Policy Update – December 2023

In this month’s update, we share about our advocacy against the Ambler Road project in Alaska and the expansion of the WWA policy team in California and Colorado.

Photo by Lucian Dachman on Unsplash

From Hilary Eisen, WWA Policy Director (12/22/2023)

With yesterday’s Solstice, it’s now officially winter! I hope that your snow season is off to better start than where I live, where our December temperatures have been about 10 degrees warmer than historical averages and our solstice night low was a full 69 degrees warmer than last year. It’s tough to reconcile the warm, dry conditions with the calendar date, especially after last winter’s epic snowfall. Thankfully not every region of the country is off to such a dismal start to winter, and I hope that wherever you are you’re finding snow.

Ambler Road (Alaska)

Today is the last day to comment on the BLM’s supplemental EIS analyzing the proposed Ambler Road in Alaska. For many years, we’ve been working with a broad coalition of local and national organizations to oppose this project. During the current comment period the coalition collectively generated over 120,000 comments opposing the road. In addition, 82% of the public testimonies at in-person hearings in Alaska were in direct opposition to the road and in support of the No Action Alternative. And, 88 Indigenous governments have formally stated opposition to the Ambler Road. We hope that the BLM will heed the multitude of reasons that commentors have presented for why the Ambler Road violates NEPA and a multitude of other laws, and is just generally a bad idea, and will choose the No Action Alternative and rescind the permits granted by the Trump Administration.

WWA New Staff

And finally, I want to welcome and introduce you to Winter Wildlands Alliance’s newest policy staffer! Kelly Bessem joined the team this week as our California Stewardship Manager. Kelly is based in Meyers, CA and will be leading our work to help the Forest Service implement new OSV plans in California as well as working with me to engage in ongoing OSV planning efforts in California.

And, in January we will be welcoming our new Colorado Policy Coordinator, Brittany Leffel. Brittany, who lives near Durango, will be working for WWA as a contractor and helping us with grassroots organizing, winter recreation data collection, and Forest Service engagement as OSV planning gears up in southwest Colorado.

I hope you are having a wonderful holiday season and that 2024 brings memorable winter adventures to all.

Happy New Year!