Climate change scenario planning for Alaska Region National Park Service Units

Cover of the State of Change visitor guide to climate change in Alaska's National Park Areas.

This multi-year project allowed Alaska National Park Service (NPS) managers, cooperating personnel, and key stakeholders to develop plausible climate change scenarios for all NPS areas in Alaska. SNAP and NPS also collaborated to develop an outreach tool that provides an opportunity for Alaska’s two million annual national park visitors to engage in a discussion about climate change in our state.

Creating regional scenarios

Step 1: SNAP researchers, NPS personnel, and cooperators first received comprehensive training in scenario development, using expertise drawn from industry roots but tailored to the needs of government agencies and non-profits.

Step 2: SNAP researchers, NPS personnel, and cooperators led a series of three-day interactive climate change scenario planning exercises for all NPS units in Alaska. These workshops drew in diverse groups of stakeholders, who were asked to use their own local and traditional knowledge as well as the latest scientific evidence and modeling.

Workshops were organized around each of the four inventory and monitoring networks of parks in Alaska, which include Arctic Alaska, Central Alaska, Southwest Alaska, and Southeast Alaska. For each workshop, SNAP facilitated scenario discussions and drafted detailed peer-reviewed summary reports.

Creating a climate change handbook for Park visitors

Realizing the need for climate change information and outreach that is comprehensive, accessible, and engaging, SNAP and NPS collaborated to create a 24-page booklet and associated iBook to be made available in every national park in the state.

The publication presents climate change not just as a set of scientific facts, but also as a detailed set of stories, told from the perspectives of a diverse range of individuals ─ from road engineers to scientists to subsistence hunters. State of Change covers topics such as the impacts of higher temperatures on archaeological treasures, the devastating effects of erosion on coastal communities, and the actions that individuals and parks are taking to learn, adapt, and make a difference.