Press Release

Biden administration rescinds land exchange, protects Izembek

Birds flying over Izembek National Wildlife Refuge, Alaska

Izembek National Wildlife Refuge, Alaska

Kristine Sowl, USFWS

ANCHORAGE, ALASKA – The Biden administration today announced its decision to rescind the illegal Trump-era land exchange agreement with King Cove Corporation that would have allowed the construction of a road through a designated wilderness area within Alaska’s Izembek National Wildlife Refuge.  

Reversal of the land exchange will protect the Izembek refuge’s important subsistence resources for local and neighboring communities and preserve its internationally important habitat for wildlife and migratory birds, while preventing construction of a road through a designated wilderness when viable non-road alternatives exist to meet the transportation needs of King Cove.  

In response, The Wilderness Society released the following statement from Alaska Senior Regional Director Karlin Itchoak:  

“We are profoundly grateful to Interior Secretary Deb Haaland and the Biden administration for this important decision to preserve designated wilderness not only in Izembek, but across Alaska. If left in place, this illegal land exchange would have created a devastating precedent threatening all conservation designations under the Alaska National Interest Lands Conservation Act. 

“This monumental decision protects the integrity of ANILCA and the conservation and subsistence laws that protect some 100 million of acres of Alaska’s public lands for future generations. Rejecting the indefensible land exchange mechanism will uphold ANILCA’s integrity and advance the administration’s conservation agenda.” Itchoak added.   


The Wilderness Society is the leading conservation organization uniting people to care for America’s wild places. Founded in 1935, and now with more than one million members and supporters, The Wilderness Society has led the effort to permanently protect 111 million acres of wilderness and to ensure sound management of our shared national lands.