The Arctic Refuge is one of America’s most valuable wilderness areas. Unbroken ecosystems span boreal forest to Brooks Range peaks to Arctic Ocean. The land and plants are beautifully dramatic in all seasons.
Arctic National Wildlife Refuge – The Land
This great wilderness, during every season, supports diverse and thriving populations of plants and animals that call this place home. The coastal plain is its beating heart.
The Arctic Refuge is natural, wild, and free. Wilderness provides cultural, spiritual, symbolic, wildlife, ecological, scenic, and recreational values. The refuge’s community of life is the essence of our nation’s wilderness heritage.
The Arctic Refuge spans boreal forest to Brooks Range peaks to Arctic Ocean coasts. It is the only protected area in the circumpolar arctic which protects a complete range of intact Arctic and Sub-Arctic ecosystems.
As the months pass through all of the Arctic Refuge’s ecosystems, the changes to the land are beautifully dramatic.
Plants & Flowers
Summer’s midnight sun brings a burst of plants and brilliant flowers. A unique diversity of vegetation types grow across wetlands, tundra, rivers, mountains and boreal forest.
Rivers to the Coast
The Continental Divide in the Brook Range sends some rivers north to the Arctic Ocean and others south to the mighty Yukon River. Water is scarce but vital to tundra life.
The Gwich’in people call the Arctic Refuge the Sacred Place Where Life Begins. For millennia their culture has been linked to the Porcupine River Caribou Herd which migrates to the coastal plain each year to give birth to and raise their young.