Project Jukebox

Digital Branch of the University of Alaska Fairbanks Oral History Program
Jim Pepper, Part 1

Jim Pepper was interviewed by Dan O'Neill and William Schneider on October 8, 1991 at a National Park Service meeting in Vail, Colorado. Jim's friend, and a co-worker at Gates of the Arctic National Park, Mark Matsell, was also present. We were interested in Jim's recollections because he worked for the National Park Service in Washington, D.C. at the time of the legislative battle for passage of the Alaska National Interest Lands Conservation Act (ANILCA), which established many new park lands in Alaska in 1980, and had responsibilities for Alaska lands. He was then subsequently assigned to work at Gates of the Arctic National Park and Preserve.

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Digital Asset Information

Archive #: Oral History 91-22-33

Project: Gates of the Arctic National Park
Date of Interview: Oct 8, 1991
Narrator(s): Jim Pepper
Interviewer(s): Dan O'Neill, Bill Schneider
People Present: Mark Matsell
Location of Interview:
Funding Partners:
National Park Service
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1) His background and involvement with the National Park Service

2) Involvement with Alaska's "New Parks"

3) Competing visions of what Alaska's future should look like and how its uniqueness was translated into plans in Washington D.C.

4) How planners dealt with the political rejection or revision of their efforts

5) Some of the lessons personally learned in the process

6) Alaskan's basic mistrust of federal agencies and management approaches

7) Discussion of the D-2 agreements

8) The political process surrounding land settlements and Native involvement

9) Lists some of the special rights of Alaskans on federal lands

10) Alaska as a special case

11) About the need to distinguish the management of National Parks and other conservation areas

12) His involvement with issues specific to Gates of the Arctic

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Section 1: born -- Annapolis, Maryland\ Hawaii\ Long Island, NY\ Philadelphia\ Washington D.C.\ St. Vincent College -- Western Pennsylvania\ Georgetown University -- Law School\ National Park Service -- Division of Plans and Objectives; 1971\ National Park Service -- environmental education; writing\ Reynolds, John -- now head of Denver Service Center\ Kobuk -- proposal and Environmental Impact Statement\ father -- navy officer; dentist\ Puerto Rico -- San Juan; influence of\ politics -- left leaning\ National Park Service -- visionary, concerned with American Experience\ Brewster, Kingman\ Peters, Clay -- Parks Committee|

Section 2: Alaska -- great opportunity\ Environmental Impact Statement -- team put in final form\ National Environmental Study Area -- guide on how to do environmental education\ Kobuk -- final edit\ Environmental Impact Statment -- difficult\ Gates of the Arctic\ Lake Clark\ Congress -- deadline, Dec 21, 1973\ legislation -- would plan around studies\ Paige, Amy\ social scientists\ planning -- Alaska should be different\ Bureau of Land Management -- would lose acre for every park acre gained\ conflict -- interagency\ Noatak Resource Reserve\ Fish and Wildlife Service\ Kenai Fjords National Park\ Copper River Delta\ Wrangell-St. Elias\ Chukchi-Immaruk -- Bering Land Bridge\ Morton, Roger\ Reed, Nat\ resources -- contention over\ wilderness -- defacto\ Washington D.C. -- assembled\ Brown, Bill|

Section 3: Belous, Bob\ Newman, Stell\ subsistence\ sport hunting\ uniforms\ Task Force\ Henson, Al\ Swem, Ted -- chairman of Alaska Planning Group\ Refault, Bill\ villages -- relation of planning effort to\ Trexler, Keith -- rewrote master plans\ Secretary of the Interior -- separate planning group\ control -- emanated from higher up and often at odds with planning\ Task Force recommendations\ Kauffmannn, John -- wanted wandering rights\ Nunamiut National Wildlands\ Gates of the Arctic\ John River Valley\ Anaktuvuk Pass\ Reed, Nat\ Bolan, Buff\ policy -- decision-making hard to trace\ Office of Management and Budget -- agenda\ policy -- cooperative management plans thrown out at last minute, defeating purpose\ Natives -- Kauffmannn's plans with them thrown out\ sport hunting -- accepted\ Helmerick, Bud -- guiding area\ Walker Lake\ guides -- opposed park\ political process -- based on negotiation, like it or not|

Section 4: Kauffmann, John\ Brown, Bill\ sport hunting\ Jones, Randy\ Yukon-Charley Rivers\ Wrangell-St. Elias\ boundaries -- were established for political reasons\ politics -- passionate, contentious\ Alaska National Interest Lands Conservation Act\ Alaska National Interests Lands Conservation Act -- uniqueness of Alaska is reflected in it\ Congress -- unofficial rule, don't accept concessions if other party will vote against the result\ Young, Don\ park planners -- those who neglected political process felt betrayed|

Section 5: data -- critical to know your facts\ Alaska -- often lost by basing arguments on false evidence\ lock-up -- false image\ deals -- fewer sleazy deals, more factual requirements\ negotiation\ Bonyer, David -- Junior Congressman\ Tsongass, Paul\ Kostmeyer, Peter\ Burton, Phil\ Amendments -- young Congressmen often had great impact\ burnout -- by 1978, people running out of energy\ Swem, Ted -- "Keep your eye on the star"\ agencies -- learning other perspectives\ Fish and Wildlife Service -- advocates of sport hunting\ Alaska residents -- cooperative management goal, but ineffective because of lack of basis; position poorly articulated|

Section 6: Brown, Bill\ Yukon-Charley Rivers\ Antiquities Act -- created by legal action of Alaska; no choice, brought it on\ politics -- not bureaucratic control, but political\ Stevens, Senator Ted -- effective because he understands how it works\ broken faith -- breach was that those we spoke with in the field didn't support the Act; hence they lost|

Section 7: Gates of the Arctic\ National Park Service\ Alaska -- people avoid government\ state -- 100 million acres of land\ D-2 -- compromise\ Alaska Native Claims Settlement Act\ land -- management\ land -- federally owned\ Alaska -- cooperative management\ conservation\ pipeline -- construction\ Prudhoe Bay\ land selections -- block D-2 areas\ Saylor, Congressman\ Udall, Congressman\ Alaska Native Claims Settlement Act -- negotiations\ D-2 withdrawls\ Bureau of Land Management -- didn't believe in giving away large chunks of land\ Lower 48 -- checkerboard lands\ Alaska National Interest Lands Conservation Act\ conservation\ Alaska -- wilderness\ Mineral Act\ laws -- enforcement|

Section 8: politics\ Natives -- 1960's; learned tactics\ pipeline\ Russia -- U.S. promised in 1867 to deal with Native issue\ law -- whites, no historical precedent\ oil -- only reason land settlement took place\ Prudhoe Bay\ political process -- determines policy\ Alaska -- enormously effective in what it has gotten\ revenue -- from wildlife refuges\ federal estate percentage\ demography -- most urbanized state in America\ resources -- comparatively few conflicts\ Alaska National Wildlife Refuge\ Southeast Forests\ cooperative management -- favored allowing subsistence for newcomers\ Stevens, Senator Ted -- flexible system\ Native preference\ Native Subsistence Commission -- never effectively utilized\ authority -- tripartite; state; federal; citizen\ Melcher, Senator\ Hanson, Senator\ National Rifle Association -- felt parks should be managed differently\ Alaska -- state opposed giving citizens management authority, and still does\ Alaska National Interest Lands Conservation Act -- allows special uses for Alaskans|

Section 9: guns -- personal protection\ access -- rights of\ compromises -- found in no other land law in America\ management -- flexibility\ revenue -- from resources\ impact -- on federal law\ Alaska Lands Council\ National Park Service lands -- discussion of acreage; disputed figures\ history -- ninety-nine percent of Alaska was federal land before any of this started\ Alaska -- state of; thirty to forty percent in private or state uses\ Naske, Claus\ Nevada -- ninety percent is owned by the federal government\ National Park Service -- fifty to fifty-five million acres; of three hundred seventy-five acres|

Section 10: National Parks -- first time established over objection of Congressional Committee\ Natives -- originally favored establishing refuges\ Alaskans -- diverse perspectives\ wilderness protection -- desire was present in Alaska\ law -- enormously responsive\ Stevens, Senator Ted -- got things for Alaska\ environmentalists -- felt too much development\ pipeline corridors -- most flexible Bureau of Land Management policy\ Naske, Claus -- enormous hostility to conservation areas\ Real Alaska Coalition\ "CEMAL" Industry Group -- unsupportable claims\ Gravel, Mike Senator\ Stevens, Senator -- wife killed\ Abrams, Elliot\ Gravel -- shot his mouth off\ Natural Monuments\ Porchot, Pat\ Alaska -- many visions were realized\ development -- price, conservation areas established|

Section 11: Bureau of Land Management -- rules most lenient anywhere in nation\ Wild and Scenic Rivers\ Wildlife Refuges -- allow oil development, timber, etc.\ Alaska National Interest Lands Conservation Act\ Wilderness Act -- passed only in previous decade, not surprising most is in Alaska\ National Park Service -- wanted different kind of park than in Lower 48\ Katmai -- brown bears\ ecosystems -- enormously large in Alaska\ caribou -- western herd\ Porcupine Caribou Herd\ U.S. Fish and Wildlife\ fly-way -- multinational agreements\ Alaska -- life is stretched thin\ Gates of the Arctic -- subsistence\ boundaries -- set to accommodate speculative mining interests|

Section 12: Gates of the Arctic -- issues\ conservation\ Brooks Range -- western\ factors -- relevant to formation of park\ ultimate wilderness\ Marshall, Bob\ romanticism\ Arctic caribou herd -- crash of; turn of century, 1970's; theories\ Killik Lake -- west side of Gates\ Alaska Department of Fish and Game\ Petroleum Reserve\ Cooperative Management\ American Heritage -- more than just the land; people\ subsistence -- wanted to protect\ ecosystem -- plan for management to include culture\ minerals -- copper belts\ Santini, Congressman\ exclusions -- parts of Kobuk, John, Koyukuk Rivers; entire north side of Brooks Range\ Nixon\ marten\ Carter, Jimmy\ Gates of the Arctic -- lost idea of being total ecosystem to development interests\ oil/gas pipelines\ inholdings -- placer mines\ Mining Act\ Hammond River\ Andrus, Cecil Secretary\ Antiquities Act\ boundary issues|