President Obama Calls for Wilderness Protection of the Coastal Plain of the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge
By Ron Hunter, Patagonia Environmental Activism Manager
The Obama administration has finalized a sweeping new management plan for the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge in Alaska that proposes designating millions of acres as Wilderness and off-limits to most oil and gas development. President Obama and Interior Secretary Sally Jewell unveiled the Refuge’s Comprehensive Conservation Plan (CCP), recommending a Wilderness designation for the Arctic Refuge’s Coastal Plain.
This is big news.
This CCP recommendation by the U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service (USFWS) recognizes the value of the Arctic Refuge as a wilderness-quality ecosystem that supports a full range of arctic and marine animals and habitats. The coastal plain of the Refuge provides critical habitat for migratory birds, polar bears, wolves, muskoxen, and caribou and for thousands of years has provided sustenance and sustained the lives and culture of the Gwich’in and Inupiat people.
Above: Rainbow on the Brooks Range, Marsh Fork of the Canning River. Western boundary of the "1002" area of the Arctic National Wildlife Area. All photos: Ron Hunter