Public lands play an important role in bird and caribou migration, climate change mitigation, and more.
Yukon River. Photo: John Schoen.
Large tracts of public land provide essential habitat corridors along migration routes. This is true for birds and large mammals, like caribou. When public lands are well-managed and kept healthy, people also benefit mentally, physically, and culturally. Public lands also buffer against the effects of climate change by providing natural climate solutions such as green and blue carbon storage.
In Alaska, we have 57 million acres of unreserved federally managed public lands, known as “D1” lands. These lands were withdrawn from mineral entry under the Alaska Native Claims Settlement Act in 1971, but there are regular attempts to open these areas for industrial development. These lands are home to muskox, Dall sheep, salmon, brown bears, caribou, and hundreds of migratory bird species. These public lands, are also the traditional hunting and fishing grounds for local Alaska Native communities. Audubon Alaska joins with Tribal leaders, rural villages, regional recreation businesses, and other conservation organizations in protecting these important spaces from the impacts of mining and oil & gas development that threaten communities and wildlife.
Opening these areas to mining, oil and gas exploration opens some of Alaska’s most critical salmon habitats to potential development without analyzing the impacts of these actions.
Audubon Alaska supports more inclusive decision-making that reflects Tribal concerns.