulation; a floor plan that minimizes heat loss between rooms and floors; and the use of glued paper to seal seams and cracks in the walls. Finnish shipwrights employed by the Russian American Company were among the c
National Parks in Alaska Alaska National Parks Alaska National Park Service U.S. Department of the Interior Upper Noatak Valley, Gates of the Arctic National Park and Preserve C U H K S I CH BEAUFORT Noatak Noata k Cape Krusenstern 2 r ve River 7 er A IT Kobuk Valley Riv S TR 10 ko Yu uk uk n upi ne Fort Yukon iv e Circle BE RI Koy Bering Land Bridge P o rc Bettles/Evansville C AN AD A AT ES U N IT ED ST NG 12 Kobuk r R i v er 4 Yukon-Charley Rivers Fairbanks Alaska Public Lands Information Center on Tana n iv ver i t na Sus 1 Eagle River Anchorage 1 T LE OK CO Nus ha Dillingham 1 Homer ST O L Yakutat Kenai Fjords Glacier Bay GULF OF ALASKA Juneau Gustavus Katmai Y Sitka Petersburg Hoonah Kodiak Sitka Stra it Port Heiden Skagway Haines DA ES NA TAT CA D S E IT I BR A Klondike Gold Rush Seward King Salmon B Mt. St. Elias 18008ft 5489m Cordova UN SEA K WrangellSaint Elias C ha BERING KO 9 4 tham S KU W Soldotna 1 Valdez McCarthy IN Rive r Y B A Iliamna k ga Chitina er Prince William Sound Kenai Lake Clark Nabesna Gulkana Palmer Bethel IM River Ku sko kw im Glennallen 5 2 1 Slana 3 13 Alaska Public Lands Information Center Tok 8 River 8 5 Ri 4 Mt. McKinley 20320ft 6194m Alaska Public Lands Information Center a 2 McKinley Park Denali R Eagle 2 3 er Yu k NORTON SOUND Alaska’s immense size can make travel to and through the state challenging. Some planning is necessary. Just getting to Alaska can be an adventure involving travel by air, highway, and sea. Commercial airlines serve Anchorage, Fairbanks, Juneau, and other towns, while cruise ships ply Alaska’s southeastern waters through the Inside Passage. The Alaska Marine Highway transports people and vehicles on ferries from the Lower 48 to towns in Southeast Alaska and between points in Southcentral Alaska. The Alaska Highway, paved in Alaska and most of Canada, is open and maintained year-round. It extends 1500 miles from Dawson Creek, British Columbia, to Fairbanks, Alaska, and provides a land link with roads to the south. Subsistence hunting, fshing and gathering by rural Alaskans continues on many park lands here. These customary and traditional uses of wild renewable resources are for direct personal or family consumption. Local residency and customary reliance on these uses determines eligibility for continued subsistence uses on national park lands. 6 2 Nome Copp S IA S S TAT E U R S ED IT UN Uses of Park Lands: Many national park lands in Alaska are designated as national preserves.This designation allows for uses not typical in national parks or national monuments in the continental United States. Within these preserves, sport hunting and trapping are permitted subject to state fsh and game laws, seasons, and bag limits; and to federal laws and regulations. Gates of the Arctic 11 Kotzebue Private Lands: Privately owned lands are located within and next to park boundaries throughout Alaska. These private lands are not open to public use or travel without permission from the owners. Check with park staff to determine the location of private lands and public easements. Unauthorized use or travel across private lands could be deemed criminal trespass. 6 9 KOTZEBUE SOUND SEA Anaktuvuk Pass Rive r Travel Tips Once in Alaska, you may have several options for travel to the park lands. Unlike most National Park Service areas in the Lower 48, most in Alaska are not accessible by road. Scheduled air service to towns and villages will put you within air-taxi distance of most of these hard-to-reach parks. Experiencing Alaska’s more remote treasures can require signifcant time, effort, and money and may involve air or boat charters, rafts, kayaks, and hiking. See the back of this brochure for access information for individual parks. Inupiat Heritage Center EA R For information about individual parks, contact them directly (see back of this brochure) or visit the National Park Service website at www.nps.gov/akso/index.cfm. For information about national parks or other public lands in Alaska, visit or contact the Alaska Public Lands Information Centers in Anchorage, Fairbanks, Ketchikan, and Tok, or visit their homepage at www.AlaskaCenters.gov. • Anchorage: 605 West Fourth Avenue, Anchorage, AK 995012248, 907-644-3661 or 866-869-6887 • Fairbanks: Morris Thompson Cultural and Visitors Center, 101 Dunkel Street, Suite 110, Fairbanks, AK 99701-4848, 907-459-3730 or 866-869-6887 • Ketchikan: Southeast Alaska Discovery Center, 50 Main Street, Ketchikan, AK 99901-6659, 907-228-6220 • Tok: P.O. Box 359, Tok, AK 99780-0359, 907-883-5667 or 888-256-6784. Tourist information is available from the Department of Commerce, Community and Economic Development, P.O. Box 110804, Juneau, AK 99811-0804, www.travelalaska.com. For information about ferry or railroad travel in Alaska, contact: • Alaska Marine Highw
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