One of the most significant land conservation measures in our nation’s history was an act that protected over 100 million acres of land, doubled the size of the country’s national refuge system, and tripled wilderness areas. It created or expanded nine national parks and preserves, six national monuments, sixteen national wildlife refuges, twenty-five wild and scenic rivers, and two national forests, including our nation’s largest: the Tongass in Southeast Alaska. This legislation also created a compromise between the needs of development and conservation and the competing interests that fought for them. While it was not perfect, it has shaped the history of our public lands and the National Park Service system itself.
This week on America’s National Park: the Alaska National Interest Lands Conservation Act, or ANILCA.