The Cortez Chronicles
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In search of solitude in a raging world . . .

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The Kongakut River Diary

June 20-31, 2004

 

Author: Lance Holter 1a

Photographs by Scott Heller 1b

 

Kongakut River: Caribou Pass, ANWR - June, 2004 / Copyright (c) Scott Heller


 
 
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Introduction

Lance Holter's Kongakut River Diary provides for our readers a perspective of the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge (ANWR) that is uniquely applicable to the Cortez Chronicles theme. It is a story embracing adventure, challenge, common sense, introspection, skillful management of resources and survival -- a story that embodies the very essence of personal solitude. Woven within the framework of this theme the reader will find a delicate balance between environment, the caribou, and an essential and environmentally sensitive people who have managed the land and the wildlife for countless generations.

 

The Kongakut River Diary 4a

 

Herd of Caribou on the Coastal Plain, ANWR - June, 2004 / Copyright (c) Scott Heller

Make no mistake about it -- the stakes are high in ANWR. Underlying the possibility of up to 3.5 billion barrels of crude oil, a paltry six months' U.S. oil consumption at best, is the very survival of the flora and fauna2 of the region, including the Porcupine Caribou Herd (Alaska's largest) and the way of life of a unique and irreplaceable people, the Gwich'ins, whose ancestors have lived throughout recorded history in complete symbiotic rapport with nature.

The Gwich'in people and the Caribou are one -- they thrive to assure each otherís survival. And now the introduction of oil drilling alone will undermine their relationship, for this land is very delicate3. The land, the caribou and the Gwich'in people themselves are on the brink of disaster as the U.S. congress prepares to authorize their systematic destruction for the sake of a quantity of oil that will have no appreciable effect on U.S. shortages.

The following links comprise a comprehensive look at ANWR that will at best provide the insight so desperately missing in Washington, D.C., and at worst turn your stomach in indignation.

 
L. Fox

 
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Gwich'in Brochure "Iizhik Gwats'an Gwandaii Goodlit"
www.oilonice.org Caribou in the Arctic Refuge
arcticcircle.uconn.edu The Gwich'in of Alaska and Canada
www.oldcrow.ca Old Crow, Yukon - The Porcupine Caribou Herd
www.uaf.edu Alaska Native Languages - Gwich'in
earthmath.kennesaw.edu The Gas Mileage of ANWR - Do the math yourself!
amazon.com Subhankar Banerjee: "ANWR - Seasons of Life and LandB"
Guest Articles Trekking ANWR
Correspondence Additional background material
 
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The Kongakut River Diary 4b

 

The author on the Kongakut River, ANWR - June, 2004 / Copyright (c) Scott Heller

 
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1a|1bKongakut River Diary copyright 2004, Lance Holter.  Mr. Holter is a conservationist and wilderness enthusiast living in Paia, Maui.  Scott Heller is an adventurer seeking to see wild places before they are forever changed.

2Arctic fox, Tern, wolf, Polar Bear, Bald Eagle, caribou, Dall sheep, grayling, Grizzly bear, gyrfalcon, Harlequin, loon, marten, Merganser, musk ox, rough-legged hawk, scooter, seal, weasel and other species mentioned in the article.

3The slow-growing tundra, for example, is estimated to take a hundred years to retake the muddy tracks left by a single errant vehicle in the environment of the Arctic Circle.

4a|4b|4cTo return to this page, click on our Caribou Pass picture at the right end of the Cortez Chronicles title bar; or simply click your browser's Back button.

 
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