A proposed 220-mile industrial access road would cross over one hundred rivers and streams, interfere with subsistence lifestyles of rural Alaskans, and travel into Gates of the Arctic National Park and Preserve. Sound like a bad idea? We think so, too.

Billion Dollar Driveway cropped image
Map of Proposed Ambler Mining Road

In August 2016, the state of Alaska submitted an application to build the Ambler Road. Environmental review has begun and is expected to be completed in 2019.

NPCA is working to prevent construction of this expensive, unnecessary and damaging road, which won’t benefit park visitors or local communities.

Frequently Asked Questions on the Ambler Industrial Access Road

1. How much of the road will cross Gates of the Arctic National Preserve?

It depends on which route is chosen. The northern route would cross about 26 miles, and the southern route about 17 miles.

2. How can a private mining road be built across National Park Service land?

When Congress created Gates of the Arctic in 1980, it included a special provision allowing construction of a transportation route to the Ambler mining district across the preserve.

3. How is a preserve different from a park?

National preserves are managed the same as national parks, except sport hunting is allowed in preserves.

4. Why does the map show two routes across Gates of the Arctic National Preserve?

Currently engineering and environmental studies are being conducted to determine the most feasible route with the least impacts. If the road is built, only one route will be constructed.

5. Will I be able to drive this road?

No. Currently the road is being planned as a private road for mining trucks to transport copper ore.

6. What is the estimated cost to build the Ambler Road?

The Alaska Department of Transportation estimated the road to cost no less than $430 million. Given the length of the road, the number of costly bridges and the many acres of wetlands to cross, it is reasonable to expect the final cost to be considerably higher. Learn more (PDF).

7. How many local jobs would be created?

Developers estimate 400 local hire jobs would be created (150 temporary road construction jobs and 250 mining jobs). “Local hire” in this instance refers to the shareholders of the two native corporations in the region, NANA and Doyon. Overall, the road and mine would create 400 local jobs for 32,500 shareholders. Learn more (PDF).

8. Would the road help lower the high cost of food and fuel in remote villages?

Unlikely. The road will bypass all villages in the region except for the small towns of Bettles and Evansville. These two towns are already connected to the road system for several months each year via a winter ice road.

Effort-to-date

  • February 2015 General Management Plan for Gates of the Arctic

    Nov 2015

    Alaska supporters sent letters to NPS asking for protection of park resources.

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