Arctic National Wildlife Refuge

Photo courtesy of Moe Witschard

With its vast expanses of wildlife-rich landscapes threaded by immaculate perennial rivers, the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge is largely considered the birthplace of our favorite activity…packrafting.

Although it was removed from oil and gas speculation in 1960s by a series of Congressional designations, the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge is now in the cross hairs of industry-friendly politicians, who would trade the region’s majestic wilderness and wildlife habitat to offset losses from significant proposed tax cuts to corporations and our nation’s most wealthy individuals. The Trump administration’s 2017 tax bill has a rumored 4 pages about drilling in the Arctic Wildlife Refuge, but the draft bill is not available for public review.

It appears that the bill will do an end-run around NEPA to expedite an oil and gas leasing program that would begin within 2 years after passage of the bill. The current expectation is that pre-leasing exploration could begin as early as 2018, especially on Native Corp land within the Refuge. (Arctic Slope Native Corp owns ~90,000 acres of subsurface estate in the 1002 portion of the Refuge.)

Government and industry officials that would like to covertly downplay the region’s merit as an extraordinary wildlife refuge use the acronym “ANWR” (pronounced “Ann-waar”) when referring to the refuge. So, in your correspondence and conversation, be sure to write out and speak the full name “Arctic National Wildlife Refuge” so the message gets across that it is unacceptable to industrialize this critical habitat.

APA is planning some on-the-ground action in the Refuge for summer 2018, see An Arctic Refuge For All Americans.


Photos courtesy of Moe Witschard

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American Packrafting Association

PO Box 13
Wilson, WY 83014