Management of Wild Rivers within the Arctic Refuge
In December 1980, Congress enacted the Alaska National Interest Lands Conservation Act (ANILCA). Section 602 of ANILCA designated the Ivishak, upper Sheenjek, and Wind Rivers as Wild Rivers. As a result, these rivers are part of the nationwide Wild and Scenic River System. The intent of this designation is to protect and enhance the natural and recreational values for which these rivers were designated while providing for public recreation and resource uses that do not adversely impact or degrade those values.
The Wild River management category is similar to the "Minimal Management" category (as identified in the Comprehensive Conservation Plan linked at the bottom of this page). The Service seeks to protect and maintain the physical and biological qualities of the river drainages and adjacent Refuge lands, including water quality and quantity, and strives to maintain the rivers' superb recreational opportunities. Recreational use is managed to maintain the drainages' resource and recreational values. Guiding and outfitting services and related temporary support facilities are permitted. Motorized access for traditional activities are allowed. Commercial timber harvesting, oil and gas leasing, and hydropower projects are not authorized. Oil and gas studies may be permitted subject to site-specific compatibility determinations. Developed recreational facilities, unless necessary to limit resource damage, would not be permitted. Outside of the Refuge and on private inholdings within the Refuge, the Service works with private landowners to ensure management continuity. The Service also works with the Alaska Department of Fish and Game to ensure that water quality and fish and wildlife habitats and populations are maintained.
Arctic Refuge Management designations are discussed in the Refuge's Comprehensive Conservation Plan, written in 1988. (52 meg pdf file). (PDF information.)
Additional Wild River management information may be obtained from the Interagency Wild and Scenic Rivers Coordinating Council, a federal government inter-agency council devoted to Wild and Scenic Rivers.
September 12, 2008