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Suzy Stutzman and Dick Ring, Part 1

Dick Ring and Suzy Stutzman were interviewed by Dan O'Neill and Bill Schneider on October 9, 1991 in Vail, Colorado at a major meeting of National Park Service personnel. Dick was the first Superintendent of Gates of the Arctic National Park and Preserve, and Suzy worked for him as a planner. In this interview, they talk about the establishment and early days of management of Gates of the Arctic National Park, community attitudes that existed toward the National Park Service at the time, and handling of park management issues like use of all-terrain vehicles.

Digital Asset Information

Archive #: Oral History 91-22-45

Project: Gates of the Arctic National Park
Date of Interview: Oct 9, 1991
Narrator(s): Suzy Stutzman, Dick Ring
Interviewer(s): Dan O'Neill, Bill Schneider
Location of Interview:
Funding Partners:
National Park Service
Alternate Transcripts
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1) Dick's background and early Park experience

2) Suzie's background and early park experience

3) Early efforts in Gates of the Arctic National Park

4) Subsistence and the dilemmas it posed for park management and planning

5) Resolving tensions within the legislation as managers

6) Modifications of National Park Service management practices

7) Administrative decisions about headquarters, staff, etc.

8) Community attitudes towards the National Park Service

9) Implementing the Alaska National Interest Lands Conservation Act

10) Use of All Terrain Vehicles in and around parklands

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Section 1: born 1947 -- Patterson, N.J.\ Penn State\ U.S. Army -- Combat Engineering Unit\ University of Rhode Island\ George Washington University\ outdoor experience -- childhood\ Adirondacks\ Delaware River\ National Park Service -- 1972\ George Washington Memorial Parkway\ job offer -- 1981, first superintendent of Gates of the Arctic National Park\ Cook, John\ Bettles Lodge\ Regional Office -- Anchorage|

Section 2: born -- Illinois\ landscape architecture\ University of Illinois\ Yellowstone National Park\ Denver Service Center -- National Park Service\ Gates of the Arctic Planning -- extreme ideal of National Park Service\ Regional Office -- Anchorage\ Congressional deadline -- January 1, 1984.|

Section 3: Cook, John -- Regional Director\ Belous, Bob\ Jones, Randy\ Cunningham, Bob -- Denali\ Mahalik, Dave\ Bane, Ray -- anthropologist\ advice -- Alaska as different as you ever imagined\ scale -- beyond what can be shown on map\ park planning -- first management effort\ scale -- whole regions, ecosystems\ benchmark park -- premier wilderness park\ legislation -- fitting park to it\ vastness -- eight million acres\ political pressures -- conservation groups\ existing use\ homesites\ T and M sites\ mining sites\ placer mining claims\ Native land selections\ statute -- hard fought compromise\ deviations -- from normal National Park policies\ subsistence\ aircraft\ cabins\ Alaska Land Bank|

Section 4: Bane, Ray -- early subsistence studies\ legal terms\ traditional use\ local rural resident\ subsistence -- volatile issue\ politics -- state vs federal government\ Alaska Department of Fish and Game\ Subsistence Advisory Commission -- Gates of the Arctic\ Department of Interior\ local rural resident -- defining\ definitions -- domicile vs residence\ Anaktuvuk Pass\ Bettles -- Natives and non-Natives\ traditional means\ airplanes\ implementation -- patience, compromise, sensitivity\ congressional limits\ revisitation|

Section 5: inherent tension -- wilderness mandate vs living area\ Sierra Club\ Wilderness Society\ mining\ homesteading\ wilderness -- defining as non-exclusive of man\ Congress -- far thinking\ National Interest Lands\ local views -- wild land, why worry?\ Congress -- protect over time\ government presence -- designed for future\ park presence -- effects of rules on wildness\ public use\ National Park Service mandate -- small price now or large price in future|

Section 6: communications -- equipment and coverage\ backcountry permits -- only in selected areas\ Arrigetch Peaks\ registration -- voluntary\ group size -- limits\ visitor contact -- access points only\ Bettles\ Anaktuvuk Pass\ Coldfoot\ park patrols\ licensing -- guides, outfitters|

Section 7: Fairbanks\ access -- populations center and other agencies\ Bureau of Land Management\ Alaska Department of Fish and Game\ University of Alaska\ Department of Natural Resources\ Doyon Native Corporation\ United States Fish and Wildlife Service\ locations -- well distributed\ Bering Land Bridge\ Northeast Areas\ Kotzebue\ Bettles -- summer headquarters\ staff size|

Section 8: National Momument designation\ task force\ enforcement\ controversy\ Mahalik, Dave\ Smith, Rick\ National Park Service -- animosity toward\ legacy -- arrival in 1981 effected by earlier enforcement oriented approach\ change -- sent in personnel to talk, listen, learn\ resentment\ personnel -- treatment of\ local reaction\ reaction -- negative\ park - planning\ public meetings\ local view -- provisions shouldn't exist in first place\ Alaska National Interest Lands Conservation Act -- legitimacy of\ Lands Act -- implementation\ Lands Act -- content\ law -- passage battle\ law -- reluctance to re-visit\ law -- acceptance of\ National Park Service goal -- try to make legislation work before changing it\ Park Service -- trying to be sensitive\ park planning --explanation of\ rules -- reaction to\ reactions -- Native and non-Native\ Athabascan\ Eskimo\ Kuuvangmiut\ Nunamiut\ common interest -- Natives and National Park Service\ land -- protection of\ subsistence -- allow continuance, defend against Western encroachment\ goals -- assistance with\ Native culture -- learning to understand|

Section 9: Alaska National Interest Lands Conservation Act\ law -- implementation of\ cooperation\ resistance\ acceptance\ compromise\ law -- dislike of\ law -- rexamination of\ beliefs -- holding onto\ law -- settlement of interests\ local residents\ provisions -- successful\ park -- new\ management practices -- new\ management -- testing\ US Congress\ environmentalists\ state government\ law -- passage\ passage -- battle over\ law -- creation of\ law -- not change\ political process -- authority of\ National Park Service --responsibility\ law -- implementation of\ change -- political question\ elected leaders -- role of\ political leadership -- reluctance of\ information -- lack of\ decision -- professional\ law -- administration of\ reactions -- changes in\ land -- locked up\ land -- private\ land -- federal\ law -- explanation of\ boundaries\ issues -- lack of explanation for |

Section 10: Anaktuvuk Pass\ subsistence\ traditional means\ survival -- new technologies embraced\ village -- recent, 1950's\ river access -- lack of\ winter access -- snow machines, dog teams\ Congressional intent -- accommodate Anaktuvuk Pass\ land deal -- proposed\ National Park Service -- recommendations\ land deal -- brought Park and Village closer\ All Terrain Vehicles -- immediate conflict between Natives and federal government|