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Alaska Geographic

Alaska Geographic

Alaska Geographic

Alaska Geographic is the statewide nonprofit educational partner for all these public lands, and more. Established at statehood in 1959, Alaska Geographic works hand-in-hand with Alaska’s parks, forests, and refuges. We are their bookstore, publisher, educator, and supporter. Alaska geographic was formerly known as the Alaska Natural History Association. 

At Alaska Geographic, we believe the more you know about Alaska’s publicly-owned lands, the more you’ll care about their future.

Alaska is where we go to see how the world once was, and for now, continues to be. We think that’s worth saving.

Alaska Geographic’s work is undertaken with generous contributions from members and donors, as well as income earned from operating educational bookstores.

Mission

Inspired people become champions of Alaska’s parks, forests, and refuges.

Core Purpose

Support Alaska’s Public Lands

Core Values

Partnership – Education – Innovation – Service

Alaska Geographic is a tax-exempt 501(c)(3) organization under the Internal Revenue Code.

Alaska Geographic has a long history in Alaska

Early visitors to Alaska’s national parks and monuments couldn’t find much information to enhance their experience. Some forward-thinking park rangers created the organization in 1959 to address this critical need. The initial goals were to first provide the few books and pamphlets that already existed on Alaska’s natural and cultural heritage to visitors; and secondly to create new publications to fill the vast information gaps.

In the beginning it was only a handful of items. Our first “bookstore” in what was then Mount McKinley National Park offered 18 products. Total sales were about $500. From this humble beginning, Alaska Geographic now offers 14,000 different products in 48 public land locations with annual sales of over four million dollars.

With increased sales, providing information to visitors grew into a method of also financing educational programs. Earnings from bookstores and publishing, combined with membership dues and donations, support the educational efforts of Alaska’s parks, forests, and refuges. Alaska Geographic provides aid and services for Junior Ranger programs, volunteers, visitor center films, exhibits, visitor guides, and much, much more. All free to the public, made available to you by Alaska Geographic.

We at Alaska Geographic believe that the more you know about Alaska, the more you’ll care about the future of Alaska’s public lands.

49 Years of Work in the 49th State

TODAY

Serving 45 public lands and facilities representing six agency partners. Total direct aid and services contributed to education in Alaska’s parks, forests, refuges and recreational lands since 1959: $20 million. Bookstores in 48 locations with 14,000 different items available; retail sales $4.6 million. Twenty-seven hands-on accredited classes offered through the Institute in Alaska’s parks, forests, and refuges. Total membership 3,000 members; basic annual dues $30. Publications available to the public include a hundred books, map and guides, films, non-book materials and free publications. Discover Alaska Collector Series offers a dozen product lines showcasing 40 public lands. Distributed 285,000 copies of four different tour booklets generating over $900,000. In partnership with the National Park Service, fourth year of operation of the Murie Science and Learning Center, featuring research and education in America’s eight northernmost national parks.

1951

Park service employees begin activity to form a cooperating association for Alaska’s national parks based out of Mount McKinley National Park.

1959

Mount McKinley Natural History Association incorporates February 16, 1959 serving Mt. McKinley National Park and becomes the 49th cooperating association serving America’s national parks. Original grizzly bear and totem pole logo designed by well known Alaskan artist Bill Berry. Estate gift from New York resident, James William Walsh, Jr. funds the new organization and its early operations.

1960

Sales area opens in Sitka National Monument offering slide sets to the public.

1961

Gross sales $993.52. Aid to the National Park Service $563: wildlife film$200; slide duplication$200; books donated to park library $105; school donation $6; unknown $52. Life membership $1.

1962

First book published, “Mammals of Mount McKinley” by Adolph Murie, followed by “Birds of Mount McKinley” also by Adolph Murie in 1963. Eighteen items available in Mount McKinley sales area. Gross sales $2,688.

1967

Purchased and donated to NPS a nine-acre private inholding in Glacier Bay National Monument where the old Dundas Bay cannery was located.

1968

Sales area opens in Glacier Bay National Monument.

1970

Name changed to Alaska National Parks and Monuments Association to reflect the service provided beyond McKinley to Sitka, Glacier Bay, and Katmai national mounuments—at that time, all the national park units in Alaska.

1971

Sales area opens in Katmai National Monument. Total sales exceed $18,000 for all four sites.

1973

Gross sales for the four national park sites in Alaska top $30,000.

1974

Tax-exempt status granted under Section 501 (c) (3) of the Internal Revenue Code.

1976

Thirty-eight items available in the Mount McKinley sales area; gross receipts of $46,000. Statewide gross sales $81,815. Aid to NPS $5,485.

1977

Wilma Mercer, a high school graduate from Healy, is the first full-time seasonal employee hired at Mount McKinley National Park. She works three days a week at the sales counter in the Riley Creek Visitor Center and two days in the offices. A seasonal employee is also hired at Glacier Bay National Monument. By-laws changed and board membership limited to non-National Park Service employees.

1979

Anticipating the settlement of the Alaska lands issue and increased interest by other federal agencies in the organization, the name is changed to Alaska Natural History Association to reflect these developing relationships. First business manager hired and central office opens in Anchorage. Cooperating agreement signed with US Fish and Wildlife Service. Additional areas served: Arctic National Wildlife Range, Kenai National Moose Range, and Aleutian Islands National Wildlife Refuge.

1980

President Jimmy Carter signs the Alaska National Interest Lands Conservation Act (ANILCA) into law adding 100 million acres into federal protection and public access as national parks, forests, refuges, wildernesses, scenic rivers and recreation lands.

1980

Agreement signed with USDA Forest Service. Nine total sales areas gross $163,245. Aid to agencies $25,012. Membership program begins in earnest with 80 members; annual dues $3.

1981

New sales areas open in Chugach National Forest, and in Kotzebue serving the Western Arctic National Parklands.

1982

Alaska National Parklands: This Last Treasure by William E. Brown published with financial help from seven other cooperating associations. This signature book, the first hardback released, celebrates the national parks established or expanded under ANILCA.

1983

Agreement signed with Alaska Public Lands Information Centers. New sales areas open in Kenai Fjords National Park and Yukon-Charley Rivers National Preserve and one in Juneau serving the Tongass National Forest.

1984

Lake Clark National Park adds a sales area. Eighteen sales areas statewide. Gross sales $298, 704. Total membership 487 members; annual dues still $3.

1985

Agreement signed with Alaska State Parks. New public lands served: Tetlin and Kodiak national wildlife refuges. Tongass National Forest’s new visitor center at Mendenhall Glacier opens a sales area. Twenty bookstores operating across Alaska at parks, forests, refuges and public information centers. Gross income: $376, 256.1990 Twenty-seven public lands served. Gross income from sales and donations $1,233,971. Total aid and services $278,571.

1991

Agreement signed with the Bureau of Land Management. New caribou logo.

1996

Thirty-two parks, forests, and refuges served; aid and services to public land management agencies $575,342. Thirty-six publication projects completed includes three new book publications, reprints, visitor guides, postcards, bookmarks, pins, and videos. Forty-five sales areas with 3,120 different items available; gross sales $2,272,000.

1998

First website launched.

2000

Service to the National Park Service increases with signing of a five-year cooperating agreement. Over the life of the agreement 50 plus educational projects completed valued at more than one million dollars.

2001

Discover Alaska Collector Series launched representing Alaska’s parks, forests and refuges with the first six logo designs.

2002

Tour booklet program launched with Denali National Park. Two interpretive publications created exclusively for us concessionaire operating interpretive tours along the Park Road. Income from booklets fund educational programs at the new Murie Science and Learning Center.

2003

Denali Institute, offering experiential education programs in Denali National Park, merges with the Alaska Natural History Association to provide educational programs in the first year of the Murie Science and Learning Center located in the park.

2004

New partnership with US Geological Survey to operate map sales area in Anchorage. Direct aid and services to Alaska’s public lands $1.2 million.

2005

This Last Treasure by William E. Brown, re-released in celebration of the 25th anniversary of the passage of ANILCA, the landmark legislation, includes a preface from President Jimmy Carter. New raven-bear logo. Denali Institute changes its name to the Alaska Natural History Institutes, offering nine field seminars, three teacher trainings, and a variety of other education programs for families, Alaskans, and visitors. New 2,500 square foot bookstore opens in Denali National Park. Gross sales exceed 1 million dollars.

2006

Institutes’ experiential education programs expand beyond Denali National Park to the Tongass and Chugach National Forests in partnership with the USDA Forest Service, beginning with five accredited teacher trainings.

2007

Institutes launches week-long accredited course exploring the Aleutian Arc’s five national wildlife refuges, in partnership with the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service. Eight free visitor guides produced; 324,000 distributed. Projected services and direct aid to Alaska’s public lands: $2.7 million.

2008

Name changed to Alaska Geographic Association.