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Potential effects of warming climate on visitor use in three Alaskan national parks (Sep 6, 2013)

Alaska’s national parks draw millions of people annually to enjoy wildlife, breathtaking scenery, and recreational adventure. Visitor use is highly seasonal and occurs primarily during the summer months when temperatures are warm and daylight is long. Climate is an important consideration when planning a trip to Alaska’snational parks because of the great distances and associatedcosts of travel for many visitors. As a result of projected climatewarming, peak visitor season of use in Alaska’s national parksmay expand. To examine the potential effects of warming climate on park visitor season of use, we used regression analyses to quantify the relationship between historical (1980–2009) visitoruse and monthly temperatures for three Alaskan national parks and identi? ed the monthly mean temperatures at which the peakvisitor season of use occurred in each park. We compared thesecontemporary temperatures with projected future average monthlymean temperatures for 2040–2049 and 2090–2099 to providecontext for how visitation might be affected by warming climate.Based on historical relationships among temperature, visitor use, and increased temperatures associated with climate change, ouranalysis suggests that peak season of visitor use could expand into May and September depending on the park, the climate scenario,and the time period. As a consequence of a warming climate, planning by the National Park Service and other stakeholders mayneed to consider this transition in temperatures and the potentialfor an extended peak season of visitor use, along with otherclimate-related changes (e.g., extreme weather), climate-inducedenvironmental changes, and shifts in recreational opportunities that will likely accompany climate change.

Monitoring Dall’s sheep in the Central Alaska Network (Jul 30, 2013)

The Central Alaska (CAKN) and Arctic Networks are collaborating to monitor the abundance, composition, and distribution of Dall’s sheep in six of Alaska’s largest park units, including Denali and Wrangell-St. Elias. In 2010-2011, surveys were completed for most sheep habitat across the Network for the first time in 30 years. Estimates from those surveys shownumbers similar to the abundance estimates from the 1980s. In Denali, the population is approximately 2,252 sheep (1,871 – 2,765, CV = 10%), and is composed of approximately 16% lambs, 50% ewe-like (including ewes and immature rams), 26% less than full-curl rams, and 8% full-curl rams. In Wrangell-St. Elias, the population is approximately 12,428 sheep (10,780 – 14,470, CV = 8%) and is composed of approximately 18% lambs, 55% ewe-like, 21% less than full-curl rams, and 6% full-curl rams.

New Approach to Dall’s Sheep Monitoring Better, Cheaper (Jul 8, 2013)

FAIRBANKS, AK— Scientists with the National Park Service have developed new methods for monitoring Dall’s sheep in Alaska that are providing better information while reducing costs by as much as 80% over existing survey approaches.

The methods and survey results are described in an article published in the current issue of the Journal of Wildlife Management (Schmidt and Rattenbury 2013) as well as in an article published in the same journal last year (Schmidt et al. 2012).

The majority of sheep habitat in seven national park units, including Denali, Gates of the Arctic, Noatak, Kobuk Valley, Cape Krusenstern, Wrangell-St. Elias, and Lake Clark, was surveyed in 2010-12 using the new technique, and the estimated population for the surveyed park units is currently 27,000-28,000 individuals—similar to the number present in the early 1980s when many of the park units were formed.

“Designing a monitoring program that provides accurate results in these large, remote areas is a challenge,” said Kumi Rattenbury, Ecologist with the National Park Service in Fairbanks. “We’re excited about this new approach because it means we can do a better job tracking the status of this iconic species over a huge area.

”The approach uses aerial distance sampling techniques to estimate overall population size as well as the composition (lambs, ewes, full curl rams, and < full-curl rams) of each population. It was first implemented by the National Park Service in Gates of the Arctic National Park and Preserve in 2009 where park-wide surveys were completed for the first time in nearly 30 years.

“This is one of the few ways to get a rigorous estimate of both abundance and composition from the same survey,” said Joshua Schmidt, National Park Service Biometrician and lead author on the two articles describing the new methods. “The higher quality data and lower costs will allow us to more consistently monitor populations and improve sheep ... [Read full article]

Reducing Effort While Improving Inference: Estimating Dall’s Sheep Abundance and Composition in Small Areas. (Jun 26, 2013)

National Park Service wildlife biologist Kumi Rattenbury and Biometrician Josh Schmidt recently published a new article in the Journal of Wildlife Management titled 'Reducing Effort While Improving Inference: Estimating Dall’s Sheep Abundance and Composition in Small Areas'.

Annual report on vital signs monitoring of wolf (Canis lupus) distribution and abundance in Yukon-Charley Rivers National Preserve, Central Alaska Network: 2012 report (May 30, 2013)

Fairbanks, AK. May 1, 2013. National Park Service wildlife biologist John Burch has published a new Natural Resource Technical Report titled 'Annual report on vital signs monitoring of wolf (Canis lupus) distribution and abundance in Yukon-Charley Rivers National Preserve, Central Alaska Network: 2012 report'. The report is available at the following URL: https://irma.nps.gov/App/Reference/DownloadDigitalFile?code=469394&amp;file=YuchWolvesNetworkMonitoring2012AnnualReport_nrss.pdf

The full citation is as follows:
Burch, J. 2012. Annual report on vital signs monitoring of wolf (Canis lupus) distribution and abundance in Yukon-Charley Rivers National Preserve, Central Alaska Network: 2012 report. Natural Resource Technical Report NPS/CAKN/NRTR—2012/736. National Park Service, Fort Collins, Colorado.

Monitoring hazardous fuel reduction in Wrangell-St. Elias National Park and Preserve: Lessons learned from the Chokosna Fuels Reduction Project (May 24, 2013)

Fairbanks, AK. May 23, 2013. The National Park Service Central Alaska Inventory and Monitoring Network has published a new Natural Resource Data Series report titled 'Monitoring hazardous fuel reduction in Wrangell-St. Elias National Park and Preserve: Lessons learned from the Chokosna Fuels Reduction Project'.
Download the report

Patterns in the occupancy and abundance of the globally rare lichen Erioderma pedicellatum in Denali National Park and Preserve, Alaska (May 9, 2013)

Fairbanks, AK. May 9, 2013. NPS Central Alaska Network ecologist Carl Roland co-authored a paper titled 'Patterns in the occupancy and abundance of the globally rare lichen Erioderma pedicellatum in Denali National Park and Preserve, Alaska'. The article appears in the journal The Bryologist.

Flowing Waters Monitoring 2010 Annual Report (May 2, 2013)

Fairbanks, AK. May 2, 2013. National Park Service aquatic ecologist Trey Simmons has published a new technical report titled ' Central Alaska Network flowing waters monitoring program: 2010 annual report'. Download the report

Yukon-Charley Rivers Wolf Numbers Decline (Apr 12, 2013)

The number of wolves in Yukon-Charley Rivers National Preserve has decreased by more than 50 percent from fall 2012, according to biologists who took advantage of late winter snow conditions to fly surveys of the 2.5 million acre conservation area. The drop is substantially more than normal and coincides with predator control efforts by Alaska Department of Fish and Game conducted near the preserve.

Read the full press release

Yukon-Charley Rivers Winter 2012-2013 Weather Summary (Apr 10, 2013)


The Central Alaska Network Inventory and Monitoring program has published a fall weather summary for Yukon-Charley Rivers National Preserve. Download the summary.


Last Updated: August 08, 2013 Contact Webmaster