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Alaska sites among national landmarks threatened by climate change

Yereth Rosen

The coastlines of Alaska's Cape Krusenstern National Monument and Bering Land Bridge National Preserve and the nearby Inupiat villages of Shishmaref and Kivalina are among the 30 U.S. cultural resources most imperiled by climate change, according to a report issued Tuesday by the Union of Concerned Scientists.

That area of northwestern Alaska is hard hit by rising temperatures, thawing permafrost and reduced sea ice, conditions that combine to create aggressive coastal erosion that threatens resources documenting the earliest human migrations to North America, the report said, as well as the traditional villages that are home to the region's indigenous people.

"Irreplaceable prehistoric artifacts are actually crumbling out of the shorelines in these Alaskan sites and washing out to sea," Adam Markham, the report's co-author, said in a statement.

Among the other sites on the list are Jamestown in Virginia, the first permanent English settlement in the Americas, and the Harriet Tubman Underground Railroad National Monument in Maryland, both of which are expected to be at least partly submerged by rising sea levels; Mesa Verde National Park, which is under threat from wildfires; and 1,200-year-old Turtle Mound in Canaveral National Seashore, a site threatened by erosion.

Reach Yereth Rosen at yereth@alaskadispatch.com

National Landmarks at Risk
By YERETH ROSEN
yereth@alaskadispatch.com