The National Park Service spent $150,000 on a project to share folklore and document tales of supernatural phenomena in Alaska.
Kawerak, Inc., an Alaskan non-profit, received the grant in March of 2016 to study “Bering Strait residents’ knowledge, beliefs and experiences” by holding “community story-telling nights,” listen to people share “their beliefs, knowledge and experiences related to the supernatural,” and document the supernatural phenomena in a book, according to a summary of the project.
“Phenomena that can be described as ‘supernatural’ include, among others, things such as sea monsters, little people, wild babies, unexplained lights, animals that can change into other things, and invisible sea birds,” the project says. The featured image on the project summary shows an illustration of a “Hairy Man” sighting.
Grants of this sort aren’t rare, and this particular grant is part of the Shared Beringian Heritage Program, a President George W. Bush-era program that receives $650,000 every year.
Despite receiving more than $1 billion in funding from Congress in 2015, and President Barack Obama’s push to fund national parks, NPS started 2016 with a self-reported backlog deferred maintenance projects worth $11.9 billion.
The backlog of what NPS calls “deferred projects” grew from $10 billion to $12 billion under Obama, and the “limited resources are siphoned to new acquisitions while the Service’s $12 billion maintenance backlog is ignored,” Utah Republican Rep. Rob Bishop said in a statement on NPS’s 100th anniversary last fall. (RELATED: At 100 Years, National Parks Plagued By ‘Exacerbating Corruption’ And A $12 Billion Backlog)
The Alaska grant “serves the program’s broader goals of fostering a climate of mutual understanding as well as natural resource and cultural connections between indigenous people of northwest Alaska and northeast Russia,” John Quinley, a spokesman for the park service told the Washington Free Beacon.
“Congress directs about $650,000 annually to the National Park Service for the program. That budget supports ongoing natural and cultural resource research conducted by a diverse group of partners including non-governmental organizations, academic institutions, tribal governments, and indigenous groups from the region,” Quinley said.
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