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Arctic Refuge Facts

What often gets lost in the debate over whether to drill in the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge (ANWR) is the overwhelming size of the arctic refuge. It is larger than several states. It is easy to see why drilling proponents see lunacy in not letting a small fraction of the area be open to development. Here are some refuge facts from the The Science Museum of Minnesota:

Occupies 19.5 million acres in the northeastern corner of Alaska and is about the size of South Carolina. It lies north of the Arctic Circle and 1,300 miles south of the North Pole.

8.9 million acres of the ANWR are designated as wilderness. The 1.5 million-acre coastal plain, along the Beaufort Sea, does not yet have wilderness designation. This is the area of the refuge where oil drilling has been proposed.

The refuge encompasses the traditional homeland of Inupiaq Eskimos and the Athabascan Indians.

Average temperatures: 41 degrees summertime, -4 degrees in winter and average annual rainfall is 10 inches.

Most of the refuge is accessible only by aircraft.

Refuge is home to 36 species of land mammals, nine species of marine mammals and at least 36 species of fish. Seasonal migrations bring 180 species of birds from six different continents.

All three species of North American bear (black, grizzly and polar) live within the borders of the refuge and the only national conservation area where polar bears regularly den.

Dall sheep live year-round on the refuge as they have since the Pleistocene Epoch.

Permalink :: Posted by Clay Butcher on September 09, 2004 :: ::

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