By the President of the United States of America
An area of southeastern Alaska adjacent to the International Boundary with Canada contains a variety of landforms, including high mountain peaks and steep canyons, with associated geological, ecological, biological, and historical phenomena of great importance.
The area includes the greatest assemblage of mountain peaks over 14,500 feet in elevation found in the Nation, the Nation's second highest mountain (Mount St. Elias, at 18,008 feet), several inactive and one active volcano (Mount Wrangell), and an active glacial complex, including some of the largest and longest glaciers in the Nation. The high mountain peaks and glaciers offer an excellent opportunity for glaciological studies. The Malaspina Glacier is listed on the National Registry of Natural Landmarks.
Thermal features in the area include the mud cones and hot springs on the western base of Mount Drum. More complete undeveloped river systems exist here than in any other land area in the Nation, with more than 1,000 miles of powerfully running, silt-laden rivers.
Biologically unique subspecies of flora and fauna have developed in the Bremner and Chitina River Valleys. As a result of their isolation by virtue of ice fields and the Copper River, these areas are virtually ecological islands in which development of subspecies is largely unaffected by interchange with outside plant and animal species.
Wildlife populations include the largest population of wild mountain sheep in North America, moose, mountain goat, and a non-migratory population of caribou. The area is the only part of Alaska where four of the five identifiable forms of bear occur, including the interior grizzly, the coastal brown bear, the black bear, and the rare, blue-color phase of the black bear called glacier bear. Along the coast of the Gulf of Alaska bald eagles and a large .and varied shorebird population occur.
Cultural development within the area is of interest to archeologists and historians. Three major culture areas converge here, each with distinctive cultural patterns: the North Athapascans, the Pacific Eskimo, and the Chugach. Mining history is evidenced by the Kennecott Copper works, a National Historic Landmark.
The land withdrawn and reserved by this Proclamation for the protection of the geological, archeological, biological, and other phenomena enumerated above supports now, as it has in the past, a unique subsistence culture of the local residents. The continued existence of this culture, which depends on subsistence bunting, and its availability for study, enhances the historic and scientific values of the natural objects protected herein because of the ongoing inter. action of the subsistence culture with those objects. Accordingly, the opportunity for local residents to engage in subsistence hunting is a value to be protected and will continue under the administration of the monument.
Section 2 of the Act of June 8, 1906 (34 Stat. 225, 16 U.S.C. 431), authorizes the President, in his discretion, to declare by public proclamation historic landmarks, historic and prehistoric structures, and other objects of historic or scientific interest that are situated upon the lands owned or controlled by the Government of the United States to be national monuments, and to reserve as part thereof parcels of land, the limits of which in all cases shall be confined to the smallest area compatible with the proper care and management of the objects to be protected.
Now, THEREFORE, I, JIMMY CARTER, President of the United States of America, by the authority vested in me by Section 2 of the Act of June 8, 1906 (34 Stat. 225, 16 U.S.C. 431), do proclaim that there are hereby set apart and reserved as the Wrangell-St. Elias National Monument all lands, including submerged lands, and waters owned or controlled by the United States within the boundaries of the area depicted as the Wrangell-St. Elias National Monument on the map numbered WRST-90,007 attached to and forming a part of this Proclamation. The area reserved consists of approximately 10,950,000 acres, and is the smallest area compatible with the proper care and management of the objects to be protected. Lands, including submerged lands, and waters within these boundaries not owned by the United States shall be reserved as a part of the monument upon acquisition of title thereto by the United States.
All lands, including submerged lands, and all waters within the boundaries of this monument are hereby appropriated and withdrawn from entry, location, selection, sale or other disposition under the public land laws, other than exchange. There is also reserved all water necessary to the proper care and management of those objects protected by this monument and for the proper administration of the monument in accordance with applicable laws.
The establishment of this monument is subject to valid existing rights, including, but not limited to, valid selections under the Alaska Native Claims Settlement Act, as amended (43 U.S.C. 1601 et seq.), and under or confirmed in the Alaska Statehood Act (48 U.S.C. Note preceding Section 21).
Nothing in this Proclamation shall be deemed to revoke any existing withdrawal, reservation or appropriation, including any withdrawal under Section 17 (d) (1) of the Alaska Native Claims Settlement Act (43 U.S.C. 1616(d) (1)); however, the national monument shall be the dominant reservation. Nothing in this Proclamation is intended to modify or revoke the terms of the Memorandum of Understanding dated September 1, 1972, entered into between the State of Alaska and the United States as part of the negotiated settlement of Alaska v. Morton, Civil No. A-48-72 (D. Alaska, Complaint filed April 10, 1972).
The Secretary of the Interior shall promulgate such regulations as are appropriate, including regulation of the opportunity to engage in a subsistence lifestyle by local residents. The Secretary may close the national monument, or any portion thereof, to subsistence uses of a particular fish, wildlife or plant population if necessary for reasons of public safety, administration, or to ensure the natural stability or continued viability of such population.
Warning is hereby given to all unauthorized persons not to appropriate, injure, destroy or remove any feature of this monument and not to locate or settle upon any of the lands thereof.
IN WITNESS WHEREOF, I have hereunto set my hand this 1st day of December, in the year of our Lord nineteen hundred and seventy-eight, and of the Independence of the United States of America the two hundred and third.
[Filed with the Office of the Federal Register, 3:07 p.m., December 1, 1978]