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TourismTourism and Visitors

Mt. Sanford Tribal Consortium received funding from the Environmental Protection Agency to address local tourism issues to address local tourism issus and to develop infrastructure for ecotourism development and management in the two Alaskan villages of Mentasta and Chistochina.

The residents of Mentasta and Chistochina wish to preserve and maintain the quality of life in their communities. By becoming active participants in the local tourism trade, communities can influence and benefit from tourist interactions and choices.

Tourism has become a viable economic opportunity for the Chistochina community. Residents are considering tourism for several reasons. One reason, and perhaps the most prominent, is that thousands of people travel through Chistochina throughout the summer months. The local highway literally runs through the center of the community. By becoming active participants in the visitor industry, the community has more control over the impacts upon them and a greater ability to meet visitors needs.

Mentasta is off the main highway and does not receive a large volume of traffic through the community. The 200-300 visitors (primarily out of state tourists and Alaskan hunters) that come to the Village each year have had a negative impact on the local environment and people. The community has not had a system in place for managing visitors and thus has had very little control over how the visitors impact the community. Mentasta is currently working to educate the visitors and local businesses in an effort to manage the impact in a positive direction.

Related Links:

Wrangell - St. Elias National Park - National Park Service site


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