The Arctic National Wildlife Refuge is facing a tremendous threat. Its solitude and silence are one step closer to being replaced with noisy drilling equipment and heavy machinery. Over the course of our 115-year history, the American Alpine Club has been committed to protecting our country’s most treasured landscapes, including the Arctic. With Congress’ budget vote last week, the future of this crown jewel is at risk.
Located in northern Alaska, the Arctic Refuge offers dramatic mountain summits, inspiration and endless adventure. As AAC Managing Director Keegan Young says, “These mountain ranges and untouched landscapes represent the wild places in our heart and mind. I’ve climbed all over the world but return to these peaks because they ignite my soul. It's not just the rugged terrain, it's the solitude and magnificent beauty.”
Last week, the United States Senate passed a budget resolution that charges the Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee with reducing the federal deficit through revenues created by oil and gas leasing in the Arctic Refuge. Since the House of Representatives already passed a similar budget provision early this year, both the House and Senate will work to reconcile their budget versions before final passage and delivery to the president.
The AAC has a long legacy of scientific exploration and adventure in the Arctic—pioneering cutting-edge new routes and supporting research expeditions that have contributed valuable information to our understanding of mountain, Antarctic and Arctic ecosystems. For example, AAC Board Member Kit DesLauriers completed the first known ascent of Mount Isto in the ANWR and has been working to merge environmental science with adventure. Check out her story here.
Help protect our last great frontier: As climbers, we have a duty to protect the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge for future generations. We still have time to urge Congress to protect the Arctic Refuge and stop irresponsible energy development there.
Check out how your Senators voted. Call and tell them that you think the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge is too precious to be developed and tell them how you feel about their vote: (202) 224-3121.
Banner photo by Paxson Woelber.