Across much of the country, millions of acres of public lands are managed by the Bureau of Land Management, which comes out to 1/10th of America’s surface area. But no other state comes close to Alaska’s acreage. Today these public lands which have kept much of Alaska wild, and home to some of the best fishing, hunting, and outdoor recreation opportunities in the nation, face a threat. BLM is considering opening up some 28 million acres of protected BLM (D-1) lands to industrial activities, such as mining and oil and gas development. The withdrawal process would strip the lands of D-1 protections, which are all the unreserved federal lands in Alaska that were withdrawn from mineral entry under the Alaska Native Claims Settlement Act. The Wild Salmon Center developed an action alert to encourage the BLM to maintain these D-1 protections to ensure these portions of Alaska remain wild and continue providing critical habitats for so many species of fish and wildlife. Be sure to check it out before the February 14th comment deadline!

“D-1 protection is arguably more important than ever, given the pressures of climate change on Alaska’s natural systems, fish and wildlife populations, and human communities,” said Alaska Program Director Emily Anderson. 

BLM is considering removing these protections from 28 million acres in western Alaska for five management plans.

These proposals include lakes, streams, and more than 5,000 miles of rivers critical to salmon.

“Alaska’s BLM-managed D-1 lands cover roughly 13 percent of the state: unfragmented habitat that represents some of the nation’s largest remaining intact ecosystems,” added WSC’s Anderson. “We absolutely cannot afford to pass up this historic opportunity to secure a huge win for Alaska’s fish, wildlife and human communities.”

Be sure to head to WSC and fill out the Action Alert to protect these parts of Alaska from industrial, extractive activities. 

Maps and photos courtesy of WSC and Dave McCoy.

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