U.S. Court Rules In Favor Of Road Project Through Izembek NWR

A long-standing tug-of-war over a proposed road that would allow Native villagers to connect to the community of Cold Bay along the Alaska Peninsula – via Izembek National Wildlife Refuge – took a step toward becoming a reality today.

Here’s more from the Anchorage Daily News:

A three-judge panel for the court, with one judge dissenting, determined that former Interior Secretary David Bernhardt in 2019 correctly approved a land exchangebetween the Interior Department and King Cove’s Alaska Native village corporation, according to the 44-page decision. The land exchange would pave the way for the road.

The village has sought to build the road for decades, arguing that it would prevent deaths by allowing residents to quickly reach the community of Cold Bay, which has an all-weather airport and access to emergency flights. Conservation groups have argued that the road would support commercial interests, such as for fishing, and harm migrating waterfowl and other wildlife that depend on the 310,000-acre refuge near the tip of the Alaska Peninsula.

Della Trumble with the King Cove Corp., representing Alaska Native people from the village, said the ruling is good news after a roughly 40-year fight.