National Geographic : 2001 Aug
NATURE UNTOUCHED Heralding an Arctic summer, a light coating of green awakens the coastal plain and breaking Ice crackles as it melts on the Alchilik River (left) after months of darkness. Perpetual daylight energizes the 19-million-acre refuge from late April through mid-August, when 36 species of mammals-including the gray wolf-thrive. If oil production Is allowed in the refuge's 1002 Area a 1.5-million-acre slice of the Arctic Coastal Plain-industrial drilling sites would scar the largely untouched land that borders the mighty Romanzof Mountains (below). "That would totally diminish any kind of wilderness experience," says refuge biologist Fran Mauer.