Shared Beringian Heritage Program 2021
The Shared Beringian Heritage Program (SBHP) is a National Park Service (NPS) Alaska Region program designed to promote international cooperation around conservation and cultural heritage. SBHP recognizes and celebrates the unique natural resources and cultural heritage shared by Russia and the United States in the region known as Beringia. From the Kolyma River in the west (Russia) through Alaska and into Canada’s Yukon Territory in the east, this region includes the people, the land, and the water that connected the continents of North America and Asia during the Pleistocene ice ages. The area provides unparalleled opportunities to study both earth and human history. The program was originally designated to help develop an international park in the Bering Strait region and has continued to support the efforts at international conservation that formed the impetus for this not-yet-enabled park.
SBHP promotes these goals via project funding, Beringia Days events, web and social media presence, and promoting communication between Russian and U.S. partners. As a program of the NPS, SBHP is bound to the NPS Organic Act and NPS Management Policies, though does not have the requirements of any specific park unit. The ecosystems (both marine and terrestrial) and peoples of the Beringian region have experienced rapid environmental change, and the needs for regional cooperation are more pronounced then even at the time of SBHP’s founding. The overall purpose of the SBHP is to advance local, national, international understanding and preservation of the region’s resources and to sustain the cultural vitality of its indigenous people.
Specific programmatic goals are to:
Improve conservation, sustainability, and knowledge of the region’s natural and cultural resources;
Preserve subsistence opportunities and other historic traditions and practices;
Interpret and communicate about the region’s unique and internationally significant resources and values;
Provide opportunities for cultural connections and knowledge exchange.