Proclamation 4621

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Proclamation 4621  (1978) 
by Jimmy Carter

Delivered on 1 December 1978.

By the President of the United States of America
A Proclamation

The Kobuk Valley and its environs, an area located in the northwest interior of Alaska, contains important archeological data and biological and geological features of great scientific significance.

Archeological features within the area illustrate an unbroken continuum of human adaptation to the natural environment from the early pre-Eskimo people of 10,500 years ago to present-day local residents. Scientists recently discovered more than 100 dwellings occupied in about 1250 A.D., comprising the largest settlement of its kind. The Onion Portage Archeological District is located within the area, and is listed on the National Register of Historic Places. Archeological research at Onion Portage has yielded. evidence of more than 10,000 years of human occupation.

The area contains the Great and Little Kobuk Sand Dunes, which lie north of the Arctic Circle and include both active and stabilized dunes. Scientific studies of the dunes show them to be older than 33,000 years, and several plants have been found in association with the dunes environment which are scientifically unusual in the area. The Great Kobuk Sand Dunes attain a height of 100 feet.

The inclusion of the watersheds on the north and south of the Kobuk River protects a uniquely representative series of interrelated plant communities. There is here an essentially unspoiled laboratory for the study of the northern boreal forest.

A rich variety of wildlife also occurs within the area. Major portions of the northwest arctic caribou herd move through the area in spring and fall migrations. The area also includes one of only two significant populations of the Alaskan sheefish. The water environment is habitat for nesting waterfowl, moose, and muskrat. A relatively dense population of grizzly and black bears, wolf, wolverine, fox, otter, and other northern furbearing mammals range over the entire area.

The land withdrawn and reserved by this Proclamation for the protection of the archeological, geological, biological, and other phenomena enumerated above supports now, as it has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, enhances the historic and scientific values of the natural objects protected herein because of the ongoing interaction of the subsistence culture with these objects. Accordingly, the opportunity for local residents to engage in subsistence hunting is one of the values 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 Kobuk Valley 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 Kobuk Valley National Monument on the map numbered KOVA-90,010 attached to and forming a part of this Proclamation. The area reserved consists of approximately 1,710,000 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 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.


[Filed with the Office of the Federal Register, 3:03 p.m., December 1, 1978]

This work is in the public domain in the United States because it is a work of the United States federal government (see 17 U.S.C. 105).