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Top Arctic Wilderness Quotes

The Arctic National Wildlife Refuge is a place that has inspired many to share the experience. In the name of spreading the magic, here are a few of our favorites:

The Arctic National Wildlife Refuge is a place that has inspired many to share the experience.  In the name of spreading the magic, here are a few of our favorites:

The Arctic Refuge's Coastal Plain by Pamela A. Miller

“You are now facing a group of people who are saying that no amount of money is worth exchanging our culture for”- Robert Thompson, the Kaktovik petition to Congress March 14, 2005.


“We are the caribou people.  Caribou are not just what we eat; they are who we are.  They are in our stories and songs and the whole way we see the world.  Caribou are our life.”- Sarah James, Arctic Refuge: a Circle of Testimony


“We are asking that you take this opportunity to make a choice.  The type of choice that your ancestors did not have an opportunity to make.  Help us save a wilderness for all of our children…Just think, the buffalo have never been forgotten.”- Adeline Radoff, “Gwich’in Say No to ANWR Development,” July 10, 1988. Unknown newspaper (DNM?)


“I, for one, am not willing to sell my birthright in this piece of wilderness for any oil development.”- Celia Hunter, statement for hearings before the Senate Energy Committee, October 15, 1987.


“You can’t have it both ways.  Either you respect the wilderness quality of the environment and write it into law or you denigrate the condition of pristine nature and place the need for oil uppermost on your scale of values.”- Celia Hunter, Testimony before Joint oversight hearing on Arctic National Wildlife Refuge, November 17, 1987.


“The oil industry argues that the 19 million acre refuge can stand to lose the 1.5 million acre coastal plain….the industry’s argument is like staying that I shot the man but the bullet only made a small hole through his heart.”-  Debbie Miller, Testimony before the Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee, October 15, 1987.


“There is something inherently special about places where humans and all members of the animal kingdom bear their young.  Such places are looked to with reverence, renewal of spirit, and celebration of life…We should treat this special place, and all animal birthplaces, with the same kind or reverence and recognition that we give birthplaces of our own species” -Debbie Miller, Midnight Wilderness, p. 33.

Baby Ground Squirrels by USFWS

There must be, I feel, certain places on this planet that remain undisturbed, for what they are and what they represent in terms of a society’s ultimate values.  If we are to say, and demonstrate, that nothing finally is sacred, and that everything must remain open to exploitation, then it seems to me that America must relinquish all claims to a moral leadership in this world.  We do not govern simply through laws and by force, but by example – by what we reveal of our basic values in relation to Nature and a resident people.”- John Haines, Arctic Refuge, A Circle of Testimony, 2001


“The ethic, spiritual, recreation, and educational values of such an area are those one cannot put a price tag on any more than one can on a sunset, a piece of poetry, a symphony, or a friendship.”- Ginny Hill Wood on the Proposed Arctic National Wildlife Refuge, 1958-59

Jacob's Ladder by Franks Keim

“I felt my life just beginning, and I knew that I would always want more of it, of this kind of space and primordial wild…have you ever seen a landscape so large, so empty, yet in another way so very full."- Glendon Brunk, Arctic Refuge: A Circle of Testimony

 "It seems to me that true national security resides in our hearts.  In our willingness to bravely honor the future." -Glendon Brunk from the Last Great Wilderness Slideshow.


“Here there still survives one of Planet Earth’s own works of art, and this one, too, symbolizes freedom: freedom from the crowding and pollution of our cities, freedom to continue, unhindered and forever if we are willing, the particular story of Planet Earth unfolding here—freedom for us as well, who need to come to the few out-of-the-way places still remaining where we can breathe freely, be inspired, and understand a little of the majestic story of evolution, but also where we can learn to appreciate and respect the intricate and inscrutable unfolding of Earth’s destiny—when free from meddling human concerts and the urge to take possession of and use up what we so imperfectly understand.”- Lowell Sumner 11/30/1985 address to the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge 25th Anniversary Celebration.

Photo by Jon Miller

“I am testifying as an emotional woman and I would like to ask you, gentlemen, what’s wrong with emotion?  Beauty is a resource in and of itself.  Alaska must be allowed to be Alaska, that is her greatest economy.  I  hope that the United States of America is no so rich that she can afford to let these wildernesses pass by- or so poor that she cannot afford to keep them.”- Mardy Murie, Alaska Lands Bill testimony June 5, 1977 in Denver, Colorado.  


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