06 February 2013 No Road Through Izembek National Wildlife Refuge Posted by: Alex Slippen | Leave a comment | Share: Izembek National Wildlife Refuge (c)USFWS Alex Slippen, Communications Associate This week, the Department of the Interior signaled its preferred alternative to deny a request to build a road through remote wilderness areas of Alaska’s Izembek National Wildlife Refuge. The nearby city of King Cove, Alaska (pop. 938) had been advocating building a road that would connect King Cove to Cold Bay, Alaska, a move conservation organizations feared would severely damage the refuge and set a horrible precedent for future wilderness refuge management decisions. Interior secretary Ken Salazar has 30 days to make the final determination that the road is not in the public interest to block a land exchange that would have facilitated its construction. Our president, Jamie Rappaport Clark, had this to say about the decision: “The Department of the Interior was faced with a very difficult decision to make on the proposed Izembek road, but ultimately it has made the correct one given the wildlife and wilderness resources at stake. The proposed road would have significantly damaged an ecologically sensitive and critical part of the refuge that migratory species like the Pacific Black Brant depend upon. It also would have set a dangerous precedent for the future of wildlife refuge and wilderness area management across the country. Secretary Salazar takes his responsibilities for the Alaskan Native community very seriously, but in this case he was not persuaded that building a road through a wilderness refuge was the best solution to a difficult problem. National wildlife refuges are special places we as a nation have set aside as safe havens for wildlife. The Interior department has made a responsible choice to protect the integrity of the Izembek National Wildlife Refuge and the wildlife refuge system as a whole.” Want to learn more about how Defenders works to protect national wildlife refuges? Click here. Post Your Comment Click here to cancel reply. Name (required) Mail (required) (will not be published) You May also be interested in It’s Time to Act for Right Whales Years after they agreed to expand critical habitat for endangered North Atlantic right whales, we’re still waiting on NMFS to follow through. So we took to the courts to get this much-needed protection in place. How Should We Honor Earth Day? America has many worldwide firsts in conservation: we were the first nation to establish a national park, the first to create a national wildlife refuge, the first to approve a law protecting endangered species and the first to create a national day dedicated to conservation, Earth Day. But today, we are experiencing another period of crisis in America’s commitment to conservation. When did conservation become a polarizing political issue, when it has been, for the past century, a defining characteristic of American values and the American spirit? Ecological Insults and Injuries Revealed Four Years after Deepwater Horizon Four years after the Deepwater Horizon drilling rig spilled millions of gallons of oil into the Gulf of Mexico, we’re beginning to see the full scope of how this ecological disaster is impacting our wildlife on land, air and sea.