Management of Lands Added to the Refuge in the 1980s
In December 1980, Congress enacted the Alaska National Interest Lands Conservation Act (ANILCA). This act added about 9.1 million acres of adjoining public lands to the original 8.9 million-acre Arctic National Wildlife Range, and renamed the whole as the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge. The ANILCA addition extended from the Canada border west to the Trans-Alaska Pipeline corridor and south to the Yukon Flats National Wildlife Refuge. About 1.3 million acres selected by the State of Alaska in the southeast corner of the Refuge, surrounded on three sides by Refuge lands, were not included in the expansion under ANILCA. In 1983, however, the State relinquished these lands. The Secretary of the Interior accepted the State's relinquishment and added them to the Arctic Refuge.
The lands added to the Refuge in the 1980s are currently managed under a "Minimal Management" classification (as identified in the Comprehensive Conservation Plan linked at the bottom of this page), a category intended to maintain existing natural conditions and resource values. These areas are suitable for Wilderness designation, although there are presently no proposals to designate them as Wilderness.
Opportunities for public use are available for subsistence and for a variety of activities such as hunting, fishing, trapping, backpacking, river floating and camping. Traditional motorized access using aircraft, motorboats and snow-machines is allowed. Guiding and outfitting services and related temporary support facilities are permitted. The Service focuses its efforts primarily on maintaining natural conditions and on conducting studies and survey/inventory programs to increase the Refuge's resource database and evaluate public use levels and impacts.
Management designations are discussed in the Refuge's Comprehensive Conservation Plan, written in 1988. (52 meg pdf file). (PDF information.)
September 12, 2008