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Quotes from the Alaskan Voices Project:

Quotes from Alaskans about why they support protection of the Arctic Refuge.

Why Alaskans Support Protecting the
Arctic National Wildlife Refuge


“We in Alaska are not of one mind on drilling for oil in the arctic Refuge, as our congressional delegation would have others believe” –Mary Core, former director of Alaska Conservation Foundation, “Monumental Choice for the Arctic National A Wildlife Refuge,” Dispatch, Fall 2000, pp. 3-4.


It’s a sacred place:

“Here was the living, moving, warm-blooded life of the Arctic…with the wisdom of the ages, moving always, not depleting their food supply, needing all these valleys and mountains in which to live.”

-Margaret Murie, Refuge Founder

“I’ve watched the caribou stream by in the thousands.  To this day caribou migrating in the Arctic are for me one of the ultimate wild spectacles.  It’s the flow of abundance across the harsh cut of an Arctic landscape, a sea of antlers bobbin and catching the sun in a thousand ways.  Witnessing it, you’re privileged to feel something primal and ancient and important, a sacred gift. To witness it is to feel the divine.  It is not easy to feel the divine in the oil fields.”

-Glendon Brunk, Fairbanks, Yearning Wild p. 272

“This is truly the most extraordinary of ancient birthplaces.  There is a sacred quality about this ground, this tundra so exquisitely sweeps to the annual pilgrimage, traveling thousands of miles, to breed, to give birth, and to nurture their young.  It is America’s greatest wildlife Mecca.”

Debbie Miller, Midnight Wilderness, p. 32

The value of knowing it's there:

“The Arctic Refuge is unique not only in Alaska, but the world!  It is a touchstone for all citizens of the U.S. as a place that they may not visit but feel relieved to know it is protected”

-Barb O’Donnell, Ester

“The refuge is a place that changes those who visit.  It’s a place that is precious to millions who never will.  It’s a place whose existence strengthens our awareness of and sense of responsibility for the natural world.”

-US Fish and Wildlife Service

“I probably will never get there again, but I can imagine being there.  I'm just content knowing the Refuge is safe, I love watching the moon in the winter, but I don't have to go to the moon. I just love knowing it is there.”

-Mary Shields, Fairbanks

“There is a deep satisfaction in knowing that such wild habitat exists in its natural, unadulterated state to support these high-latitude evolutionary achievers.  It is a sanctuary that belongs to them.  I am only a fortunate visitor.”

-Debbie Miller, Midnight Wilderness, p. 44.

“Having a place that is protected in America’s arctic should be very important to all the people who enjoy wild lands”

-Joseph Ransdell-Green, Fairbanks

Scientific value:

“Wild lands, with healthy ecosystems are very dear to me”

-Joseph Rueter, Fairbanks

“[The Arctic Refuge] makes a continuous ecosystem with the mountains which is important to large animals like bears and wolves and it is critical calving grounds.”

 -Martha Raynolds, Fairbanks

“It takes a lot of territory to keep this alive, a living wilderness, for scientific observation and for aesthetic inspiration”

-Olaus Murie, Refuge Founder

Recreational value and impact on quality of life:

“I like floating down beautiful rivers.  I like nice animals.”                                                                              -Adela, Fairbanks

“In the Arctic Refuge the primal landscape is the overriding thing.  It’s like a museum, a time machine experience that can transport you back…before the world was altered.  To hunt in that context is a profound experience.”

-Sandy Jamieson, Ester

“The refuge is important to me because it gives a higer quality of life for man and all humans because of the wildlife, wilderness and scientific values it provides.”

-Joseph Ransdell-Green, Fairbanks

 “Prudhoe bay has nine oil fields: they still withhold oil 400,000 barrels in a 21.6 million dollar pipeline to raise the price.  What goes to the U.S. drill one more field on ANWR to withhold more oil.  Lover 48 thinks ANWR would end high gas prices, they have no clue.”

-Ted Tormey, Alaska

“Certainly a wilderness area, a little portion of our planet left alone…will furnish us with a number of very important uses…If we are wise, we will cherish what we have left of such places in our land.”

-Olaus Murie, Refuge Founder

“Having a wilderness experience gives you a different perspective on the world.  The refuge’s wilderness experiences are like no other.  Because one can hike for weeks and never see a single soul.  This wilderness is very valuable to me…I plan to do a wilderness trip in the Refuge in the next five to ten years.”

-Joseph Ransdell-Green, Fairbanks


It's part of a larger whole:

“The coastal plain is an integral part of the entire refuge.  It complements the whole.  An error in thinking about oil drilling is that it involves two mutually exclusive viewpoints: “our” narrow interests versus “their” narrow interests.  In truth, we don’t want wilderness status in order to satisfy “our” narrow interests.  We want it because wilderness is intrinsically valuable and does not satisfy our narrow interests, but rather everyone’s true interests.”

- Clancy Crawford, Anchorage


Oil and gas development is damaging:

“[oil development on the Coastal Plain] seems as sacrilegious as driving a motorcycle into the Sistine Chapel.”

-Debbie Miller, Midnight Wilderness, p. 19.

“Wildlife and wilderness values are Alaska’s most valuable renewable resources.”

-TVSA Rep. Glenn De Spain, 1959 Senate Testimony

Concern for the Future:

“It is the last remaining wilderness in the eastern Alaskan Arctic and it is important to our industrial and over-developed society to have wild places for solace and for cleaning the planet.”

-Karen Brewster, Fairbanks.

“The refuge we set aside as wilderness to preserve a beautiful part of the country- if the Arctic Refuge is opened to drilling, what’s to say another wildness area or national park won’t be opened as well?  We need to protect our parks and preserves for future generations!”

-Marla Stanscewich, Fairbanks

“Will our society be wise enough to keep some of “The Great Country” empty of technology and full of life?”

- Mardy Murie, Refuge Founder

“In the far northeast corner of Alaska there is still hope.”

-Fran Mauer, Fairbanks


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