Explaining climate change in Alaska, with the National Park Service

A three-year collaboration between SNAP and the National Park Service resulted in the science communications publication State of Change.

The 24-page booklet presents a set of complex and interwoven facts about climate change, along with stories told from the diverse perspectives of individuals such as road engineers, scientists, and subsistence hunters.

The guide covers a wide range of topics, such as the effects of thawing on archeological treasures and on the erosion of land under coastal communities. It reports on actions that individuals and parks are taking to learn, adapt and make a difference.

“Understanding the many ways in which climate change may affect Alaska is not just important, it’s crucial,” said Nancy Fresco, a project leader and a researcher at IARC’s Scenarios Network for Alaska and Arctic Planning (SNAP) program. “Viewing those changes in the context of our treasured parks pulls all Americans into the conversation.”

John Morris, another project leader who works for the National Park Service (NPS) in Anchorage, agreed. “In developing this visitor guide, we’re providing our rangers with a much needed tool for raising awareness about this critical issue. It’s likely to be a topic of conversation in the parks for many years to come,” he said.

national park service logo

NPS and SNAP also released, in digital format, five detailed reports from planning workshops that explored climate change scenarios. The workshops were held in each of Alaska’s regional park networks. They brought together diverse groups of people to discuss plausible park futures as the climate changes. Adaptation, communication, education and flexible management were core needs identified in the workshops.

Related SNAP Work

Project: Climate Change Scenario Planning for Alaska Region National Park Service Units