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Alaska Fly-In: Arctic National Wildlife Refuge
Backpack beside Porcupine caribou before it's too late.

Photo: Camping at the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge.
SANE ASYLUM: Camping at the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge.

You've heard it all before, but really, this could be your last chance to see the much debated 1002 area of the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge (ANWR) in its current state. Since the 1980s the 1002 area has been a battleground between oil lobbyists and environmental groups. Petroleum companies claim the oil in the 1002 area would help reduce U.S. dependence on foreign petroleum, while the environmental lobby maintains that any development would destroy one of the most pristine pieces of Arctic tundra left in the U.S. and the calving ground of the 130,000 strong Porcupine caribou herd. At the moment, legislation is in the works to begin drilling in 1002, and most pundits think the chances of it passing are good.

To see the area in question, contact Fairbanks-based outfitter Arctic Wild, which conducts 26 different trips into the refuge. Their nine-day Coastal Plain Backpacking Expedition (U.S. $2,600, including airfare from Fairbanks and meals; www.arcticwild.com) begins in ANWR's Sunset Pass region on the south side of the treeless Sadlerochit Mountains, right on the boundary of 1002. For 30 miles (48 kilometers), visitors cross the mountains and the coastal plain on the way to the Arctic, dipping in and out of 1002 as they go. The end of the line is Camden Bay, a sweeping gravel beach at the edge of the Arctic Ocean.

Want to take on Alaska's wildest roads with tips on where to stay, eat, and play? Pick up the August 2005 issue of Adventure.

Subscribe to Adventure today and save 62 percent off the cover price!

Photograph by Chlaus Lotscher

Additional Excerpts
From the print edition, August 2005

• Instant Alaska: Four explorer-worthy fly-in trips.
Hell-Bent for the Arctic: Emerging Explorer Kira Salak takes the ultimate Alaska bike trip
The Map of Us All: Geneticist Spencer Wells's plan to use DNA clues to retrace the origin of humankind
Stalking One Very Cool Cat: Writer Paul Kvinta searches for snow leopards in India
There & Back: Mountaineer Ed Viesturs summits Annapurna
Pelton's World: Our man on the scene explains why he travels alone


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August 2005

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