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Pristine & Untouched – A Photographer Shares Arctic Refuge Photos – 5000 Miles of Wild

Adventure Photographer & Conservationist Mollie Foster Shares Photos & Her Love for the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge – a 5000 Miles of Wild Story.

Last August I started a two-week backpacking and packrafting trip in the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge with a visit to the expansive oil development in Prudhoe Bay. We saw a few birds in the shadows of oil rigs. Mostly it felt empty, dirty, and void of emotion. The contrast between the sights there, compared to backpacking through the wild, untouched landscape in the Arctic Refuge, are something I can’t get out of my head.

The Arctic Refuge is filled with signs of life everywhere; every day we walked by dozens of caribou antlers sheds, bear scat, and species of birds. We paddled our packrafts as a wolf swam across the river in front of us, just upriver from a cow moose with her calves. We saw signs of life, but very little signs of human life (a few bush planes the whole trip). I’ve covered miles of backcountry in Alaska traveling, to each corner of the state through my work as a journalist and photographer. The Arctic National Wildlife Refuge is one of the most pristine, untouched landscapes I’ve ever visited, and I will fight against development so future generations can also experience what I was so fortunate to witness.

There are few landscapes remaining on the planet where you can travel on a backcountry trip for hundreds of miles without witnessing any evidence of human development (as well as not running into any other people!) Whether you’ve been lucky enough to travel there, would like to in the future, or simply think the Arctic Refuge is worth protecting — send a note to the BLM before the comment period deadline today

~ Mollie Foster, Photographer and Author of, “Hiking Alaska.” Follow Foster on Instagram to see more of her beautiful work in the Arctic Refuge and elsewhere.

Paddling the Wind River on a calm, gorgeous autumn day, during our two-week human-powered journey from the Dalton Highway to Arctic Village, in the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge.
Paddling the Wind River on a calm, gorgeous autumn day, during our two-week human-powered journey from the Dalton Highway to Arctic Village, in the Arctic Refuge.

Tuesday, June 19th is the last day to comment. Need some suggestions on what to write?

Scoping Comments:

The scoping period provides an opportunity for people who could be affected by the proposed action to express their views and concerns, and to offer suggestions. The most effective comments include specific details regarding issues or concerns and provide rationale for the concern or suggestion. Ideas for effective scoping comments include:

  1. What are your specific concerns about a resource – and why?
  2. Do you know of any geographic areas of concern for a specific resource – and why?
  3. Do you have any ideas for alternatives to analyze?
  4. Give us ideas for mitigation measures or new technologies to consider in an alternative.
  5. Let us know about important information available in your community.

How To Comment:

There are a couple ways you can still submit a comment on the Coastal Plain Oil and Gas Leasing Program EIS:

  1. Submit your comment via webform: https://goo.gl/HVo5Mj
  2. Email your comment to: blm_ak_coastalplain_EIS@blm.gov