Historic Preservation Fund FY 18 budget and federal preservation legislation

The President’s FY 2018 budget proposal recommends significant reductions to the Historic Preservation Fund programs. It proposes to reduce the amount of funding for the state and tribal offices and eliminate all competitive grant programs. The House of Representatives recently amended its FY 2018 budget appropriation for the Historic Preservation Fund restoring funding to last year’s levels. The House budget has funds for the underserved communities, civil rights movement, historically black colleges, and Save American Treasures programs. The Senate has not yet announced its FY 2018 budget for HPF programs.

Historic Preservation Fund:

FY 2017

FY 2018

FY 2018

FY 2018
















Underrepresented Communities Grants





Civil Rights Movement Initiative





Historic Black Colleges/Universities





Save America's Treasures Grants










* Figures are in millions.





Congress passed a continuing resolution to fund government programs through December 8, 2017, at FY 2017 levels. (The federal fiscal year 2018 is October 1, 2017-September 30, 2018.)

The federal Historic Tax Credit could be in jeopardy if a tax overhaul bill is introduced in Congress. The nine-page outline of general principles that has been circulating “envisions” the repeal of certain tax credits but does not specifically eliminate the HTC. If Congress elects to pass a bill simply cutting taxes or a bill with modest tax cuts, the HTC is probably not in jeopardy. Nonetheless, there is a threat to the HTC. It is important to let Alaska’s congressional delegation know of historic tax credit projects in Alaska, most recently in Anchorage, Palmer, Juneau and Seward. Earlier this year, Senator Ben Cardin and Representative Mike Kelly introduced a Historic Tax Credit Improvement Act (S. 425 / H.R. 1158) that preservationists would like included in any tax reform package that moves forward.

Senators Lisa Murkowski and Maria Cantwell have introduced an energy bill (S. 1460) that includes a provision to permanently reauthorize the Historic Preservation Fund. Senator Murkowski hopes the Senate will pass the bill, then work with the House of Representatives to get it enacted this year.

Office of History and Archaeology and Alaska Historical Commission news

The next meeting of the Alaska Historical Commission will be by teleconference on Wednesday, December 6, 2017. The agenda is being drafted and will be published November 6th. For more information about the meeting contact Jo Antonson, 907.269.8714 / jo.antonson@alaska.gov.

The sun came out in Sitka on October 18, 2017, for the ceremony on Castle Hill to commemorate the 150th anniversary of the official event there when Russia transferred its claims in the North America to the United States. At other places around the state, discussions and art and history exhibits commemorated what has become known as Alaska Day and is a designated state holiday.

Alaska Climate Change Strategy and the Climate Action for Alaska Leadership Team

Governor Bill Walker signed Administrative Order No. 289 on October 31, 2017, establishing the Alaska Climate Change Strategy and the Climate Action for Alaska Leadership Team. The team, to be chaired by Lt. Governor Byron Mallott, is to recommend a plan of action to the Governor by September 1, 2018, outlining critical and timely actions needed to address climate change challenges to safeguard Alaska. The team is to address mitigation, adaptation, research, and response. Many Alaska archaeological sites and historic structures are threatened by erosion, flooding, melting permafrost, and other geographic and climate changes, and they need to be considered by the team and addressed in the plan of action.

The Governor will appoint up to 15 public members to serve three-year terms on the team. If interested in being considered for a seat, citizens need to apply to the Governor’s Office of Boards and Commissions by November 14, 2017. More information about the team and how to apply is at https://gov.alaska.gov/services/boards-and-commissions/.

Downtown Ketchikan and Old Willow Community Center listed in the National Register

The Keeper of the National Register of Historic Places added the Downtown Ketchikan Historic District on October 2, 2017, and the Old Willow Community Center on October 5, 2017, to the nation’s list of significant historic properties worthy of preservation.

Downtown Ketchikan has a cohesive group of thirty historic buildings, structures, and objects that exhibit how the community developed as the southeast gateway to Alaska and was a key player in the economic and social development of Alaska during the first third of the twentieth century. A significant number of the standing historic buildings are representative of simple frontier Southeast Alaska construction using local materials, often built on pilings over tidewater.

Willow started as an Alaska Railroad stop in the 1920s, but a community only developed after World War II when people came to homestead in the area. In the late 1950s residents organized to construct a building where they could gather to meet and socialize. Completed in 1961, the log building served as the community center for thirty years. When plans were made to replace the building, residents banded together to save it and today it continues to be used for community activities.

More information about the National Register of Historic Places can be found at http://dnr.alaska.gov/parks/oha/designations/nrhp.htm.

National Park Service updates

The National Park Service’s Battlefield Protection Program is accepting grant applications for 2018. The program is for projects that lead directly to the identification, preservation, and interpretation of battlefield land or historic sites associated with battlefields. Awards range from $5,000 to $100,000 and projects should be designed to be conducted between one and two years. More information is available at www.nps.gov/abpp. The deadline to apply through Grants.gov is 11:00 a.m. Alaska time, January 18, 2018; and by regular mail postmarked by January 2, 2018. For questions about the program contact Kristen McMasters, 202.3354.2037 / kristen_mcmasters@nps.gov or Philip Bailey, 202.513.7126 / philip_bailey@nps.gov.

The National Register of Historic Places program plans to update and revise its bulletin, How to Complete the National Register Registration Form, also known as Bulletin 16A. Comments, clarifications, and recommendations on the current bulletin are being solicited. The deadline for comments is December 31, 2017. Feedback may be submitted at http://parkplanning.nps.gov/NRBulletinUpdate or can be sent by email to NR_Bulletin16@nps.gov. For questions or more information contact Edson Beall, 202.354.2255 / edson_beall@nps.gov.

The Technical Preservation Services office has published Preservation Brief No. 50, Lightning Protection for Historic Structures by Charles E. Fisher. The pamphlet addresses maintenance and repair of lightning protection systems, factors to consider in assessing the need for a system, and provides historic preservation guidance on the design and installation of new systems. It is available at https://www.nps.gov/tps/how-to-preserve/preservedocs/preservation-briefs/50Preserve-Brief-Lightning-Protection.pdf.

The National Center for Preservation Technology and Training, Friends of NCPTT, and the NPS Route 66 Corridor Program are holding a symposium April 10-12, 2018, “Are We There Yet?”, on the preservation of roadside architecture and attractions that are uniquely American and catered to travelers between the 1920s and 1970s. Presentations are expected to address unusual and oversized structures and sculptures, iconic roadside motels, neon signs, unique restaurants and gas stations, and roadside attractions and themed parks. Along with invited and solicited papers, individuals can propose papers and posters. Proposals to present a paper are due December 1, 2017, and to exhibit a poster are due January 3, 2018. More information is at https://www.ncptt.nps.gov/events/are-we-there-yet/ or by contacting Debbie Smith, NCPTT, 318.356.7444 x259 / Debbie_Smith@nps.gov.

Advisory Council on Historic Preservation programs

The Advisory Council has two final intermediate level webinars this fall: Meeting the Reasonable and Good Faith Identification Standard in Section 106 Review, and Cultural Landscapes: Identification and Effects Assessments. Program descriptions, course dates, and registration instructions are at www.achp.gov/sec106webinar.html. Also, the Advisory Council has several online courses on the use of Section 106 of the National Historic Preservation Act to protect historic properties. More information about them is at http://www.achp.gov/elearning.html.

Department of Transportation publication, Historic Roads of Alaska, available

The Alaska Department of Transportation and Public Facilities has published a booklet profiling twelve Alaska’s roads and their interesting and varied histories. The Federal Highway Administration funded the publication, and the Office of History and Archaeology and Education and Interpretation staff of Alaska State Parks wrote and designed the book. A web version is available at http://www.dot.alaska.gov/stwddes/desenviron/resources/historicroads.shtml, and a print copy can be obtained by contacting Molly Proue, 907.451.5497 / molly.proue@alaska.gov.

Alaska Association for Historic Preservation, Friends of Nike Site Summit, and Iditarod Historic Trail Alliance annual meetings scheduled

The Alaska Association for Historic Preservation (AAHP) will hold its annual meeting Thursday, November 9, 2017, starting at 6:00 p.m.at the Historic Anchorage Hotel in Anchorage. In addition to the business meeting, its Historic Preservation Award will be presented, the 10 Most Endangered Historic Properties 2017 grant recipients will be announced, historian Katie Ringsmuth will talk about the Naknek Cannery History Project, and there will be hor d’oeuvres and beverages. For more information or to RSVP email akpreservation@gmail.com.

The Friends of Nike Site Summit (FONSS) has scheduled its volunteer appreciation event for November 8, 2017, starting at 6:00 p.m. at the 49th State Brewing Company in Anchorage. Presentations include a review of their 2017 program and recognizing their Volunteer of the Year. The Friends invite anyone interested in being a volunteer or anyone who has taken one of the site tours to attend. RSVPs are requested to fonss2007@gmail.com.

The Iditarod Historic Trail Alliance (IHTA) annual meeting will be Thursday, November 30, 2017, 8:30 a.m.-4:00 p.m., at the Lakefront Hotel in Anchorage. The meeting will include updates on projects, presentations by agencies, and planning for the 40th anniversary of designation of the Iditarod National Historic Trail. More information is available by contacting iditarodhta@gmail.com.

UAA History Department and Alaska Native Studies Program lecture series

In recognition of 2017: The Alaska Year of History and Heritage, the University of Alaska Anchorage Department of History and the Alaska Native Studies Program are hosting two lectures in November. On November 8 at the Bear Tooth Theatre, a program “Celebrating Veterans” will include a screening of Wind Talkers and a presentation by Zonnie Gorman, University of New Mexico PhD Candidate. On November 13, Gorman will speak on Navajo Code Talkers of World War II at UAA Arts 150, 6:00 p.m. For more information call 907.786.6135 or email maria2@alaska.edu.

Coalition for Archaeological Synthesis

The Coalition for Archaeological Synthesis (CfAS) has been created and is soliciting proposals for its initial effort to promote collaborative synthesis in archaeology. This year, the group plans to fund two working groups to address a substantive archaeological problem requiring synthesis that will produce products that benefit the discipline and inform public policy or benefit relevant publics. The awards are for travel expenses and meeting space for working groups of up to eight individuals to get together three times within two years. Proposals are due January 15, 2018. The request for proposals is available at www.archsynth.org/requests-for-proposals.html. More information is available at the website or by sending an email to Terry Klein, tklein@srifoundation.org.

This Place Matters Alaska map

The Office of History and Archaeology has #ThisPlaceMatters Alaska, an interactive map with photos of historic properties around the state on its website at http://arcg.is/1TvQiht. To submit a place and photo, go to bit.ly/AKThisPlaceMatters


National Park Service, Update/revision of National Register Bulletin, How to Complete the National Register Registration Form

Request for comments: http://parkplanning.nps.gov/NRBulletinUpdate or NR_Bulletin16@nps.gov
Comments due: December 31, 2017
Contact: Edson Beall, 202.354.2255 / edson_beall@nps.gov


U.S. Army Corps of Engineers / Donlin Gold Project: Draft Environmental Impact Statement

and ANILCA 810 Analysis comments available. The draft programmatic agreement is expected to be posted soon for a short review and comment period.
Project information: www.donlingoldeis.com


Heritage Subscription Information

Heritage is produced by the Office of History and Archaeology, Division of Parks and Outdoor Recreation, Alaska Department of Natural Resources.  Please send your comments, suggestions, and information via e-mail to jo.antonson@alaska.gov, mail to 550 West 7th Ave., Suite 1310, Anchorage, Alaska 99501-3565, or telephone 907.276.8721.

All issues are posted to our web site at dnr.alaska.gov/parks/oha and distributed to subscribers by e-mail.  A paper copy can be sent to individuals and organizations that specifically request it.

To be added to the subscription list, please send an e-mail to dnr.oha@alaska.gov with “Heritage, subscribe” in the subject line.

If you do not wish to continue to receive Heritage, please send an e-mail to dnr.oha@alaska.gov with “Heritage, unsubscribe” in the subject line.

Preservation Calendar




  • December 6 Alaska Historical Commission meeting (Jo Antonson, 907.269.8714 / jo.antonson@alaska.gov)

  • December 31 National Register of Historic Places, Bulletin 16A: How to Complete the National Register Registration Form comment deadline (Edson Beall, 202.354.2255 / Edson_beall@nps.gov)





  • March 12-14 National Conference of State Historic Preservation Officers (NCSHPO) annual conference, Washington, DC (Ted Monoson, 202.624.5476 / monoson@ncshpo.org)

  • March 19-20 National Preservation Institute, NAGPRA Essentials, Anchorage (info@npi.org / 703.765.0100)

  • March 21-24 Alaska Anthropological Association 45th annual meeting, Anchorage (alaskaanthro@gmail.com)

  • March 21-23 National Preservation Institute, Archaeological Curation and Collections Management, Anchorage (info@npi.org / 703.765.0100)





  • July 18-22 National Alliance of Preservation Commissions, Forum 2018, www.napcommissions.org, Des Moines, IA (director@napcommissions.org)


  • September 19-22 Alaska Historical Society / Museums Alaska, annual meetings and conference, Nome (Amy Chan, 907.443.6630 / museum@nomealaska.org)


150th Anniversary Treaty of Cession