The Ground Between US


Arctic National Wildlife Refuge

The Arctic National Wildlife Refuge, located in the northeast corner of Alaska, is one of the finest examples of wilderness remaining anywhere in the world. It is a perfect example of intact, naturally functioning Arctic and subarctic ecosystems. In fact, such a broad spectrum of diverse habitats occurring within a single protected unit is unparalleled in North America. The Trump administration recently completed the first step in its process to hold an initial oil and gas lease sale in the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge, and it could also be on the verge of green-lighting seismic exploration on the Arctic Refuge's coastal plain. It is rushing forward with plans for destructive oil and gas drilling while disregarding the biological, cultural and climate impacts on a rapidly warming Arctic. This push is the result of Congress passing a controversial tax bill in 2017 that mandates development on the coastal plain, sacred lands of the Gwich’in people and vital habitat for caribou, polar bears and of migratory birds. Please visit the Gwich'in Steering Committee to learn more. 

Bears Ears National Monument

President Obama used his authority under the Antiquities Act to designate Bears Ears National Monument on December 28th, 2016. Nearly 100,000 archaeological and cultural sites were covered by the proclamation, including House on Fire and Moon House ruins. The proclamation elevated the voices of the Native American tribes who have ancestral ties to the region. The Bears Ears proposal was led by five Tribes—the Navajo, Hopi, Zuni, Ute Mountain Ute, and Ute Indian Tribes. For the first time in American history, these Tribes would have a greater say in the management of these culturally important lands. Unfortunately, on December 4, 2017, President Trump ignored millions of public comments and repealed Bears Ears National Monument, replacing it with two much smaller, non-contiguous units totaling less than 230,000 acres (an 83% reduction). The unprecedented act leaves rare archaeological sites and stunning wildlands without protection from looting, prospecting, oil and gas drilling, uranium mining, or off-road vehicle damage. Visit the Bears Ears Inter-Tribal Coalition and Utah Diné Bikéyah to learn more. 

Portland Audobon SocietyElliott State Forest

The Elliott State Forest is approximately 92,000 acres of public forestland, located in Coos County. It was historically designated a State forest to generate revenue for the Common School Fund, but due to steep slopes and the presence of endangered species, about half the forest has never been logged. This primary or “native” forest is rare in the coast range, and the old growth stands it contains have become critical for nesting marbled murrelets. These large stands of contiguous, mature forest are crucial for the continuation of the marbled murrelet on the Oregon coast. In 2011 the Oregon Department of Forestry adopted a Forest Management Plan that would have nearly doubled an already unsustainable and illegal timber harvest rate for the Elliott. In 2012, Portland Audubon, the Center for Biological Diversity, and Cascadia Wildlands, represented by Crag Law Center, sued the state of Oregon for logging occupied Marbled Murrelet nesting habitat in violation of the Endangered Species Act. For more information, visit Portland Audubon Society