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

  • In this report, we provide the policy framework for designating ORV trails and areas on federal lands, along with a series of recommendations based on recent case law and ten case studies from the Forest Service, BLM, and National Park Service that demonstrate both agency failures to comply with the executive order minimization criteria and good planning practices that could be incorporated into a model for application of the criteria.
  • Chart of offshore oil well blowout incident rates illustrates the need for stronger federal regulations to improve human safety and decrease environmental risk.

  • This fourth in a series of Easy to Start, Impossible to Finish reports analyzes four major transportation and energy projects in the planning stages in the state of Alaska. Alaska Gov. Bill Walker stopped discretionary spending on these four projects–the proposed Ambler Road in the Arctic Interior, Juneau Access, the Knik Arm Bridge and the Susitna-Watana Dam–soon after he took office in 2014. During 2015, Gov. Walker reversed course and allowed these projects to continue spending money on studies.