Monday, February 25, 2008

Communitarian Regional Integration via U.S. Parks

I'm doing some quick research trying to find the source for a City data site that claims the employment rates are going to raise 12% here in the next 3 years. There's no industry to speak of here, the farms are mostly all family owned. Where are these new jobs going to come from? My guess is Princess Tours has plans to expand their operations into the Wrangells and build a repeat of what they accomplished in Denali.

McKinley Village is their "new" town outside Healy, Alaska. Only open in the summer, it hosts hundreds of thousands of visitors in giant hotels. Main street on the Parks Highway is like an Alaskan Disneyland facade with cute little retail cabins and raised wooden walkways. The majority of the employees are young Europeans and outsiders who work long hours for low wages, live in compounds owned by Princess and drink like there's no tomorrow. These operations contribute little to the local economy, are gaining more land by the minutes, and the Park's officials control ALL new local development (I met the Park Director's secretary in Cantwell and she filled me in on the way political decisions are made in Denali Park).

There is already a 200 acre Princess Hotel near Copper Center on the Richardson Hwy. I've seen plans that call the roads between here and Denali Park "adventure corridors." While flagging on the Edgerton last summer I heard more than one visitor exclaim shock! at seeing so many people out here because they were told it's a wilderness.

The Kluane/Wrangell-St. Elias National Parks, Yukon and Alaska: Seeking Sustainability through Biosphere Reserves

D. Scott Slocombe
Mountain Research and Development, Vol. 12, No. 1 (Feb., 1992), pp. 87-96
This article consists of 10 page(s):


"Biosphere reserve" is a Unesco designation intended to recognize areas with strong natural values and minimal human use. Biosphere reserve designation encourages regional integration of protected areas through the establishment of buffer zones and locally-based management committees. It also promotes use of biosphere reserves for environmental monitoring and research. This concept becomes relevant in terms of regional integration, scientific management, and sustainable development concerns in and around many protected areas. It suggests the need to assess proposed and potential biosphere reserves in the context of regional environmental and cultural change. This paper discusses the prospects and implications of biosphere reserve designation for the Kluane/Wrangell-St. Elias National Parks and Preserve region which extends both sides of the Canada-USA boundary in Yukon and Alaska. Here it could contribute to regional integration and coordination of activities for sustainable development and provide scientific information concerning environmental and socioeconomic change. /// "Reserve de la biosphere" est un terme utilise par l'Unesco pour designer des zones d'un grand interet naturel et d'utilisation humaine de longue duree. Cette designation encourage l'integration regionale des zones protegees, qui peut se faire en etablissant des zones tampons et des comites de gestion locaux. Elle encourage egalement l'utilisation des reserves de la biosphere pour la surveillance et l'etude de l'environnement. Ce concept devient pertinent en termes d'integration regionale, de gestion scientifique et de developpement soutenable pour beaucoup de zones protegees. Il suggere le besoin d'evaluer les reserves de la biosphere, proposees et potentielles, dans le cadre du changement environnemental et culturel regional. Cet article examine les perspectives d'avenir et les implications de la designation en tant que "reserve de la biosphere" des Parcs nationaux Kluane/Wrangell-St. Elias et de la reserve naturelle qui s'etend des deux cotes de la frontiere entre le Canada et les Etats-Unis dans le Yukon et l'Alaska. Pour cette region, la designation pourrait contribuer a l'integration regionale et a la coordination des activites visant a un developpement soutenable, et a la collecte de donnees scientifiques relatives au changement environnemental et socioeconomique. /// Nach einer Definition der Unesco sind "Biospharenreservate" Gebiete mit nahezu intakter Natur und hohem menschlichen Nutzungswert, den es zu erhalten gilt. Die Erklarung eines Gebietes zum Biospharenreservat bestimmt das Ausmass der regionalen Integration von geschutzten Landschaftsgebieten durch Schaffung von Schutzgurteln unter ortsansassigem Management. Daneben fordern Biospharenreservate die Uberwachung und Erforschung der Umwelt. Regionale Integration, wissenschaftliches Management und langzeitige Entwicklung der vielen Schutzgebiete und ihrer Umgebung sind fur dieses Konzept wichting. Vorgesehene und potentielle Biospharenreservate mussen hinsichtlich ihrer regionalen Umweltveranderungen und der kulturellen Folgen beurteilt werden. Diese Veroffentlichung diskutiert die Aussichten und Folgen fur den Fall, dass die Kluane/Wrangell-St. Elias Nationalparks und Schutzgebiete zum Biospharenreservat erklart werden, das sich beidseitig der kanadisch-amerikanischen Grenze im Yukon Territorium und in Alaska erstreckt. Hier konnte es zur regionalen Integration und zur Koordination des langfristigen Naturschutzes beitragen, und konnte ausserdem wissenschaftliche Information uber Umweltveranderungen und sozio-okonomischen Wandel liefern."

Now I know this is old news for most outside Americans since they've been stealing land for the parks for a long time down there. But they haven't won all of Alaska yet, there's still a strong local presense that won't just move away so the tourists can see wild animals on the road between here and Denali. And I don't imagine it will matter much to people here that French and German academics have been aware of plans to regionalize us and create buffer zones here since at least 1992.

Notice this is the first International Park, as it crosses the border with Canada and includes Kluane, Yukon Territory. That's actually gorgeous country and I always stopped there whenever I drove the Alcan Highway, so on a personal level I don't mind being lumped in with those hardy folks. But this is what regionalization (NAU) is designed to do, and it's ALL established under the supremacy of communitarian law.

Development in this region will be conducted as all communitarian development is.. by tiny committees "protecting" it. Maybe we need to start our own community development committee so that when the changes come we remain the rulers of our region.

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