|A pond and river valley within the Brooks Range show just a bit of the refuge's diversity. Photo Credit: USFWS|
Former-director and dear-friend, Mollie Beattie, said, “What a country chooses to save, is what a country chooses to say about itself.” This week, when President Obama announced his intention to follow the recommendations of his U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, and support wilderness, and wild and scenic designation for over 12 million acres and four rivers within Arctic National Wildlife Refuge, he was choosing to say something important about America.
Only Congress can confer wilderness or wild and scenic status, and now a President is asking them to do just that. It may be a long effort. But this week, we begin. And in the meantime, we will continue to manage this spectacular refuge to protect its wildness, spanning five distinct ecological regions – lagoons, beaches, salt marshes, tundra and forests that are home to more than 200 species of birds, 37 land mammal species, eight marine mammal species and 42 species of fish.