U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service

Cultural Resources

Cabin in Kenai
Cabin in Kenai. Photo credit: USFWS

Discovering, Documenting, and Preserving the Past

In addition to its wildlife resources, the National Wildlife Refuge System is steward to a rich cultural and historic legacy. Refuges in Alaska preserve 14,000 years of human history from the earliest settlers of the New World to Euro-American homesteaders and miners. Cultural resources are archaeological sites, places associated with important events or people, sacred and cultural sites, and buildings and structures.It takes a wide variety of resources to manage these asset of rich cultural history. Read more about how USFWS does this below.

The Cultural Resource Management program operates from the U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service office in Anchorage. This program provides technical support to wildlife refuges, their staffs, and agency programs within Alaska. This program administers permits (pdf) for cultural research on refuges, assists in managing museum property collections within Alaska and national repositories, performs historic site excavations, presents educational and interpretive programs, administers the Regional Site Stewardship Program, and in conjunction with cooperating agencies evaluates and nominates sites to the National Register of Historic Places.

Did you know it's illegal to destroy, deface, collect, transport, sell/trade or assisting others with these activities of archaeological, cultural and historic resources? Read about Archeological Protection.

Federal Preservation Program The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service collaborates with State and Federal agencies, museums, universities, and local communities to document and preserve cultural resources.

National Register of Historic Places and Landmarks is the Nation’s official list of cultural resources worthy of preservation. National Historic are nationally significant historic places designated by the Secretary of the Interior because they possess exceptional value or quality in illustrating or interpreting the heritage of the United States. For more information please visit the following official web sites.

Native American Graves Protection and Repatriation Act is a 1990 Federal law providing a process for museums and Federal agencies to return Native American human remains and grave goods, as well as certain specific cultural items, to lineal descendants, and culturally affiliated Indian tribes. NAGPRA includes provisions intentional and inadvertent discovery of Native American burials on Federal, and sets penalties for noncompliance and illegal trafficking.

For More information on these and other resources, contact:

Edward J. DeCleva
Regional Historic Preservation Officer / Archaeologist
U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, Alaska Region
1011 E Tudor Rd, MS-235
Anchorage, AK 99503
e: edward_decleva@fws.gov
p: 907-786-3399

Arctic Village Church
Arctic Village Church