Photo: Richard Kahn
Today, the Department of the Interior issued a Record of Decision that formally adopts a new Integrated Activity Plan for the National Petroleum Reserve-Alaska (Reserve).
Located on Alaska's North Slope and almost 22 million acres in size, the Reserve is our country's largest single unit of public land. The final plan appropriately protects five unique Special Areas including Teshekpuk Lake, Utukok Uplands,
Kasegaluk Lagoon, Peard Bay and Colville River in the Reserve, which are critical to fish, wildlife, recreation and Alaska Native subsistence. The announcement of the final Integrated Activity Plan wraps up a multiyear planning process, and is the first ever comprehensive plan that has been completed for the entire Reserve.
Over 400,000 Americans, including sportsmen, Alaska Native subsistence users represented by the Western Arctic Caribou Herd Working Group and villages, tribes and other organizations representing more than 90 villages in Alaska called for protection of the wildlife and special places within the Reserve. Alaska Natives have relied upon the Reserve's resources for thousands of years for their subsistence use and continuance of their culture.
Conservation groups look forward to continuing to work with the Department of the Interior to refine needed protections for key special areas withinthe Reserve.
"We thank the Department of the Interior for protecting special areas within the National Petroleum Reserve-Alaska," said Cindy Shogan, Executive Director, Alaska Wilderness League. "The Department of the Interior has crafted a plan that protects and recognizes the vital role of subsistence, scenic and recreational values, and unique wildlife values. The Reserve is home to our most iconic wildlife, like caribou, muskoxen, grizzly bears and beluga whales. Thank you for protecting this special place for future generations."