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The way west; the Alpine oil field spreads out into the National Petroleum Reserve-Alaska. This huge expanse of critical wetland has just been opened to drilling by the Bush Administration even though most of the waterfowl in North America use the area as critical nesting grounds.

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A tributary of the Colville River runs rich with fall color in the center of the Slope. This area is so far removed from civilization that it’s very possible nobody alive has ventured there before. The North Slope is home to more areas of true wilderness than anywhere else in the United States.

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Vast and unexplored, the Utukok Uplands are the summer calving grounds for the western arctic caribou herd. The area is thought to be underlain with deposits of coal, making the area vulnerable to strip mining.

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A barrier island near Point Lay separates Kasegaluk Lagoon from the Arctic Ocean near Point Lay. This lagoon is home to beluga whales, bowhead whales and seals.

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Polygon-shaped water formations line the Colville River delta, making it one of the best places in North America for breeding birds.

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A dead bowhead whale lies on the beach in Kaktovik. The village is allowed by law to take three whales each fall for the meat and baleen. First the whale is washed with a front-end loader, then butchering begins.

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Miss Top of the World waves to the crowd during the July 4th celebration in Barrow, the North Slope’s largest village. Barrow is home to 5,000 people, half of the total on the Slope.

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Black brant (Branta bernicla nigricans) shown from above at Teshekpuk Lake, Alaska.

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Two peregrine falcon chicks huddle in their cliff nest along the Colville River, the Slope’s largest. The bluffs along this river support one of the highest densities of nesting raptors in North America.

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A polar bear feeds on the jaws of a bowhead whale harvested by natives along the coast of ANWR.

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Spread out across the uplands of the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge, the Porcupine caribou herd grazes in the midnightsun. The coastal plain of ANWR has become a battleground in the war for drilling on the Slope.

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Caribou warily cross a road in the Kuparek oil field, part of greater Prudhoe Bay. Those in favor point out that remnants of wildlife can still be seen in heavily developed oil fields. Environmentalists point out that the area is now an extremely polluted industrial zone.

Photo: Julie Jensen Director of Marketing | WVC O: 866.800.7326 | D: 702.443.9249 | E: j.jensen@wvc.org

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