Arctic National Wildlife Refuge 50th Anniversary

The Arctic National Wildlife Refuge is located in one of the least protected and most important habitat types for birds in all of Alaska – the Arctic Coastal Plain. Birds converge on the region and its abundant wetlands annually to rear young in the relatively safe, food rich environment. They come from wintering areas that span the globe.

The state of Alaska has a wealth of protected public lands in the boreal forests and mountainous regions to the south of the Arctic Coastal Plain. Unfortunately, perhaps due to its lack of impressive geologic features or traditional wilderness appeal, less than 2% of the coastal plain is permanently protected. The oil and gas industry has continually applied pressure to access the refuge and other important wildlife areas for energy development. I can say from first hand experience in the region that this would have devastating effects on the wildlife, the character of this pristine landscape and the native people living there. Energy development is already widespread on the coastal plain and there is room for new growth. But we must protect important areas in this critical habitat type.

Please support the permanent protection of the Arctic National Wildlife refuge and other special areas such as Teshekpuk Lake.


Aerial view of a tundra wetlands south of Teshekpuk Lake. Arctic Coastal Plain Alaska. July. (Gerrit Vyn)
Aerial view of a tundra wetlands south of Teshekpuk Lake. Arctic Coastal Plain Alaska. July. (Gerrit Vyn)



Flock of adult Brant (Branta bernicla) molting on a shallow lake in the Teshekpuk Lake Special Area. Up to 1/3 of the Brant in the Pacific flyway molt in this area threatened by oil development every year. National Petroleum Reserve, Alaska. July. (Gerrit Vyn)
Flock of adult Brant (Branta bernicla) molting on a shallow lake in the Teshekpuk Lake Special Area. Up to 1/3 of the Brant in the Pacific flyway molt in this area threatened by oil development every year. National Petroleum Reserve, Alaska. July. (Gerrit Vyn)



Adult Yellow-billed Loon (Gavia adamsii) in breeding plumage wing stretching on a tundra pond. Arctic Coastal Plain, Alaska. June. (Gerrit Vyn)
Adult Yellow-billed Loon (Gavia adamsii) in breeding plumage wing stretching on a tundra pond. Arctic Coastal Plain, Alaska. June. (Gerrit Vyn)


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