Clarification of the Kantishna Mining District Boundary
The 1986 General Management Plan (GMP) guidance for areas unsuitable for eligible wilderness designation include: areas with major disturbances from past mining activities, areas with current mining activities and ground disturbances, and improved roads and off-road vehicle trails regularly used by motor vehicles. The Kantishna mining district is referred to in the GMP as ineligible wilderness, but has never been formally recognized or defined.
Some areas currently listed as ineligible by GMP guidance are shown within eligible wilderness on park maps. This complicates management of these areas. Specifically this includes the Moose Creek and Eldorado access routes and the contaminated Slate Creek antimony mining site.
The Denali Management Team recognizes that there is continued interest in the Kantishna area for stream reclamation, recreational opportunities, and commercial development and therefore determined the need to clarify the ineligible wilderness boundary for ease of management.
Discussion on how to more accurately reflect guidance in the 1986 GMP included park management, park planning and cultural staff, and regional NPS wilderness and NEPA staff.
Amendments to the Kantishna mining district and ineligible wilderness boundary enacted through this memo to file for the 1986 GMP are as follows:
• Adjust the southern ineligible wilderness boundary to 50' from centerline of the most southern route of Moose Creek access route instead of Moose Creek proper. This distance is what the Alaska Omnibus Act of 1959 set aside for mining roads similar in character, such as the State of Alaska owned Colorado Bull River Road within the park near Cantwell. Some variation occurs from this standard width at areas where the previous alignment of the historic district is further than the 50' from centerline of the access route. This variation retains previously identified cultural resources within the historic district.
• Incorporate the full Eldorado Creek access route by extending the width of former or existing claims boundaries the length of the creek to the point where it meets Slate Creek.
• Include the Slate Creek antimony mine site and impacted area by extending the width of former or existing claims on Eldorado and Slate Creeks the length of Slate Creek. A minor variation occurs from this standard width at the head of Slate Creek to ensure the impacted area is wholly included.
From these actions, a total of 391 acres will be correctly identified as ineligible wilderness and a total of 24 acres will be correctly identified as ineligible wilderness.
Note that the NPS decided against including the Jauhola cabin access route and site because the mining impacts were minimal, the route is currently impassible, and the area has largely been reclaimed by vegetation.
This process looked at the history of use in the Kantishna area and did not take into account projects on the horizon when considering what should be identified as ineligible wilderness per language in 1986 GMP.