Hunters And Anglers Launch Campaign To Conserve Alaska’s Brooks Range

Hunters, anglers, and conservationists are uniting to safeguard Alaska’s iconic and awe-inspiring Brooks Range from the irrevocable impacts of the proposed Ambler Industrial Road.

The Brooks Range offers some of the best fly-in and float hunting and fishing opportunities remaining in the United States. The proposed 211-mile industrial corridor—designed to help foreign-owned companies develop at least four open-pit mines—would permanently alter the Brooks Range and diminish its values for fish and wildlife, and as a premier backcountry recreation destination.   

Supported by 35 leading outdoor businesses, brands, and organizations, Hunters and Anglers for the Brooks Range is committed to conserving the most wild and remote hunting and fishing grounds left in North America. The collective—which includes guides, outfitters, and transporters who operate in the Brooks Range—is urging the Bureau of Land Management to deny the permit for the private industrial corridor. 

The BLM recently released a supplemental Environmental Impact Statement for the proposed Ambler Road, which details more adverse impacts to fish, wildlife, and rural residents than previously acknowledged. The agency is seeking public comments on the project through Dec. 19 and plans to make a final decision in 2024. 

“Even in Alaska, a state renowned for its world-class fishing opportunities, the Brooks Range stands apart,” said fly fishing guide Greg Halbach of Remote Waters in Anchorage, Alaska. Halbach’s small operation offers guided wilderness floats on the Kobuk River, one of the only places in North America to target sheefish—also known as ‘tarpon of the north’ or Inconnu. “There is no question that the Ambler Road would degrade the remote wilderness that makes this area so special.” 

Many businesses and organizations affiliated with Hunters & Anglers for the Brooks Range recognize the need to develop America’s domestic mineral resources, and the campaign recommends that new projects be developed closer to existing infrastructure, where the impacts to fish and wildlife can be minimized or mitigated.

“The proposed mines are 211 miles from the nearest road and in some of Alaska’s best hunting and fishing grounds,” said Larry Bartlett, owner of Pristine Ventures, a hunt planning and gear manufacturing company in Fairbanks, Alaska. “The thought of a road crossing this landscape makes me question where the line exists between industry and politics. We have to agree to keep this place wild.” 

Construction of the proposed industrial corridor, which would be off-limits to hunters and anglers, would likely disrupt the migratory behavior of some species of big game and fish. One of Alaska’s largest caribou herds, the Western Arctic Herd, roams an expansive area of about 157,000 square miles, approximately the size of Montana. The Ambler Road would additionally   cross nearly 3,000 streams and 11 streams, degrading habitat quality and potentially blocking fish passage.   

“The risks of the proposed Ambler Industrial Road far outweigh any potential benefits,” said Jen Leahy, Alaska program manager for the Theodore Roosevelt Conservation Partnership. “The Bureau of Land Management will be hearing from our community, including Hunters and Anglers for the Brooks Range, about why the permit for the Ambler Road should be denied.” 

For more information and to become involved with Hunters and Anglers for the Brooks Range, please contact Jen Leahy at jleahy@trcp.org.

About Hunters & Anglers for the Brooks Range

Hunters and Anglers for the Brooks Range, a project of the Theodore Roosevelt Conservation Partnership, is a collective of seasoned hunters, anglers, conservationists, and leading outdoor brands. We are committed to defending the wild and remote character of Alaska’s Brooks Range—a world-class hunting and fishing destination—from the proposed Ambler Industrial Road.