Press Release Apr 19, 2024

Park Advocates and Community Leaders Celebrate Victory for Gates of the Arctic National Park and Preserve 

In historic move, Secretary Haaland announced that the Bureau of Land Management intends to halt proposed Ambler industrial mining road through the Brooks Range of Northwest Alaska.  

Washington DC – National park supporters across the nation are celebrating today as Secretary Haaland announced Interior’s intention to reject the 211-mile Ambler industrial mining road in Alaska. Despite no evidence that a mine could extract economic amounts of critical minerals, the state of Alaska had proposed a 211-mile mining road that would slice through Gates of the Artic National Park and Preserve, sever the migration route for Western Arctic Caribou Herd, and devastate a vast pristine landscape that is homeland to 66 Alaska Native communities.

Alongside local, Tribal and national partners, NPCA has long argued that the ecological, economic and social impacts to the lands and communities of Alaska’s Brooks Range far outweighed any speculative benefits from this proposed mining project.

Following an extensive analysis and after hearing from people across the nation, the Bureau of Land Management has recommended a halt to permitting for the road, effectively protecting the park landscape, water, wildlife and communities from irreparable harm for generations to come. During the public process, park advocates submitted over 116,000 comments opposing the road. In its final environmental review released today, the Biden administration made clear that threats from the proposed mining road were too great to allow 211-mile private industrial road’s permits to remain in place. 

Today’s decision is an historic win for America’s largest national park landscape and reflects the will of the people in Alaska and across the nation who bravely and tirelessly spoke out in support of keeping this region intact.

“Everyone who has ever visited or dreamed of visiting Alaska’s national parks should be celebrating today,” said Theresa Pierno, President and CEO of the National Parks Conservation Association. “When the threat loomed of a 211-mile road cutting through Gates of the Arctic National Park and Preserve and dozens of native communities, people from across Alaska and across the nation spoke up. And they were heard. By rejecting this mining road, President Biden and Secretary Haaland have shown that they know how important it is to safeguard America’s treasured lands and respect the communities that have relied on and protected them for generations. Defeating the Ambler mining road took a courageous coalition and years of hard work from people who care deeply about the lands and communities of the Brooks Range. This victory shows that no matter how challenging the fight, parks have the power to unite us all. We are indebted to the Tribal leaders, community advocates, business owners and thousands of park supporters who never wavered in their determination to protect the lands, waters, wildlife and people of the Brooks Range.”

The final report released today concludes a two-year supplemental review of previously issued permits. Based on information gathered through the review process, the report concludes that the impacts to the Athabaskan, Inupiat, and Yupik cultural and subsistence resources within the resilient, vast Arctic landscape would be too great to legally permit. The proposed road route would have crossed nearly 3,000 waterways including the federally designated Wild Kobuk River and the Koyukuk River which includes important spawning grounds for the Yukon salmon fishery, already in crisis.

“Gates of the Arctic National Park and Preserve and the surrounding parklands of the Brooks Range are singularly important to all Americans and indeed to people all across the world,” said Alex Johnson, Interior Alaska Director for the National Parks Conservation Association. “This landscape still stands as one of the last bastions for ecologically and culturally intact large landscapes left on planet Earth. But most important of all protecting these lands and waters is a matter of life and death for the people of Northwest Alaska, who despite the odds have maintained their cultures, knowledge, and way of life to present day. The fight against this road began in these Alaska Native communities long before the alarm was sounded in the Lower 48, and it’s because of their leadership that we can celebrate this victory. President Biden, Secretary Haaland, and Director Stone-Manning are acknowledging that the future of these people, these lands, and these waters are far more precious than the speculative profits of an international mining company.”


About the National Parks Conservation Association: Since 1919, the nonpartisan National Parks Conservation Association has been the leading voice in safeguarding our national parks. NPCA and its more than 1.6 million members and supporters work together to protect and preserve our nation’s most iconic and inspirational places for future generations. For more information, visit