National Park Service Puts Out New Guidelines For Kennicott Area

Kennicott Mill. (Photo, Copper River Country Journal/Bearfoot Guides) It's Gonna Be A Whole New Story In  Kennicott & McCart...


Kennicott Mill. (Photo, Copper River Country Journal/Bearfoot Guides)

It's Gonna Be A Whole New Story In 
Kennicott & McCarthy This Summer!

Here's a link to the new rules from the National Park Service, taken from
the Wrangell-St. Elias Website, and dated April 24th, 2020.


Copper Center, AK. In response to guidance from the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) and the State of Alaska and in support of federal, state, and local efforts to slow the spread of the novel coronavirus (COVID-19), Wrangell-St. Elias National Park and Preserve is adapting park operations to limited and strategic locations where visitors typically congregate or frequent in close spaces or high numbers. Within the Kennecott Mines National Historic Landmark (KNHL) as described below, Wrangell-St. Elias National Park and Preserve is committed to working with the local community as well as businesses that have a current commercial use authorization permit or concession contract, to develop safe and socially-distanced tours and guided hiking opportunities for visitors.

As of April 24, 2020, Wrangell-St. Elias National Park and Preserve offers limited visitor services, primarily those that support visitor or resource protection and federal subsistence permits.

The following park areas and facilities are closed to public use, effective immediately, until further notice:
• All buildings administered by the National Park Service (NPS) in the Mill Site of the KNHL;
o The Mill Site is defined in 36 CFR 13.1904(d) as the area bounded by Bonanza Creek to the north, the Kennicott Glacier to the west, the 2,200-foot contour line to the east, and Sweet Creek to the south.
• Kendesnii Campground;
o Kendesnii Campground is defined as the designated land beginning at approximately mile 28.3 on the Nabesna Road, following an eastern direction on the Nabesna Road to mile 28.5 (at private property boundary), then south approximately 1000 feet (along private property boundary), then west 600 feet to Twin Lake and following north along the shoreline of lake, extending north from the peninsula of the lake at the edge of the campground, north to Nabesna Road at mile 28.3.
• The following public use cabins:
o Esker Stream;
o Caribou Creek;
o Viking Lodge; and
o Nugget Creek.

Restrictions and Public Use Limits: the following activities are prohibited on NPS lands, effective immediately, until further notice:
• Camping within the KNHL;
• Use of the Erie Mine Trail within the KNHL;
• Use of the Root Glacier Trail within the KNHL;
• Use of the Bonanza Mine Trail within the KNHL; and
• Use of the Jumbo Mine Trail within the KNHL.

The closures and restrictions apply to all individuals subject to the regulatory authority of the NPS within the boundaries of Wrangell-St. Elias National Park and Preserve, except:
• Federal and State of Alaska employees while performing essential government duties;
• Businesses performing any work necessary for the operations and maintenance of essential infrastructure are exempt from the closure of NPS-administered buildings in the Mill Site;
• Businesses necessary for providing safe public access to NPS-administered buildings and trails, as described above, are exempt from the closure, contingent on NPS approval of a risk management plan that includes adequate provisions for ensuring public health and safety;
• Members of the general public who are participating in guided tours operated by NPS- approved businesses within the KNHL;
• Kennecott-McCarthy-area community members and qualified Federal subsistence users are exempt from the prohibitions on use of the Erie Mine Trail, use of the Root Glacier Trail, use of the Bonanza Mine Trail, use of the Jumbo Mine Trail, and camping within the KNHL where not prohibited by 36 CFR 13.1904(d);
• Qualified Federal subsistence users are exempt from the closure of the Kendesnii Campground and the four specified public use cabins, if use is authorized by the Superintendent through issuance of a permit or reservation, respectively;
• For the purposes of this administrative order, Kennecott-McCarthy-area community members are defined as all people who maintain a full-time or part-time residence including homeowners and renters within the boundaries defined by the Chitina River drainage from Crystal Creek to the Canadian border. This definition also includes business owners and their employees residing within this area.

The health and safety of our visitors, employees, volunteers, communities and partners is our priority. Visitors come from diverse and distant locations to the rural and remote locations in and around Wrangell-St. Elias National Park and Preserve. These closures and restrictions are strategic and limited in scope to those areas where visitors typically congregate or frequent in close spaces or high numbers. The NPS is working service-wide with federal, state, and local authorities to closely monitor the COVID-19 pandemic and to create ways to provide services safely. We will notify the public when we resume full operations and provide updates on our website https://www.nps.gov/wrst/index.htm and social media channels.

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