The Izembek National Wildlife Refuge is Alaska’s smallest wildlife refuge at 310,000-acres, but it is one of the most ecologically unique. A majority of the refuge was designated as Wilderness in 1980 under the Alaska National Interest Lands Conservation Act. It is home to a wide variety of fish and wildlife species and their habitats, including bears, caribou, five species of salmon and many kinds of birds. It also holds Izembek Lagoon, a 150-square mile lagoon that covers one of the world’s largest beds of eelgrass. This lagoon is essential to the wildlife and migrating birds.
The community of King Cove, AK has proposed a road in the past, but it has not been approved for good reason. In 2017, the Department of the Interior began pushing for a road to be built through Izembek. The Trump administration and the King Cove Corporation have entered a deal to trade some of King Cove’s private land for acreage in the wilderness area. This trade would include the vital beds of eelgrass and other unique features relied on by the wildlife in this region.
Latest News: In March 2023 Interior Secretary Haaland withdrew a land exchange deal in Izembek National Wildlife Refuge. This is a great step toward protecting Izembek and the Alaska National Interest Conservation Act, but not left the door open for another land exchange in the future. We will continue to do all we can to ensure that does not happen.