Alaska focus areas

The Wilderness Society’s work in Alaska focuses primarily on four key areas that are at risk from oil and gas development and logging.

These wild places provide critical habitat for salmon, polar bears, caribou, grizzly bears, whales and many other willdife species. They also are home to Alaska’s indigenous people, who depend on wildlands as a source of food and clean water.

Arctic National Wildlife Refuge

The Arctic Refuge is the crown jewel of the nation's wildlife refuge system. You will not find a more pristine landscape, yet every year oil and gas companies lobby Congress to open the refuge to drilling. Our work aims to protect the refuge from such harmful development.

Arctic Ocean

The Arctic Ocean is under relentless pressure from oil companies who want to drill for oil offshore. An oil spill here could be disastrous for Arctic wildlife and the coastal plain of the Arctic Refuge. We're fighting efforts to drill until more scientific knowledge and effective spill-response technology can be developed.

Western Arctic Reserve

This 22 million-acre region, also known as the Western Arctic Reserve, is vital to millions of migratory birds, thousands of caribou and numerous polar bears, musk oxen and wolves. We’re working with the Interior Department to keep drilling rigs out of the most sensitive areas.

Photo credit: Flikr creative commons: bcanepa_photos

  • Michael Reinemer

    Citing some of “the most beautiful and iconic landscapes on earth” in Teton County’s backyard, the board of commissioners Tuesday morning unanimously passed a resolution that “opposes any and all efforts by the State of Wyoming to obtain the wholesale transfer of federal lands in Wyoming” to the state. In January, Sweetwater County filed a letter with the state legislature stating similar opposition to measures that would turn over federal public lands—such as parks, wilderness, and national forests—to state jurisdiction and management.

  • Tim Woody

    In spite of Royal Dutch Shell’s disastrous performance during the 2012 Arctic Ocean drilling season, the federal Bureau of Ocean Energy Management today conditionally approved the company’s 2015 exploration plan, which provides even fewer safeguards for the Chukchi Sea and its sensitive coastline than Shell had in place three years ago. Shell also plans to bring a different rig operated by a new contractor to the Arctic Ocean in 2015, which could result in unexpected transport and drilling problems.

  • Michael Reinemer

    The Wilderness Society strongly supports bipartisan legislation, the Wildfire Disaster Funding Act of 2015 (S. 235, H.R. 167), to fix a budgetary problem called “fire borrowing.”  This is a destructive cycle in which the Forest Service is forced to take funds from other forest programs when its allotted wildfire funds are used up, essentially robbing Peter to pay Paul to put out fires in our national forests.