Save the Arctic Refuge: Let the Obama Administration know you support wilderness designation for the refuge.
The Arctic Refuge is an one-of-a-kind stretch of unspoiled wilderness, often called the crown jewel of our refuge system. It is home to an amazing array of wildlife, including polar bears, caribou, musk oxen, wolves and more than 30 other land mammals.
Conservationists have fought for decades to protect the Arctic Refuge from the oil industry that constantly lobbies allies in Congress to open the refuge's coastal plain to oil development.
Fortunately, we've held the line against these yearly attacks since they started with the Reagan Administration. But until the coastal plain is protected as wilderness, the refuge and its wildlife will remain vulnerable.
VIDEO: SAVE THE ARCTIC REFUGE
The good news is that the U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service, which manages this 19-million-acre tract of public land – a refuge the size of South Carolina – has officially recognized that key areas are too special drill.
On Jan. 25, President Obama officially announced the administration's recommendation and vowed to urge Congress to pass wilderness designations and protect the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge permanently. The recommendation from the Fish and Wildlife Service is an endorsement that gives further support to members of Congress who wish to do the right thing and permanently protect America's last great wild frontier. In early April, the USFS finalized its Arctic Refuge management plan with Obama's recommendation, but already members of Congress, including Alaska's Rep. Don Young are fighting against the recommendation, introducing legislation that would block Arctic Refuge protections.
What can you do to help save the Arctic Refuge?
It's now up to Congress to make a final decision to designate wilderness in the refuge.
The Obama Administration needs to hear from Americans that they support this step so they will continue to fight for the Arctic Refuge. You can help by thanking President Obama for his recommendation and urge him to keep fighting for the refuge.
MAP: The Arctic Refuge
Threats to the Arctic Refuge:
- The Arctic Refuge has been under threat for several decades as the oil and gas industry and its supporters in Congress renew interest in opening the area to oil drilling almost yearly.
- The Arctic tundra that covers much of the coastal plain of the refuge is extremely slow-growing and fragile. Damage from oil trucks and infrastructure could leave lasting damage.
- The refuge teems with wildlife from caribou herds and denning polar bears to more than 160 bird species. These animals rely on the habitat for denning, calving and daily life. The site, sounds and pollution of oil development could put the health of these animals at risk.
How our supporters have helped so far
The Wilderness Society – and you – helped make it happen. Our staff has spent years building relationships with decision makers in the USFWS and the Obama administration, and we have provided technical and scientific comments on plans for management of the refuge. The Wilderness Society was also a leader in a coalition of numerous conservation groups that advocated for wilderness, and we helped government officials develop the rationale to support a wilderness recommendation.
And by responding to regular Wild Alerts over the years, our supporters helped provide more than 600,000 public comments urging the Obama administration to take this historic step. Every voice mattered, so this is your victory.
Today the wildlife that inhabits the refuge has a brighter future. And future Americans have a better chance of inheriting one of the greatest tracts of wild land in the world. Together, we’ll continue working to protect that legacy.
Video: Obama speaks about the his announcment on the Arctic Refuge
“This area is one of the most beautiful, undisturbed places in the world. It is a national treasure and should be permanently protected through legislation for future generations.” President Barack Obama