John Kauffmann
This recording with John Kauffmann was made in Fairbanks at the sound recording studio, Rasmuson Library, University of Alaska Fairbanks. John was in town for a short visit. He is a key man for what became Gates of the Arctic National Park and is completing a book on Gates of the Arctic. Patty Rost, head of the Resources Department of Gates of the Arctic National Park, was also present at the interview. The interview was conducted by William Schneider who knew John during the years that they both worked for the National Park Service in the Anchorage office. On this recording, John speaks passionately about wilderness, at one point referring to Gates as a "Black Belt Park wilderness." The interview was a bit rushed since John was late and then was heading off to the airport to leave the State.

Click on a section below to hear audio

John Kauffmann talks to William Schneider about...

1) ...his personal background.

born--Oct. 5, 1923\ Champaign, IL\ Washington D.C.\ family--Washington Evening Star\ Princeton University\ English degree|

2) ...his work history at the Park Service.

temporary editorial clerk\ trail crewman\ seasonal ranger\ park specialist--planner\ Washington D.C.--writer|

3) ...first visit to Alaska.

film project--Alaska's Park Resources\ script writer--liaison for\ Dyhrenfurth, Norm G.--former leader of American Everest Expedition\ Udall, Secretary Stewart\ Glacier Bay National Monument\ Katmai National Monument\ Mt. McKinley National Park|

4) ...overflight of Brooks Range.

impressions\ Interior Department Grumman Goose\ Arrigetch Peaks\ Mt. Igikpak\ Lake Clark\ Merrill Pass|

5) ...assignment to Alaska.

park planner\ Swem, Theodor R.--Assistant Director for Cooperative Activities and Planning\ D-1, D-2 withdrawals--assessment and recommendation\ planning team--Central Brooks Range and Noatak\ Weisbrod, Dr. Richard--ecologist\ LaRock, Jim--landscape architect\ McCrary, Paul--Interpretive Planner\ Nichols, Robert--part-time archaeologist\ ground truthing--Arrigetch\ Clear River Headwaters\ Bob Marshall Country|

6) ...a highlight of Gates of the Arctic and the Noatak Basin.

Cline, Dave--Fish and Wildlife\ Dapkus, David--Alaska office of the Bureau of Outdoor Recreation\ Wild River studies\ McLenegan's 1885 Exploration\ Smith, Philip--USGS\ Noatak Basin\ articles--Living Wilderness (pub. of Wilderness Society)\ Explorers Journal--publication of Explorers Club\ Grand Canyon of Noatak\ Young, Steven B.--Center for Northern Studies|

7)...a highlight of Gates of the Arctic and the Noatak Basin. (cont...)

Williamson, Dr. Frank--Smithsonian\ UNESCO--Noatak or "world ecological resource"\ Noatak Inupiat Preserve\ Nichols, Bob\ Noatak's importance--scientific value, biological diversity, archeology|

8)...goals in planning the Park.

ecological integrity\ fighting for space\ Johnson Administration--proposed 2 units separated by John River Valley\ splitting unwise\ lawsuit--feds vs state--state won lower John River\ Lower Alatna\ Iniakuk Lake\ sacrifices--Ambler, Kogoluktuk, Shungnak\ Stenmark, Dick\ National Park Service--opposed their exclusion\ recovered upper Ambler\ mining claims|

9)...visions of Gates of the Arctic National Park values.

Gates of the Arctic as "premier wilderness park"\ ultimate park experience\ black belt park\ farthest wilderness event\ Marshall, Bob--influence of "country of solitude"\ fragile resource\ perpetuation\ Marshall, Bob--elation, reverence, ecstasy|

10)...park philosophy.

"Keep it Tough"\ premier wilderness park\ black belt park\ "molder" of American character\ wilderness--value to humans\ intrinsic value\ humans--part of, not masters\ litmus test--"health of the world"|

11)...results today of park formation.

Alaska National Interest Lands Conservation Act--saddening, concerned--activities undermine, rot wilderness values\ roads and rivers--states claims\ All Terrain Vehicles\ mining\ people|

12)...results today of park formation. (cont...)

private inholdings\ real estate "time bomb"\ threats today--dire, pervasive\ recommendations--reassess Alaska National Interest Lands Conservation Act\ single management\ remove all threats|

13)...park boundary issues.

river systems: Noatak, Koyukuk, Itkillik, Alatna, Killik, Colville\ land withdrawals--township and range lines\ physiography--should have determined boundaries\ politics--acreage|

14)...park boundaries continued.

the "boot"--upper Kobuk, Selby and Narvak Lakes\ Reed, Secretary--supported inclusion\ Waldrop, Bob--trip down Kobuk\ Kogoluktuk\ Kurupa Lake\ Cascade Lake|

15) book forthcoming.

"ALASKA'S BROOKS RANGE: The Ultimate Mountains"-- book title\ Brooks Range--geographically northernmost, ultimate U.S. mountains, ultimate wilderness|