Chill the Drills! Protect America's Arctic
Explore the Arctic with Google Earth
We invite you to "visit" the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge using Google Earth. A powerful tool for exploring our planet, Google Earth gives users considerable versatility in how they view and digest geospatial data. Download Google Earth for free and start exploring!
Don't have Google Earth? You can enjoy a similar experience by checking out our Google Map of the Arctic. No download is necessary; just click here and follow the story in the map information popups.
See the whole thing. This file (222kb) is a one-click download of all the smaller files offered below. You'll see the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge's boundaries, oil wells across Alaska, caribou information, and more. Go for the whole enchilada or, if you'd like to download smaller files, choose from those below.
Refuge boundaries. Here are the boundaries of the entire 19-million-acre Arctic National Wildlife Refuge. The nation's largest wildlife refuge, it was first set aside in 1960 by President Eisenhower and later expanded to its current size in 1980 under the Alaska National Interest Lands Conservation Act.
The "1002" Area. Pronounced "Ten-Oh-Two," this is the area under contention: a swath of coastal plain where drilling will take place if Congress approves the current budget reconciliation, which contains revenues from the sale of oil and gas leases. Congress is required to authorize drilling before development in the area can proceed. Having failed to get it approved as part of the energy bill, however, drilling proponents have made lease revenues part of the budget bill.
Native American villages and other towns in or near the Refuge. The two native groups with closest ties to the refuge are the Gwich'in and Inupiat.
Drilling across Alaska. So, you ask, where is drilling currently taking place in Alaska? This data shows active wells across the state. As you'll see, nearly the entire North Slope is currently exploited. We are merely trying to save the last five percent. Click the following links to see the National Petroleum Reserve, the current North Slope production area, and the Trans-Alaskan pipeline.
The Porcupine Herd and other wildlife. Named for the Porcupine River, this is the 130,000-head caribou herd that stands to suffer from the intrusive effects of drilling. While the caribous' range extends beyond the proposed drilling sites, the 1002 Area is nevertheless an important calving ground for the Porcupine herd. While the caribou has become the emblematic species of the Arctic, the biological diversity of the refuge includes 180 bird species and more than 40 species of fish, plus wolves, foxes, wolverine, polar bears, grizzly bears, and muskoxen.
Other Arctic Maps
Here are some non-Google Earth maps. Also, if you can't download Google Earth, you can click on the thumbnail images on this page to see static versions of the Google Earth maps; these will be updated periodically.
Caribou Migration Routes: From the Conservation GIS center, now part of the Alaska Center for the environment (see sources below).
Many other Arctic maps: Wildlife and oil production maps. See where oil can be drilled. Look at how small the 1002 area is in comparison!
Porcupine Herd Satellite Collar Project: Follow tagged caribou along their migration route.
Credits and data sources:
Special thanks to the GIS center of the Alaska Center for the Environment who have produced many excellent maps, and to our friends at Google, who provided us with software.
Most of the data comes from the Fish and Wildlife service. Other sources include:
USGS Data related to Alaska
USGS Data related to the Refuge
Alaskan DNR Data on oil