Barbara Morford has spent her fourth official season with no less than 60 consecutive 24-hour days as Wrangell St. Elias National Park and Preserve’s sole representative in the Bremner Historic Mining District. This is a 14,000-acre property listed on the National Register of Historic Places.
As the only fulltime resident of this large and relatively inaccessible region, she monitors visitors, interprets history, documents resources, and provides emergency communications. Among other noteworthy achievements, Ms. Morford prevented an overzealous collector from removing parts from an historic vehicle. Through her attention to detail and quick thinking, Morford was able to secure the collector’s aircraft tail number, allowing park rangers to identify him. If that wasn’t enough, Morford single-handedly stopped an errant grizzly bear from destroying the site’s most significant building.
Ms. Morford’s archaeological background permitted her to continue her assistance to NPS curators inventory the district’s large mining objects. Her extensive backcountry experience helped her to move safely throughout the district, supplementing its botanical profile, conducting its first comprehensive invasive plant survey, completing an inventory of its birds and recording human impacts. In addition, she helped maintain the district’s 62 contributing historic features, identifying problems and implementing both short- and long-term solutions. Morford achieved all these objectives at a total cost of $1,000.