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Proclamation 4614—Bering Land Bridge National Monument

December 01, 1978

By the President of the United States of America

A Proclamation

The Bering Land Bridge, now overlain by the Chukchi Sea, the Bering Sea and Bering Strait, was the migration route by which many plants, animals, and humans arrived on the North American continent. The monument hereby created has within it an invaluable record of this migration.

There are found here rich archeological sites giving evidence of human migration during the periods the Bridge was waterfree. Also found are paleontological sites providing abundant evidence of the migration of plants and animals onto the continent in the ages before the human migrations. The arctic conditions here are favorable to the preservation of this paleontological record from minute pollen grains and insects to the large mammals such as the mammoth.

The monument is also the summering area for a number of Old World bird species, which feed and nest in the area. It is one of the few places in North America where ornithologists are able to study these species.

The diversity of the soils, topography, permafrost action and climate within the monument leads to an excellent representation of varied, yet interrelated tundra plant communities. Their proximity and diversity make the area a prime outdoor laboratory.

The area is also rich in volcanics. Here is the opportunity to study unique Arctic lava flows which erupted through deep permafrost. The tubes and cracks of these flows are now filled with the sheen of permanent ice. In the Devil Mountain area are the uniquely paired maar explosion craters which were formed by violent explosions resulting from the steam pressure released when the hot volcanic ejecta contacted the water and ice that covered this wetland area. These craters are now crystal clear lakes bounded by a shoreline of volcanic ash, cinders and scoria.

The land withdrawn and reserved by this Proclamation for the protection of the geological, archeological, paleontological, biological and other phenomena enumerated above supports now, as it has in the past, the unique subsistence culture of the local residents. The continued existence of this culture, which depends on subsistence hunting, and its availability for study, enhance the historic and scientific values of the natural objects protected herein because of the ongoing interaction 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 Bering Land Bridge 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 Bering Land Bridge National Monument on the map numbered BELA-90,006 attached to and forming a part of this Proclamation. The area reserved consists of approximately 2,590,000 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 tee 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.

Signature of Jimmy Carter


Note: The maps detailing the boundaries of the Bering Land Bridge National Monument are printed in the FEDERAL REGISTER of December 5, 1978.

Jimmy Carter, Proclamation 4614—Bering Land Bridge National Monument Online by Gerhard Peters and John T. Woolley, The American Presidency Project https://www.presidency.ucsb.edu/node/244421

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