National Geographic
Menu

Tag archives for Teshekpuk Lake

Conservation as Wise Use in America’s Arctic

If a place on earth motivates a Bar-tailed Godwit to fly more than 9,000 miles from southern Australia, the Buff-breasted Sandpiper to fly 8,500 miles from the pampas of Argentina, and Arctic Terns to fly some 11,000 miles from Antarctic, well, that place must be something special. That special place is the coastal plain of Arctic Alaska, where these birds and millions of others come to breed in a still-remote nursery on top of the world.

Protecting the World’s Great Bird Nursery

Originally one of four Naval Petroleum Reserves, the NPR-A encompasses 23.5 million acres, including most of western Arctic Alaska. Handed over to the Department of Interior and the Bureau of Land Management (BLM) in the 1970s, the NPR-A was also recognized by Congress for its exceptional wildlife values. At that time, the Interior department created so-called Special Areas to be given “maximal protection” when balancing energy activities. Teshekpuk Lake was one such area.