Memorial platform depicting researchers of the Commander Islands with Georg Steller monument will not become a part of the Severo-Zapadnoye Rookery Eco-Path. Duma of the Aleutian Municipal District declined the proposal of the nature reserve to install this platform in one of the most popular touristic spots on Bering Island without giving reasons.
The rejection letter signed by Duma Chairman Andrey Kuznetsov the nature reserve received on December 9. Representative of the Commander Islands Nature Reserve had not been invited to the corresponding Duma session.
Severo-Zapadnoye rookery is situated in the transition zone with Aleut Municipal District administration as the land user. Therefore, the Commander Islands Nature Reserve must coordinate construction of any touristic infrastructure, including ecological paths. All improvements are financed by extra-budgetary resources.
Decision of Aleut Municipal District Duma
The reason for the decline is unknown. “We can only guess. Probably the lawmakers did not like the sculpture, the concept of the memorial platform or the work the sculptor had done. Or maybe they do not want to eternize the memory of the scientists”, said Acting Director Evgeny Mamaev.
Earlier the platform was supposed to become an important element of the ecological path. The Commander Islands Nature Reserve planned to invite all residents of Nikolskoye Village, including the lawmakers to the opening ceremony.
The goal of the Scientists Platform was to commemorate outstanding scientists and people, who spent all their life saving marine mammals of the Commander Islands. It is a brilliant assemblage of Georg Steller, Leonard Stejneger, Nikolay Grebnitsky, Evgeny Suvorov, Ilya Barabash-Nikiforov, Avenir Tomilin, Elena Ilina, Sergey Marakov, Petr Nikulin, Dmitry Chugunkov, Gennady Nesterov, Fred Chelnokov, Dmitry Ryazanov, Viktor Nikulin, Vladimir Fomin and many others. Due to writer talents of Ilya Barabash-Nikiforov, Sergey Marakov and other scientists, many tourists from Russia and other countries wish to see the unique nature of the archipelago.
Finally, in the center of the composition we planned to install Georg Steller monument. He is the founder of scientific research on the Commander Islands and first European naturalist visited Bering Island. Ilya Vyuev, who also made Bering memorial for Nikolskoye Village, created the monument.
The stairs was added to the path on Severo-Zapadnoye rookery by the nature reserve in 2019
The place for the memorial complex was chosen because Severo-Zapadnoye rookery is the major touristic attraction on Bering Island. The excursions to the site could have included the Scientists Platform to learn more about their work throughout different periods.
Moreover, his relatives already installed a memorial plate to Dmitry Ivanovich Chugunkov nearby. Today the plate needs restauration and is nearly unseen for the tourists. The team of the nature reserve believes that it is worth far more attention.
Memorial plate to Dmitry Chugunkov near Severo-Zapadnoye rookery
“The Commander Islands are known for their nature and researchers of wildlife. We reverently hold the memories about the scientists and would wish to make an isle of science near the rookery – a place popular with tourists and locals. It is the best place to share information about people who made a priceless contribution to research and conservation of local nature. For example, Yugo-Vostochnoye rookery on Medny Island still harbors plates to Sergey Marakov and Fred Chelnokov, but who can see them? Only 3 to 5 researchers, who come for monitoring in summer. Now we are forced to install the memorial near one of the cabins far from the village, where not many people still will have a chance to commemorate the researchers”, said Evgeny Mamaev.
Memory plates to Sergey Marakov and Fred Chelnokov on uninhabited Medny Island
Another place for the memorial may be Poludennaya Bay coast. During Georg Steller time, a northern fur seal rookery was situated not far from here, but later disappeared due to overharvesting.
The path on Severo-Zapadnoye rookery is a place in every tourist visit list for Bering Island. It is situated in 20 kilometers from the village. During breeding season, from observation points you can see thousands of northern fur seals and neighboring sea lions and harbor seals.