National Geographic : 1975 Jun
Mount McKinley National Park, and almost 2 million acres to Katmai National Monument. * Addition of more than 31 million acres to the National Wildlife Refuge System, in cluding a large addition to the existing Arctic National Wildlife Range, a 3.6-million-acre refuge in the Yukon Flats, 7.6 million acres centered on the Noatak River basin, more than 5 million acres in the Yukon Delta, more than 4 million acres centered on the Koyukuk River. * More than 18 million acres of national for est, the Yukon-Kuskokwim area being the largest, with significant forests set aside along the Porcupine River and in the Wrangells. * Four major new wild rivers: Fortymile, Beaver Creek, Birch Creek, and Unalakleet. Of all the blows that Alaska boosters had suffered, this one added insult to injury; not only was Uncle Sam giving the country back to the Indians, many complained, he was giving the rest of it away to the bears. THERE ARE THOSE, like separatist Joe Vogler, who believe Alaska would be better off as an independent country. Mr. Vogler's cause appears lost from a practical point of view, but no Alaskan will refuse to listen to arguments like these: "Alaska has served as the typical colony," he told me. "Our wealth has always been ex ported to America, not distributed here. They tell our airlines where to fly, our fishermen where to fish. If we were selling our own oil to the world, we would be the Saudi Arabians of the north." Alaskans have always fretted over the con straints imposed by U. S. ownership of much of the land; their battle with the "Feds" reached a memorable point with the late Sen ator Ernest Gruening's celebrated speech in which he compared the Federal Government to King George III, against whom the Ameri can Revolution was waged. At the same time, Alaskans admit grudg ingly that the government has also kept the state afloat for a long time, through large mili tary expenditures and payrolls for agencies. For many, then, government is an avowed but accepted irritant-but not so accepted are the conservation groups, especially those headquartered in the Lower Forty-Eight, that "suddenly" appeared on the Alaska scene, helped stop construction of the pipeline for four years, and began lobbying for huge tracts of land for wilderness and parks. Those were dark days for conservation On deck at 30° below, Ben Simmonds waits his turn in a baseball game at Wain wright. His hood with a wolf ruff does double duty as a batting helmet. If fans had hot dogs, they would likely dip them in seal oil, not mustard. A frosted window cues the cheering section.