Lake Clark National Park invites public comments on mineral exploration tracts

Lake Clark National Park and Preserve is seeking public comment as it prepares to conduct a resource analysis of the Johnson Tract within the park.

Public comments are open until June 24.

After gathering public comments, the National Park Service will prepare a resource analysis for public review tentatively scheduled for release in the fall of 2024.

According to a press release from the park, the Johnson Tract, a mineral prospect, is situated in the headwaters of the Johnson River on the west side of Cook Inlet. The exact site location can be seen on a map on the Lake Clark website.

The website describes the scheduled analysis to evaluate two proposed “transportation and port site easements” for access to the Johnson Tract.

As part of the Alaska Native Claims Settlement Act, Cook Inlet Region, Inc. was not able to fulfill complete land selection. Through negotiation with the Department of the Interior and the State of Alaska, CIRI received the 20,942-acre Johnson Tract that is divided into two tracts. In the South Tract, CIRI has both surface and subsurface rights and in the North Tract, the corporation has only subsurface rights.

In 2019, CIRI and HighGold Mining company (now Contango Ore, Inc.) entered into a lease of the property for mineral exploration and are looking into proposed transportation and port opportunities to access the property. The HighGold Mining website further describes the Johnson Tract as “Johnson Tract is a polymetallic (gold, zinc, copper, silver, lead) project located near tidewater, 125 miles (200 kilometers) southwest of Anchorage.” The website further explains that the mineral site was originally discovered by Anaconda Minerals, explored from 1982 to 1995 and then inactive until 2019.

The final resource analysis will evaluate the proposed easement developments as well as potential environmental impacts site development activities such as geotechnical assessment, hydrological assessment and cultural and environmental resource surveys.

More information on the historic access to the region is available through the Lake Clark website, as well.

Comments can be provided to the National Park Service online at