This section has won a 2002 Lowell Thomas Travel Journalism Award presented by the Society of American Travel Writers Foundation.
Arctic National Wildlife Refuge — Wilderness or wasteland?
I want to see for myself what the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge (ANWR) is all about. I became interested in the area during the 2000 presidential election. In his campaign, George W. Bush made it clear that he is gung-ho to open the coastal plain of ANWR to oil exploration. Overnight, a little-known area in the northeastern corner of Alaska became a household name. Why the heated debate over a place that most people will never visit? ANWR is a symbol for how we view our wild lands. If we open up the coastal plain to oil exploration, then what does the future hold for our national parks, forests, marine sanctuaries and wilderness areas? Will drilling in ANWR give the green light to invade these places too?
Part of my motivation for going to ANWR is selfish. If the coastal plain does get drilled, I want to see it before that happens. But another part of me believes that if Americans could see ANWR, then they wouldn't stand by and let the oil industry have its way. "There's nothing there," they say to you. It's my goal to show you ANWR so you can see for yourself whether it's a wilderness or wasteland. In order to do this, I'm bringing my "office" with me - a laptop computer, modem and satellite phone so I can send reports from the field. I have mixed feelings about being connected in a remote place. Most people escape to the backcountry to get away from the stresses of phones, faxes and computers. But ANWR is too important to not share my experiences with as many people who will listen.
I'll be pushing the limits of satellite communications by being in such a northern location. The tech guys at Globalstar tell me I've got a 50/50 chance of making satellite connections. So please tune in daily to my reports and if I can't get through all the time, do your own exploring of ANWR through all the links on this web site.
Amy and the ANWR Adventure team