My Turn: Road to Umiat - a bad idea with far-reaching potential consequences

Why do they keep trying to make roads all over Alaska? I thought Alaska was the “Last Frontier”.

 

I am strongly against the road to Umiat because it intersects the caribou migration route. Where I am from, caribou is eaten a lot, and I don’t want them to take another route because part of their route passes by Anaktuvuk Pass. People might say it won’t do anything to them, but are they monitoring what the caribou do?

Another thing I don’t like about the proposed road is that it will be open to many sports hunters. That’s another reason why I am against this road. If the caribou do find another route to go through that we can hunt, most of the sport hunters will get to them before we do in Anaktuvuk. It’s not like we can go to the store and buy meat or food here because it is expensive! The other thing about buying stuff here, there isn’t a lot of jobs here too. So, there’s a reason why we live off the caribou. We use the meat to feed our families here. We don’t have a Wal-Mart, Fred Meyers, or a Safeway here where the food is cheap.

The ice road effects Nuiqsut in many ways, prices on food does not go down in the store, gas prices do not go down either. The only benefit from the ice road is that they get to drive through Prudhoe Bay and to Fairbanks and Anchorage.

Even though Anaktuvuk might not be on the road system, the road to Umiat will affect our village. People from here were saying at the meetings gas prices and food prices will go down. But the main question is how? We don’t live on the road. Food and gas prices will still be the same unless the State builds a road that goes off the road to Umiat to here. There are a lot of ways about the road to Umiat that will affect our village, if it is built.

Jalen Sheldon is a student at Nunamiut High School in Anaktuvuk Pass.

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