An American Serengeti

Visitors to most wilderness areas, refuges and national parks in the Lower 48 states never get more than five miles from a highway or road of some kind. The Arctic Refuge has no roads, no developments, no visitor facilities. You must pack in your own food and supplies, erect your own tent, and survive by your own wits. To get there, you must fly, take a boat, mush a dog sled, or walk in on foot like Nyitray.
"Sometimes I feel like I've taken a journey back in time,"
Nyitray wrote in the journal of his 1989 Arctic trek. "As if I've been transported to an earlier day somewhere in our ancient past with just what I carry on my back. I wander a world where the reality of the present (outside world) is neither seen, heard, or felt. Were it not for this journal, I would surely lose all sense of time."

The Arctic Refuge is what the rest of North America used to be -- a vast, unspoiled wilderness stretching from horizon to horizon. Despite its barren-looking landscapes, it is a place rich with meaty game and hungry fish. A man or woman skilled with a rifle or a fishing
pole need never go hungry.
The best hunters are the natives, an Eskimo people known as the Gwich'in who have fished for salmon in the Yukon River and hunted the caribou of the Porcupine herd for many generations. Their population is small, maybe 7,000, and most live in tiny outposts along the edges of the Arctic Refuge.
Social anthropologist David Murray, who has studied several Gwich'in villages, explains that few modern-day residents are dependent on game or fish for subsistence, but hunting and fishing helps families "gain access to traditional foods that are almost regarded as comparable
to medicines in their capacity to restore people to well-being."

by MichaelHofferber@outriderbooks.com
Copyright © 1996. All rights reserved.
Arctic National Wildlife Refuge
101 12th Ave.
Room 236

Fairbanks, AK 99701
Phone: 907-456-0250 and 800-362-4546
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