US and Russan Environmentalist Joint Forces

Beringian Heritage International Park




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          CASE NUMBER:        311 
          CASE MNEMONIC:      BERING
          CASE NAME:          Bering Sea Peace Park Forces

A. IDENTIFICATION

1.   The issue

      Calls for some formal linkage arose on both sides of the
international divide with every sign of a thaw between the United
States and the former Soviet Union. The National Park Service and
its Russian counterparts exchanged delegations to hear the views of
local people and assess the splendor of their natural resources. 
During the meeting of the United States and U.S.S.R. Trade and
Economic Development Council, held in the Kremlin in 1990,
President Gorbachev went around the room shaking hands with the
Americans. However, the potential benefits and pitfalls of proposed
Bering Heritage International Park are enormous.  Looking at the
history, industrialized countries have always exploited Beringia's
Eskimo and their resources.  A Russian-American international park
straddling the Bering Strait could damage the original Eskimos
habitat, rather than protect it.  There is a struggle over whether
to develop or protect the fragile northern environment.  For
sustainable development, long-term planning is what Beringia needs.

2.  Description

     At the summit meeting in June 1990, Presidents George Bush and
Mikhail Gorbachev called for the creation of a Beringian Heritage
International Park, a belated recognition that the region remains
united by common human cultures and a ceaseless interflow of wild
plants and animals.  Environmentalists and native people on both
sides of the Bering Sea are working to make the park concept go far
beyond that recognition to preserve the region's biodiversity in
the face of reckless plunder from mining companies, oil companies,
huge fishing fleets, and those who would exploit wildlife.  Bering
links extensive Arctic and subarctic lands of the Old World with
those of America.  The word describes an ecological entity, not a
political one, and includes the Bering and Chukchi Seas, with
adjacent areas of Alaska and Russia, and a sliver of Arctic Canada. 

     Asia and North America once were joined here but now confront
each other across the narrow, watery passage of the Bering Strait. 
Although ice reigns in Beringia for most of each year, humans have
long been aware of its wealth of  natural resources.  They mined
its gold and tin, hunted its animals for food and clothing, put its
wood and ice to use for housing.  The harvest was carried out by
native people, living in a subsistence economy.

     Modern technology and human greed, more than anything else,
have changed harvest to exploitation.  Oil and mining ventures have
fouled the water and scarred the land.  Huge trawler fleets,
carrying the latest electronics and fishing equipment, are
decimating pollack and other fish stocks that once were abundant. 
Many birds and marine mammals, such as murres, kittiwakes, and
spectacled eiders, fur seals, harbor seals, and sea lions, are now
in decline.  Russia  is forcing the inhabitants of Beringia to
reach for some means of regulating change before irreparable damage
is done to the environment.  Because Beringia's resources and
problems transcend national boundaries, scientists, government
officials, and environmentalists from the United States and Russia
are coming together with the native people to find an international
solution.  The goal of the dialogue is to create Beringia's land
and wildlife and at the same time accommodate the cultural life of
its native people, and give them income.

     The United States has committed 2.8 million acres and may
commit more when the Russians notify the whole of their plan.  The
concept of a marine reserve is already a source of disagreement. 
Miners, oilmen, and commercial fishermen are already staking out
their territories.  The arguments go on, but everyone agrees on one
point: Even after two centuries of depletion, Beringia's natural
resources, for an Arctic region, can only be described as opulent.

     The Bering Sea's bottom fishery may be the richest on our
planet.  In an era of declining wildlife, considerable populations
of whales, Pacific walruses, seals, sea lions, polar bears, and
other marine mammals still come to prey on smaller life in the
nutrient-rich water.  Nearly three dozen species of seabirds feed
and nest during Beringia's short summer.  More than 200 kinds of
birds stream in and out of Beringia every year on a variety of age-
old flyways.

     For 250 years Beringia's Eskimos, Aleuts, and Amerindians, as
well as the wildlife that sustained them, lived pretty much at the
mercy of outsiders.  Only piecemeal agreements among the power
brokers, East and West, tempered the rankest exploitation.      
For thousands of years Beringis was shaped by rising and falling
ocean levels.  During advanced periods of glaciation the tremendous
amounts of water frozen into glaciers caused ocean levels to drop,
exposing an expanse of sea bottom as a dry " land bridge" that
connected Asia and North America.  Geologists say that at its
greatest extent the land bridge formed a broad plain from north of
what is now Point Barrow to the eastern Aleutians.  At times the
land bridge may have lasted five thousand years and served as the
high way for ancient people and many Old World plants and animals
as they invaded the Americas.  The discovery of the fossilized
remains of mammoth on the Pribilof Islands was an early clue to
those invasions.  As the glaciers melted, water flooded back into
the sea, submerging the land bridge and leaving only, scattered
islands above the surface.  But contact between the continents has
never really ceased.  Only fifty-five miles separate them at the
narrowest point, a short distance for flying and swimming creature
and no deterrent for polar bears, foxes, and others that travel on
pack ice.

     Humans also found the strait to be no obstacle.  They crossed
in search of trade or plunder, either by crossing on the ice or
skin-covered boats.  Many of the people call Amerindians continued
inland to inhabit the plains or forests.  The Tlingit Indians of
Southeast Alaska and British Columbia are among those settled on
the coast probably more than five thousands years ago.  

     Alaskan Eskimos regularly visited trade fairs in Russia until
the sale of Alaska to the United States in 1867 decreased traffic
between two regions.  The dark side of this was intermittent war
and the taking of captives.  

     According to I.S. Gurvich in the Smithsonian Institution,
there was a list of a sample price for prisoners in the Asiatic
coast.  For instance, an American female prisoner was exchanged
with ten to twelve caribou cows or two draft reindeer; children
were cheaper.  The Chukchi used women prisoners to do much of the
drudgery involved in the camp life, sometimes beat them, dressed
them shabby clothes and put them at the disposal of visitors. 
Women often slaves acted as translators in the barter trade.      
Long before the 18th Century, Russian fur dealer were hunting and
trading in the Arctic.  In 1728 Vitus Bering, a Dane in the service
of the Russian Imperial Navy, sailed through the strait that now
bear his name and established once and for all that Asia and North
America are separated by the sea.  In 1741 he reached what is now
Alaska and claimed the land for Russia.  

     The traders and hunters who followed found millions of animals
to be exploited for the fur trade which was then growing
dramatically in Europe.  In order to speed the slaughter they
impress the native to into their service as hunters ans butchers. 
Imported decease, hardship, and starvation thinned the natives'
rank as efficiently as guns and harpoons had reduced animals.
Russians had found at least sixteen thousand people in Aleutian
Island, but about three thousand Aleuts survive today in all of
Beringia.

        Only the Russian Orthodox Church made a difference in their
lives by ministering in their villages and carrying Native protest
to ST. Petersburg.  The government gave the native s Russian
citizenship, a measure of political independence and medical help. 
The gratitude of many native people if evident today in their
devotion to the Orthodox Church on the Pribilofs and elsewhere in
Alaska.

     The sale of Alaska to the United States caused hardship for
local people.  When they had learned  to deal with the Russian and
the Russian understood them, they had to face a new regime with
totally different rules.  It took for them almost another century
and a half to learn the new rules.  

     The Pribilof islands are home to about seven hundred fifty
Aleuts, who are descendants of the natives enslaves by the Russian
fur traders two centuries ago and brought from the Aleutian  Island
to harvest the flourishing colonies of sea otters and fur seals on
the Pribilofs.  The largest sea birth colony in Alaska exists here. 
According Ornithologist William Drury estimated a decade ago that
it included 1.5 million thick-billed murres, 225,000 red legged
kittiwakes, 100,000 black legged kittiwakes and great numbers of
crested and least auklets.  Although sea otters never returned
after the first Russian onslaught, sea lion are present, and fur
seal colony is legendary despite its man-induced fluctuations.  As
the abundance of marine birds and mammals suggests, the islands lie
among fabulously rich fisheries.

     Most of the social and political gains of the Aleuts, After
the Russians had removed them to the Probilofs, were wiped out by
the American purchase of Alaska.  The United States delayed for
many years the promised citizenship for Alaskan natives.  At first
the Aleuts worked for trading companies no longer bound by the
restrictions the Russians had eventually placed on the killing
marine mammals.  American whalers arrived to decimate whales in the
region.  

     However, the biggest threat to the native people's economy was
the offshore hunting of seals, without respect to ages or sex by
the fleets of many nations.  The Pribilofs' fur seal population,
which had numbered in the millions, decreased to 150,000 by the
year of 1909.

      After lobbying by the conservationists, the United States
concluded the North Pacific Sealing Convention with Russia, Japan,
and Great Britain in 1911, putting an end to offshore sealing.  The
treaty restricted the killing chiefly to unmated males on the
beaches and carried by Aleuts under government supervision.  The
fur seal rookery built up to more than a million individuals in
later years.  

     However, the Aleuts themselves remained a captive labor force,
living in a federal company town.  The government restricted their
travels, ran the local school and paid them for their work mainly
in store rations and small annual bonuses.

        During World War II, due to the closeness to Japan's
forces, the United States removed the Aleuts from their home place
to the camps in the mainlands.  In the post-war period, government
gave the repatriated Aleuts the compensations, civil service
benefits and cash wages among them, but government still limited
their travel.  State and federal investigations started to reveal
gross violations of the Aleuts' civil rights, referred to the
Servitude in which they lived.  A measure of relief came in 1966
with the Fur Seal Act.

     In the early 1980's, Pribilofs' bird cliffs become part of the
Alaska Maritime National Wildlife refuge.  However, in 1983, the
treaty which regulated the annual fur killing came up for the
ratification, as a result of  pressure by a host of animal rights
activist.  The islanders were deprived of their means of
livelihood.

     Animal rights people argued that the number of the seals were
declining due to the harvest.  However, native people believed that
the big trawling fleets were taking the food for seals and other
sea animals to raise their babies.  The seal population is still
declining from 1.2 million in the 1970's to about 700.000 in 1993. 
Native people lost the right to hunt fur seals commercially, all
they had was a small subsistence catch, which was controlled by the
government and did not give them human and financial satisfaction. 

     The Aleuts long liners claimed and got a quota of their own
under the North Pacific Fisheries Management Council so that they
may have kept fishing after the trawler fleets have taken their
quota.  The Aleuts long liners complained that big trawlers caught
all fish before they started.  The use of trawlers, which dredged
everything from the bottom, was wasteful and destructive, as
compared with their technique.

        Without a comprehensive conservation policy for the Bering
Sea, disputes have split St. Paul Island.  City administration is
at odds over the speed of development with the local native
corporation, which is charged by law with investing in profit-
making companies.  A large fish and crab processing plant, which
went once bankrupt in 1990, is open again in 1992 under an
agreement with the courts and operated by a Japanese investor.  The
local store is operated by a Korean firm. Although the fish plant
provides some jobs for Aleuts, many of workers are Filipino and
Mexican migrants.  Some islanders believe that this development is
headlong and not in harmony with native needs, because they have
seen more destruction in the last several years, with the harbor
and plant construction, ship running around  etc, than in the
previous two hundred years.

      About five hundred fifty miles north of the Pribilofs, on the
Alaska's Seward Peninsula, is the city of Nome.  A number of Bering
Sea Eskimo leaders had a meeting about an international park
before.    A representative from the Bring Strait Native
Corporation mentioned that they have the same concern as the Eskimo
in Russia, loss of culture, decline of subsistence economies and
polluted fishery streams.  The Seward peninsula stand shoulder to
shoulder, divided by fifty-five miles of water.  They share not
only marine life but also a terrestrial environment.  The land
underfoot contains many of the same minerals.  At the turn of the
century, there was a gold rush to Nome.  

     More important than gold in sustaining Native economies for
both side if the strait is reindeer( domestic caribou) herding. 
Reindeer had been used in Arctic regions of the Old World as both
food and transportation, but they were not known in Alaska until
1891.  In that year, a Presbyterian missionary whose name was
Sheldon Jackson started importing reindeer from Russia to help the
Eskimos survive periods when fish and game were rare.  Jackson kept
most animals  for use by the federal government.  One Eskimo
couple, Mary and Charlie Antisarlook, lived near Sinrock, persisted
in trying to make them share some of reindeer so that they might
own their own herd.

    After he died, Mary built the first of the many large herds. 
Although she did not have the tens of thousands of deer, the
ownership of several hundred animals made her a rich women at a
time when most of the Eskimos were living in a subsistence economy. 
 Alaskan Eskimos have had little contact with people in Chukotka
during most of this century.  First, Stalinist terror closed off
most private enterprise.  The authorities worked the mines there
with slave labor, while reindeer herding became organized on state
farms.  As the Cold War intensified, those two peninsulas were
dominated with the arm forces of the United States and former
Soviet Union, sealing off area for defensive installations.  

     Walter Orr Robert, who had been a  special consultant to
President Harry Truman and later founding director of National
Center for Atmospheric Research in Boulder, Colorado, found in the
early 1960' the potential in Beringia for an international park for
joint scientific work.  He proposed in 1975 that the Arctic polar
region was a remarkable human and environmental domain with common
problems and opportunities of scientific, economic and cultural
importance to the former Soviet Union  and the United States.
Extensive research and conferences had been conducted by both
nations.  This proposal deserves attention because he insisted that
native people play a key role in the planning cultural and
technological aspects of the plan.  He stated an exchange of native
people involved in reindeer herding to discuss harvesting,
marketing and carrying capacity of the land.

      Environmental concerns in Beringia often brought the two
nations of the bargaining table in the 1970s.  They signed many
agreements dealing with such subjects as migratory birds, whales,
polar bears, fur seals, distribution of fishing right, restrictions
on fishing gear.  Many politicians and diplomats of the both sides
of the strait thought the ad hoc approach was the best way.  But
this contacts lost during Reagan administration era when agreement
below the level of arms control dismissed.  

     However, in 1987 the Former Soviet Union gave an American
marathon swimmer the permission to swim from the US, side to the
other side. (Little Doiomede Island on the U.S. side of the
International Date line in Bering Strait to Big Diomede Island.) 
In 1988, a group of Alaskan official and native leaders went from
Nome to provideniya in Chukotka region and were welcomed by
hundreds of Soviet adults and children.  This trip was associated
with an agreement permitting visa-free visits by natives across the
boundary.  After these extensive visit to each other's areas, U.S.
and the former Soviet Union officials assisted to work out the
basis of the international park which was announced by Bush and
Gorbachev in 1990.

     The pace of contact across the strait increased exponentially
in 1990.  Bering Air Service made more than 100 shuttle flights to
Chukotka that year.  That spring, the Provideniya Technical School
boys' basketball team went to Nome to play an all-star team from
that area.  And Alaska Discovery, which organizes wilderness tours,
has scheduled a kayaking expedition that same summer to explore the
Chukotka coastline.

       Every American visitor to Chukotka is appalled by its
environment blight.  Coal, which is the chief source of heat, sends
up clouds of dark smoke over the cities and villages, blackening
the snow with soot.  Pollution from mines and factories fouls the
rivers.  Metal-tracked military vehicles leave deep scars in the
fragile tundra, while abandoned bits and pieces of military
equipment litter the landscape.

     Most scientists and native people in Chukotka believe that an
international park will further increase the pace of exchange
visits and lead to inflow of equipment and expertise from America
that may help to correct the worst environmental abuses.      The
path to an effective Beringian Heritage International Park still
presents daunting obstacles.  Many of the people involved ask for
caution.  A Russian ethnographer told that they are pushing too
fast, and asked that how many years it took them to establish their
parks and refuges in Alaska.  Native leaders on both sides want to
see how the proposed park will affect interests.

     Charles Johnson of the Inuit Circumpolar Conference  says that
Parks haven't always been good for them.  For instance, park
officials won't let them use snow machines to get to their fishing
streams in the Bering Land Bridge National Preserve.  They say the
machines are out of place.  But Eskimo claims that their
traditional way of hunting and fishing is to use the most efficient
tools they can.

     Nor will big business be denied a say in the way an
international park takes shape.  Oilmen have plans for the
suspected oil and gas field on the continent and in adjacent Arctic
seas.  J. Anthony Smith, an attorney for the Aleuts and Democratic
candidate for Frank Murkowski's (R-AK)  U.S. Senate seat says that 
oil is compatible with the environment.  He continues that it is
the only industry with the margin of profit to be able to do things
right.  The fishing industry, the miners, loggers, they don't have
that margin.  In the past the oil industry has behaved like a
country of its own.  As citizens, local people have to keep on
them.

     Dave Heatwole, a vice-president of ARCO Alaska, believes there
will be a real catfight in Russian over this park.  He says the oil
industry wants to show there is a middle ground as it works out
joint venturers with Russia.  The Americans will supply  the clean
technology and take some of the product in return.

     The Alaskan mining industry makes no bones about its hostility
to the park idea.  While pursuing joint ventures in Chukotka,
American miners are warning the Russians that an international park
will close valuable areas to mineral exploration.  Steven Boreal of
the Alaska Miners Association says that they have no respect for
the National Park Service.  "Lying, stealing, their promises of
access to the inholders of mineral claims in national parks have
all been broken.  I won't defend the way some miners operate, but
most do a good job.  We don't want the Russians to make the same
mistakes by restricting mineral rights in the park as we did here."

     There are dozens of American oilmen, miners, and other
businessmen trying to line up joint venturers in the Russian Far
East.  Yet the only money made so far is in reindeer.  The
entrepreneur in this case is Douglas Drum, the owner of Indian
Valley Meats near Anchorage, who supplied the sausages for a dinner
organized by the state several years ago to honor Soviet visitors. 
They were so impressed they asked Drum if he could help them make
marketable sausages from reindeer meat. Andrew Crow of Indian
Valley Meats says that Doug drum went in there.  Doug said that if
there is a problem here, there should be a way to work it out. He
designed a plant for them, using sausage-making machinery imported
from Kansas City.  They are turning out good sausages now, but so
far the profit has come from selling reindeer horn to Koreans for
medicinal purposes.

      Yet even reindeer herding poses potential hazards for
Beringisa.  Crow admits that there could be environmental damage if
the business gets much larger, because caribou are wild and keep on
the move, so they put no pressure on the land, but reindeer herds
don't migrate, and they can easily overgraze the lichens and
grasses on the tundra.

      Western change, like western exploration, came late to
Beringia, and it came with a  rush.  Larry Merculieff said one day
on the Pribilofs that sustainable development is the message they
hear, but the planners are often talking about periods of only two
to five years.  The indigenous people introduced change to existing
situations here over a long span of time.  If they are going to
conserve a diversity of cultures, as well as of wildlife, long-term
planning is what Beringia desperately needs.

     Development is a fact of life in modern Beringia.  But
thousands of men and women in two nations envision a great
international park where the diversity of human cultures and
wildlife communities may flourish beside the compatible use of its
natural resources.        
     
3.        Relevant Cases

    ALASKA case
    BEAR case
    RHINO case
    DONUT case
    BOLGOLD case
    YELLOW case
    SIBERIA case
    ECFURBAN case

           Key words

     HABITAT
     RUSSIA
     COLD

4.        Draft author: Atsuko Toi (May, 1996)

B.        Legal Cluster

5.        Discourse and Status: AGRee and INPROGress

6.        Forum and Scope: US-Russia and BILATeral

7.        Breadth:  1

8.        Legal Standing: TREATY

C.        Geographic Cluster

9.        Geographic Location

     a.   Continental Domain: ASIA
     b.   Geographic Site: Siberia
     c.   Geographic impact: RUSSIA

10.       Sub-national Factors: NO

11.       Type of habitat: COLD

D.        Trade Clusters

12.       Type of Measure: REGulatory BAN

13.       Direct v.s. Indirect: DIRect

14.       Relation of Measure to Impact

     a.   Directly Related: Yes    MANY  
     b.   Indirectly Related to Product: No
     c.   Not Related to Product: No
     d.   Related to Process: Yes  Habitat Loss

15.       Trade Product Identification: Habitat Loss

16.       Economic Data

     It is suggested that a reasonable compromise between economy
and ecology is possible.  But Russian lawmakers complain that most
resistance now comes from the Chukotka region itself.  There is a
rumor among the native population that if the park is established,
no more walrus or seal hunting will be allowed. Others also express
the fear that the U.S. oil companies, if granted drilling rights,
might abuse the fragile ecosystems in the area, whether or not a
park is established.  American supporters of the Bering Heritage
International Park say tourism is the best alternative source of
revenue once the park is established and begins to operate but that
it holds little promise for the Russian side.  " The plan envisages
12,000 tourists a year and that is against the 20,000 population
within the park limits.  You've got to spend billions before the
adequate infrastructure and services are put into place. Where is
the money coming from?" Vladimir A. Santalov, a prominent Chukatka-
area ecologist, said.

17.       Degree of Competitive and Impact: HIGH 

18.       Industry Sector: OILGAS

19.       Exporter and Importer: USA and Russia

E.        Environmental Cluster

20.       Environmental Problem Type: Habitat Loss

21.       Species Information

     Name of Species: Many (fish, birds and marine mammals, such as 
     pollack, murres, kittiwakes, fur seals, harbor seals, sea lion 
     whales, Pacific walruses, seals, sea lions, polar bears)
     Type: Many
     Diversity: Many
     IUCN Status: some of them are VULNERable

22.       Impact and Effect: HIGH and PRODuct

23.       Urgency and Lifetime

24.       Substitutes: LIKE (fish)

     As for fish, the industry have a option to trun to fish-
farming.  However, because some birds and marine mammals are
vulnerable, they should be protected.

F.        Other Factors

25.       Culture: Yes

     For 250 years, Beringian's Eskimos, Aleuts and Amerindians,
have lived in the Beringian area.  One of the purposes of this
International Heritage Park is to preserve the cultural life of
native people. 

26.       Human Rights: YES

     As noted above, it is an important point of this park joint
project to protect Native people's cultural life from exploitation
by modern industries.  In addition, there is another argument
within Russia whether or not native people should be allowed to use
their traditional way of hunting within International Heritage
Park.         

27.       Trans-Border: YES (The U.S. and Russia)
      
28.       Relevant Literature

Berliner Jeff K., "Bering park planning brings Soviets across
strait.", may 10, 1991, BC cycle, U.P.I.

Berliner Jeff, "U.S. environmentalists lobby Russian Parliament for
joint park.", February 4, 1992, BC cycle, U.P.I.

Brown William., "A Commom Border."  National Park. 62. (1988):
18-23. 

Graham Jr. Frank, " U.S. and Soviet environmentalists Joint Forces
Across the Bering Strait," Audubon. v93. (1991): n4, 42-61.

Grebenshikov Viktor K.,  "U.S.-Russian Park That Includes Eskimo
Habitat.", March 3, 1992, Los Angeles Times, The Times Mirror
Company.

Hart, Leslie. S., "A Living Bridge."  National Parks. 62. (1988):
23-25.

                               References

1. Viktor K. Grebenshikov, "Environment; Naturalists and oil
companies are squaring off over a plan to create a U.S.-Russian
Park that includes Eskimo habitat," (Los Angeles Times, March 3,
1992).


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