Alaska Wilderness League recently co-hosted an event for the Anchorage adventure community in conjunction with some amazing partners: the American Packrafting Association, Alpacka Raft and Alaska Conservation Foundation.
A wave of enthusiasm for the Arctic Refuge filled Snow City Café as 130 Alaskans crowded in to build community, write official comments in opposition to the Bureau of Land Management’s draft plan for Arctic Refuge oil leasing, and share their love for the Arctic by signing special-edition Arctic Refuge packrafts.
Arctic Refuge supporters gather at the Snow City Café in downtown Anchorage, Alaska. (Alaska Wilderness League)
The two rafts—christened Olaus and Ms. Mardy—have traveled across the Arctic Refuge six times, collecting stories and signatures from those passionate about conserving this invaluable landscape. We collected many more Alaskan signatures at the Anchorage event before these packrafts head to D.C., where they will float the Potomac River this spring before being carried to Capitol Hill and the halls of Congress.
The packrafts—Olaus and Ms. Mardy—on one of their treks through the Arctic Refuge. (Dan Ransom Photography)
The event generated 72 unique comments against oil leasing on the coastal plain and helped renew Alaska momentum for Arctic Refuge protections. Renowned Alaskan adventurers and conservation advocates Luc Mehl, Haley Johnston and Roman Dial shared stories of their travels across the Arctic Refuge in boats, on foot and on skis. We were thrilled to engage with this sector of the Anchorage community, and look forward to fueling its energy as we move forward in the fight to keep oil development out of America’s largest and wildest wildlife refuge.