Road Building: Gates of the Arctic National Park

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Road Building: Gates of the Arctic National Park
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Carl Johnson

Ambler Road project: A road that will only lead to mining

Gates of the Arctic National Park and Preserve in north-central Alaska provides a true wilderness experience for those who travel here for premier backpacking and packrafting experiences.

This rugged park is totally free of roads and trails. There is no traffic and no pollution, just plenty of solitude among jagged, granite peaks and tundra valleys. But for those wanting swift transportation, a total of six wild and scenic rivers carve through the park, offering an exciting form of passage. Unfortunately, this park is under threat from a proposed road building project (Ambler Road), which would lead to development of a massive mine in the wilds of Interior Alaska.

Why this place matters

Alaska Natives and animals like caribou and bears rely on Gates of the Arctic. A road here will only lead to a destructive copper mine and pollute habitat. Unspoiled backcountry wilderness experiences could also be degraded.

200+ miles of proposed road
Roads fragment and damage sensitive wildlife habitat.
Pollution from a copper mine
Wildlife habitat will be polluted by a potential copper mine.
Alaska Native groups oppose the road
Alaska Natives who rely on the area oppose Ambler Road. We should follow their lead.

The threat

The Ambler Road project, otherwise known as the Ambler Mining District Industrial Access Project, would place a road through the currently roadless national park and preserve. Local villages oppose the road because it would harm wildlife habitat and the wildlife species on which their communities depend. The road would lead to a proposed copper mine in the Ambler Mining District, introducing truck traffic and pollution to places that are now natural and wild. Scientists and conservationists are concerned that a road could affect the Western Arctic caribou herd, which migrates through the affected areas.

We believe that the proposed mine and road are both bad ideas, and that the federal and state governments are not adequately tracking the environmental and human impacts that these projects would have on the landscape.

What we're doing

  1. Providing expertise

    We are opposing the proposed Ambler Road project by providing technical, economic and political expertise to a coalition of Alaska Native and other partners opposing the road.

  2. Advocating for a science-based environmental review

    We are advocating for more thorough environmental reviews to be conducted by the government before decisions are made. These reviews should analyze effects of the mine and the road.

What you can do
Tell lawmakers to support the Gates of the Arctic National Park. Sign up for WildAlerts to make your voice heard.