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Dave Mihalic, Part 2
Dave Mihalic 1991

This is the continuation of an interview with Dave Mihalic on October 9, 1991 by Dan O'Neill and William Schneider in Vail, Colorado where he was attending the 75th anniversary meeting of the National Park Service. In this second part of a two part interview, Dave continues to talk about working as superintendent of Yukon-Charley Rivers National Preserve and the management issues he faced, including subsistence, the legitimacy of the "river people" who arrived in the 1960s and 1970s, mining, and hunting. He expresses his views about interpretation and implementation of the Alaska National Interest Lands Conservation Act (ANILCA), the responsibilities of the National Park Service, and dealing with animosity towards the National Park Service from local residents in Eagle, Alaska and along the rivers. He specifically discusses an episode with Joe Vogler related to his mining operation at Woodchopper Creek, and finally mentions the naming of geographical features in Yukon-Charley Rivers National Preserve and the importance of the oral history project.

After clicking play, click on a section to navigate the audio or video clip.


1) Issues that came up during his tenure at Yukon-Charley Rivers National Preserve

2) The "river people" and the National Park Service policies regarding people living within the boundaries of Yukon-Charley Rivers National Preserve

3) How ANILCA seemed to offer some flexibility in terms of who could live in the preserve area and what they could do there

4) His view that the people who went out on the river in the 1970s were "refugees," not subsistence users

5)  His distinction between the miners of the gold rush and the "grand, northern, romantic lifestyle" of the "river people"

6) His belief that ANILCA does not provide for the perpetuation of a lifestyle but only for the accommodation of users who were present in the park areas at the time of legislation

7) The National Park Service's concept of what is historical and what objects and activities should be preserved

8) Mining in the Yukon-Charley area

9) The Joe Vogler episode at Woodchopper Creek

10) More about the Joe Vogler episode

11) The National Park Service being "in it for the long haul," and shared values among National Park Service employees

12) Naming geographical features in Yukon-Charley Rivers National Preserve

13) Importance and timeliness of the oral history project on Yukon-Charley Rivers National Preserve

Click play, then use Sections or Transcript to navigate the interview.

After clicking play, click a section of the transcript to navigate the audio or video clip.


Section 1: mining\ hunting\ State of Alaska - NPS cooperation with\ Yukon-Charley - planning\ preserve versus park\ subsistence\ cabin permits\ river people - relationship with NPS\ Cook, John\ Warnock, Doug\ Peterson, Bob|

Section 2: Yukon-Charley - trespass\ McPhee, John - Coming Into the Country\ river people - trespass\ cabin permits - renewable\ Cook, John\ ANCSA\ Mihalic, Dave\ subsistence permits\ regulations - flexibility\ ANILCA|

Section 3: regulations - flexibility\ preserve versus park\ river people - values\ ANILCA\ cabin permits\ Cook, Dick\ bush living - philosophy\ subsistence - historic value\ subsistence - non-Native|

Section 4: river people - rationale\ subsistence - concept of\ "living an idea"\ bush living - level of technology\ National Park Service - concept of history\ ANILCA - intent\ cabin permits - "trigger dates"\ river people - attrition\ subsistence - perpetuation\ historic values - definition\ legislative intent - individuals versus ideas\ cabins - management\ Yukon-Charley - river people|

Section 5: Layman, Dennis\ gold rush versus recent settlers\ ANILCA - intent\ bush living - perpetuation\ subsistence - idealism\ National Park Service - interpretation of ANILCA\ subsistence users - definition|

Section 6: Mihalic, Dave\ National Park Service - interpretation of ANILCA\ subsistence users - definition\ Caulfield, Rick\ ANILCA - intent\ ANILCA - Title 8 quote\ Cook, John\ subsistence use commissions|

Section 7: gold rush\ lifestyles - preservation\ Eagle - historical change\ bush living - change|

Section 8: mining - historic continuum\ Coal Creek - preservation\ Parks Canada - preservation\ Yukon-Charley - mining\ mining - historic value\ Yukon-Charley - mining\ mining - access|

Section 9: Vogler, Joe\ RS24-77 - roads\ environment - preservation\ permits - access\ access - mining\ access permits - restrictions\ Woodchopper Creek\ Beulenberg Trail - land status\ "winter trail"|

Section 10: Conner, Roger\ Finley, Mike\ Vogler, Joe - Woodchopper Creek\ Alaskan Independence Party\ Pittman, Brian\ access permit\ regulations - enforcement\ National Park Service - public relations\ winter trail - environmental damage\ law enforcement - political aspect\ Tanner, Bill\ temporary restraining order\ Circle Hot Springs Hotel - Mihalic quote\ permits - "bona fide use"\ historic use - access\ access - historic use\ Chase, Don\ Gelvin, Ed|

Section 11: National Park Service - preservation\ Yukon-Charley - goals\ National Park Service - values\ Yukon-Charley - resource development\ resources - development\ preservation - scenery\ Biederman's Camp\ historic values - definition|

Section 12: Ulvi, Steve\ Goebel, Bill\ place naming - Mihalic's philosophy\ Mihalic, Dave\ National Park Service - place naming policy\ land - reference systems\ Biederman, Charlie\ Malcolm, Matthew\ Malcolm, Sarah\ Yukon-Charley - "a secret"\ Lake Clark\ Gates of the Arctic National Park\ Allison, Richard\ Allison, Carol\ place naming - dynamic\ Mertie, John|

Section 13: Yukon-Charley - administrative history\ National Park Service - history in Alaska\ Yukon-Charley - oral history project|