Watching over public lands and the wildlife dependent on them
Eighty percent of Alaska consists of publicly owned state and federal lands. Alaska parks, forests, refuges, and other public lands are vast areas of spectacular beauty. They teem with healthy populations of wildlife, from whales to wolves, caribou to bears, and salmon to birds. Many of these species are unique to the far north or have been endangered or eliminated from areas in the rest of the country. Some are endangered even within Alaska’s vast expanses of natural habitat.
Under the Alaska National Interest Lands Conservation Act (“ANILCA”), the most significant land conservation measure in our history, Alaska gained substantial protections for our lands of national importance. However, many are regulated for multiple-use, including resource development. Other protected lands are under intense and constant pressure to be made available for resource development. Demands for increased motorized access, new road construction, oil and gas exploration, large-scale industrial mining, and other inappropriate development threaten these lands and the wildlife dependent on them. What happens on these lands has impacts far beyond their borders. And laws and regulations are not always enforced. It is imperative that we keep a watchful eye on the state and federal land and wildlife management agencies.
Our latest Wild Lands and Wildlife program work includes:
In October 2016, the Ninth Circuit heard argument in a case challenging the National Park Service’s authority to protect Alaska’s national parks by regulating activities on navigable waters within parks.