Alaska Wilderness to Be Developed Following Covert Land Exchange

Alaska Wilderness
Alaska Wilderness to Be Developed Following Covert Land Exchange

ANCHORAGE, Alaska -(Ammoland.com)- Public lands sportsmen and women across the continent could experience a ripple effect of negative impacts as an Interior Department decision allowing development of wilderness lands in Izembek National Wildlife Refuge advances.

Located near the tip of the Alaska Peninsula on the Bering Sea, the Izembek refuge comprises habitat critical to entire populations of migrating waterfowl, as well as big game species such as caribou and brown bear and coldwater fish species, including salmon, steelhead, Dolly Varden and Arctic char.

The administration decision to accept the trade of Alaska tribal lands for areas within Izembek not only conflicts with the best available science; it could be precedent-setting, opening the door to similar development in wilderness, national wildlife refuges and other areas valuable to fish, wildlife and sportsmen.

Backcountry Hunters & Anglers members have strongly opposed past efforts to develop the refuge.

“Izembek National Wildlife Refuge belongs to the American people,” said BHA member Barry Whitehill, who lives in Fairbanks. “We the people deserve better than backdoor administration decisions that would irrevocably harm places so important to fish and wildlife, hunters and anglers. Sportsmen and women have stood up again and again in defense of our wildlife refuges and wilderness lands. Loss of wilderness at Izembek National Wildlife Refuge would diminish forever this national treasure.”

The federal government has repeatedly studied construction of the road through Izembek and its wilderness lands and consistently concluded that it would harm important fish and wildlife species.

The town of King Cove, Alaska, however, maintains that the road is needed to allow ambulances to access the airport in nearby Cold Bay during emergencies; the road also has been touted as a way to boost the town’s commerce.

Federal funds enabled King Cove’s purchase of a $9 million hovercraft to address the issue, but it was subsequently taken out of service.

“Waterfowl can’t speak up for themselves,” said BHA President and CEO Land Tawney, “so we are compelled to do so. Allowing a road through a wildlife refuge threatens the integrity of the refuge system and, in this case, threatens emperor and Pacific black brant geese directly. Our forefathers had the foresight to set aside these lands; disregarding their wishes would squander both our conservation legacy and the amazing hunting opportunities that go with it. We urge the administration to change course and act in the best interests of our public lands, our fish and wildlife and the American citizenry.”

The Interior-King Cove land trade could be finalized by Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke before the end of the month.

Backcountry Hunters & Anglers is the sportsmen’s voice for our wild public lands, waters and wildlife.

Backcountry Hunters and AnglersAbout Backcountry Hunters & Anglers:

Our freedom to hunt and fish depends on habitat. While many of us enjoy hunting and fishing on a range of landscapes, including farm fields and reservoirs, there is something special – even magical – about hunting deep in the backcountry or fishing on a remote river.

Wilderness hunting and fishing deliver a sense of freedom, challenge and solitude that is increasingly trampled by the twin pressures of growing population and increasing technology. Many treasured fish and wildlife species – such as cutthroat trout, grizzly bear and bighorn sheep – thrive in wilderness. Others, like elk and mule deer, benefit from wilderness. From the Steens Mountain Wilderness in Oregon to the Frank Church-River of No Return Wilderness in Idaho and the Boundary Waters of Minnesota, BHA members treasure America's wilderness system and strive to add to it.

We take the advice of Theodore Roosevelt: “Preserve large tracts of wilderness … for the exercise of the skill of the hunter, whether or not he is a man of means.”

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    diamondearthday1957IdadhoWild BillCarl in AlaskaDave Recent comment authors
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    Dave
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    Dave

    Do as Sec. Zimmerman says build the road let local people chose for themselves. not bha(aka sierra club). Bha has been to our county meetings, wanting us to lock up more of our county land! If we did what they wanted 1/6 of our county would be locked up! Shut up bha, let local people run there own local business . Your only agenda is to lock up the land and throw away the key!

    Tionico
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    Tionico

    One look at the headline and I KNEW BHA was all knicker-be-knotted again. Seems they can’t stand the thought of one square inch of land presently locked up for THEIR pleasure being used for anything but looking at and thinking about. Spoilt crybabies. With money. The most dangerous sort. That access road has been an issue for decades… Uncle Stupid adamantly refusing to budge. So they wasted $9Mn on a hovercraft. Ever tried to negotiate in one of those in a howling gale? They burn increadible quantities of fuel, can’t go fast at a, minimal payload, and super high maintainance… Read more »

    tomcat
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    tomcat

    I think Ammoland keeps putting the bha stuff in there in order to keep rattling our cages because it is known that bha is a source of agitation to most of us.

    Wild Bill
    Guest
    Wild Bill

    @Tcat, Yeah, you could be right. BHA is short for Ba Hahahaha!

    Samuel Stephens
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    Samuel Stephens

    Where ever man puts his foot he screws it up, let the land alone.

    Vanns40
    Guest
    Vanns40

    Irrelevant, we’re already there. Now it’s a question of proper management and that doesn’t include shutting everyone out for eternity.

    Wild Bill
    Guest
    Wild Bill

    @SS, I presume that you live shelterless, clothingless, and in the wilderness or are you part the “… man screws it up” problem?

    Idadho
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    Idadho

    Finally WB. You put that @ to good use. Do Samuel Stephens initials,SS stand for Stinkin’ Socialist?

    Idadho
    Guest
    Idadho

    Then stop kicking yourself in the backside. If you truly believe that, you would be against BHA and tell them to keep their feet out of the back country. Let the back country burn…….. Yeah, that sounds right.

    diamondearthday1957
    Guest
    diamondearthday1957

    So everything you touch you screw up? You must have had a hard life.

    Ron
    Guest
    Ron

    Move the town to the other end of the 12 miles ! Problem solved

    Ray
    Guest
    Ray

    Ron how would you feel about being forced to sell your home and being moved 12 miles away from your job site, home and perhaps the graves of your family at the whim of some unelected DC civil servant? Problem solved?

    Carl in Alaska
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    Carl in Alaska

    Thank you Tionico. I’m no legal expert but the Federal government reserves much much more property and lands than the Constitution allows. This abuse is rampant across the West. They will do anything to preserve or expand it. I give you the Bundy trial recently dismissed with prejudice as an example of government run amuck.

    Ray
    Guest
    Ray

    The federal government should not be controlling most of the land in a state. The people of the state should decide except in the case of national defense. Allow the people who live there and then know the land best decide. When a land area becomes a state the constitution requires all power not specifically assigned to the federal government belongs to the state–enumerated powers clause..

    Wild Bill
    Guest
    Wild Bill

    @Ray, that is not a correct statement of Constitutional law. Please see Article IV, Section 3, Clause 2 focus on “belonging to the United States.” Please see also US v Gratiot 1 McLean 454

    Tionico
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    Tionico

    Hold yer horses there, Bill. Those words have meanings, and those meanings have consequences. Note the word “territory”. that means public lands within the boundaries of the United States that are NOT part of any particular state… as the TERRITORY of Alaska was after Seward bought it from Russia and before it became a state. Once it became a state, ALL lands within the new state are now part of that stte, and no llonger under FedGov control.. with certain exceptions clearly laid out in Art 1 Sec 8 I believe it is.. the bit about DC, dockyards, post offifes… Read more »

    Wild Bill
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    Wild Bill

    @Tio, You write, in pertinent part, “… Once it became a state, ALL lands within the new state are now part of that stte, and no llonger under FedGov control.. ” The Congressional Acts enabling a territory to become a state, that I have read, do not grant all of the land to the state, but rather retain ownership and require all other entities to give up claims of title to the land that the Congress wants to keep, before that enabling act goes into effect. Although I have not read each Congressional Act enabling a territory to become a… Read more »

    Wild Bill
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    Wild Bill

    @Tio, here is some standard language used in the N. Dak., S. Dak, Montana, and Washington enabling acts: “Second. That the people inhabiting said proposed States do agree and declare that they forever disclaim all right and title to the unappropriated public lands lying within the boundaries thereof, and to all lands lying within said limits owned or held by any Indian or Indian tribes; and that until the title thereto shall have been extinguished by the United States, the same shall be and remain subject to the disposition of the United States, and said Indian lands shall remain under… Read more »

    Wild Bill
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    Wild Bill

    @Tio, et al Here is the land retention language from the Alaska statehood enabling act: “The State of Alaska and its political subdivisions, respectively, shall have and retain title to all property, real and personal, title to which is in the Territory of Alaska or any of the subdivisions. Except as provided in section 6 hereof, the United States shall retain title to all property, real and personal, to which it has title, including public lands.”

    Felixd
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    Felixd

    Does Ammoland support BHA? I’m asking because of the frequent appearance of articles about them that look like unchallenged press releases.

    Barr Peppes
    Guest
    Barr Peppes

    Sounds like the SIERRA club or ELF wrote this article. BHA is probably a hoax group that opposes hunting and fishing.
    I trust Sec Zinke.
    Build the road

    Vanns40
    Guest
    Vanns40

    BHA is anti-hunting, anti-sportsman. See the reply by Cecil, below your comment. As soon as I read the title I knew it was going to have their imprint on it. They are a false flag group.

    Cecil
    Guest
    Cecil
    James Russell Bailey
    Guest
    James Russell Bailey

    BHA has proven itself, once again, to be on the side of the Flat Earthers, and Eco-Terrorists, supporting a position severely detrimental to the lives of innocent families.

    BHA is immoral and unethical.

    Frank
    Guest
    Frank

    So, a 12 mile single lane road is somehow immoral? Given that Weather cancels or delays 30% of all flights in or out of King Cove and you get up to 20ft swells in winter, maybe the idea saving human lives should have more value than some waterfowl? Maybe we could look at how much the land swap is also? 61k acres from the Native Corporation for under 200 acres from the feds for a road that would connect to those already in the park. You would think that the additional 60k+ of land would be able to make up… Read more »

    Carl in Alaska
    Guest
    Carl in Alaska

    I’m sorry but this is a putz article written by people who are the only ones that want to savor what they wish to protect. This Is an ALASKAN issue wanted by the state and the Alaska Natives in King Cove. This is a land swap for a life ’emergency’ evacuation route in weather conditions that most lower 48ers wouldn’t leave a shelter. This is a single lane emergency route and many other tried have failed. Back off.