For over 10,000 years, humans have depended on the natural resources of the upper Tanana River drainage for survival. These land and water resources have been essential for food, clothing, shelter, tools and items for trade and barter with neighbors. This way of life is based upon an elemental reciprocal agreement made in the dawn of prehistory between man and the wildlife of Alaska. For his part, man agreed to take only what he needed and to be respectful of the wildlife and fish. In return, the animals and fish promised to freely give themselves to him so that he too might survive on the land.
This agreement is a basis of the cultural heritage of the native people of interior Alaska today. Many other rural residents share this natural resource philosophy.
The Refuge offers several subsistence opportunities to local residents: a winter moose and caribou hunt, a spring waterfowl hunt and fishing opportunities throughout the year.
The subsistence way of life is protected by the Alaska National Interest Lands Conservation Act (ANILCA) of 1980. For a more detailed description of the issues and laws applicable to subsistence uses see http://www.subsistmgtinfo.org/news.htm.