The Port MacKenzie Rail Extension Mitigation Project (PMRE)
As must be common knowledge in the Mat-Su Valley by now, the Alaska Railroad Corporation has begun work on 32 miles of new rail line which will connect Port MacKenzie to the existing rail system’s mainline just south of Houston. A Working Group has been formed of the Knik Tribe, the Mat-Su Borough and HDR and in consultation with the STB and SHPO for purposes of identifying mitigation measures for addressing potential impacts to the Dena’ina cultural landscape as the undertaking will extend through traditional Knik Tribal Land.
Conducted by Knik Tribe, the Mat-Su Borough and HDR, field surveys to date have not yielded archaeological or highly culturally significant sites in the area of potential impact due to new railway construction. Likewise, interviews with Tribal members has not revealed significant cultural and subsistence use sites that will be disturbed by the new rail extension.
The Knik Tribe has a Mapping Technician on board as part of the PMRE Project Agreement with the Alaska Railroad and the other members of the working group. The Knik Mapping Technician is in the process of assembling an in house database of cultural sites located within the Knik Tribe’s territory, including land which is being used for the railway extension, that may include the Alaska Heritage resources Survey or other inventories of cultural sites. We are also creating mapping layers of cultural data based on information obtained during interviews with Tribal members and cultural site inventories.
The final product will be a confidential geo-referenced relational database that belongs to Knik Tribe that can be easily maintained and adaptable for inclusion of additional data sources.