Travel with raft guide Brad Snow to get a glimpse of northeastern Alaska’s 19-million acres of land and water that constitute the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge. Brad takes us on a journey beyond the physical beauty of the landscape, while encountering numerous animals and birds, and revealing the refuge’s fragility and vulnerability to human exploitation.
Located in northeastern Alaska it is the largest national wildlife refuge in the US, nearly the size of South Carolina, containing six different ecozones and spanning about 200 miles north to south. Many species of plants and animals, such as polar bears, caribou, wolves, snowy owls, and migratory birds rely on the refuge. It became a federal protected area in 1960, except Section 1002, which deferred a decision on management of oil and gas exploration and development of 1.5 million acres of the coastal plain. The Trump administration has supported and advanced the prospect of opening parts of the refuge to oil and gas concerns.
Brad brings us, along with his clients, on a flight into the heart of the Brooks Range where we land at the headwaters of the Hulahula River, which flows through the mountains and out across the Arctic plain to the Arctic Ocean. In this vast wilderness we encounter bears and muskox, aufeis (layered ice forms) and frigid water, while learning to deal with tundra toiletries and twenty-four hour daylight. His photos and stories bring to our attention the value of the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge and the importance of fighting to keep it free of development.