Residents of the Wrangells is an organization comprised of concerned locals who seek
access to their homes, recreational use, and continued subsistence hunting rights
on park land. ROW has accomplished many of its goals since it’s formation in 2003.
As a direct result of our outreach program to local residents and our documentation
of NPS abuses, Governor Frank Murkowski asked for a clarification of NPS access to
inholdings in Alaskan National Parks. NPS agreed and issued their first draft of
A User’s Guide to Accessing Inholdings in a National Park Service Area in Alaska
ROW and other landowners were dismayed to find this proposal riddled with permits,
fees, environmental assessments, and other restrictions on rights-of way used to
cross NPS land to reach our homes; most of these routes existed long before the park
was established in 1980. The guarantees and special considerations granted by ANILCA
law were largely ignored as we faced the same permitting system used nationwide.
As a result of comments received, NPS issued draft two of the User’s Guide in March
of 2006. The comment period for draft two was extended until September 1, 2006.
Again the draft fell far short of reasonably meeting the needs of residents. A superb
letter from Governor Frank Murkowski called on NPS Regional Director Marcia Blaszak
to make further reforms. Director Blaszak came to McCarthy this summer to meet with
ROW’s advisory board. She has now agreed to take a bold approach by eliminating fees
and permits, seeking permanent easements coupled with a certificate of legal access
for all landowners.
This site is designed to document the process ROW has used to seek a fair settlement
with NPS. Learn about the ROW organization, read membership alerts, read articles
from the McCarthy-based Wrangell St. Elias News, view official correspondence, and
see meeting agendas. Read more about the NPS User’s Guide and view ROW comment letters
from both drafts. Learn about other land rights organizations in the state, check
out the ROW timeline of events, and view relevant photos.
Your comments are important to us so we have established interactive dialogues in
the boxes below on key issues.