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Proclamation 4617—Gates of the Arctic National Monument

December 01, 1978

By the President of the United States of America

A Proclamation

Lying wholly north of the Arctic Circle, the Gates of the Arctic National Monument hereby created preserves an area containing a wide variety of interior arctic geological and biological forms. The essence of the geology of the area is its great diversity. There are excellent examples of glacial action which formed U-shaped valleys and morraine-dammed lakes. In contrast are the fissure-shaped precipices of Ernie Creek and the tilted limestone blocks along the northern edge of the Brooks Range.

Associated with these various land forms is a progression of ecosystems representing a continuum of communities from the boreal spruce forest and riparian shrub thickets in the south to the arctic tussock tundra in the north. These communities of plants and undisturbed animals offer excellent opportunities for study of natural interaction of the species.

The monument also protects a substantial portion of the habitat requirements for the Western Arctic caribou herd which uses ancient routes through the mountains for migration. This herd, which has suffered severe population losses recently, is of great value for the study of the population dynamics relating to both the decline and recovery of the herd.

The archeological and historical significance of the area is demonstrated by the studies which have revealed evidence of human habitation for approximately 7,000 years. Several known traditional Indian-Eskimo trade routes run through the monument area giving the promise of further important archeological discoveries. In the Wiseman and Ernie's Cabin mining regions in the south are offered opportunities for historical study of the life of the Alaskan pioneer miner of the early twentieth century.

The land withdrawn and reserved by this Proclamation for the protection of the biological, geological, archeological, historical, and other phenomena enumerated above supports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 upon 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 tinder 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 Gates of the Arctic 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 Gates of the Arctic National Monument on the map numbered GAAR-90,011 attached to and forming a part of this Proclamation. The area reserved consists of approximately 8,220,000 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 tinder 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 Gates of the Arctic National Monument are printed in the FEDERAL REGISTER of December 5, 1978.

Jimmy Carter, Proclamation 4617—Gates of the Arctic National Monument Online by Gerhard Peters and John T. Woolley, The American Presidency Project https://www.presidency.ucsb.edu/node/244426

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