STRATEGIC TOUR OF ALASKA’S ARCTIC
The 2012 Arctic Imperative Summit concluded with a five-day Arctic tour of strategically important infrastructure sites and developments along the Alaskan coast, from Dutch Harbor to Point Barrow. This was unique opportunity to meet with Alaskan leaders in remote communities.
The Arctic Imperative Tour visited the communities of Barrow, Wainwright, Kotzebue, St. Lawrence Island, Nome, Unalaska and Adak. Within each community, tour participants met with city officials and Native Corporation leaders to discuss Arctic shipping, oil and gas as well as infrastructure issues.
Barrow, Alaska, is the northernmost community in the United States and serves as the economic, transportation, and administrative hub for the North Slope Borough. The U.S. Coast Guard has based its Arctic Shield operation out of Barrow, with current offshore activities in the Chukchi and Beaufort seas.
Wainwright is the third-largest village on the North Slope of Alaska. The village corporation provided a tour of infrastructure investments made to support offshore oil and gas exploration. Infrastructure includes logistical support services such as a personnel camp, office facilities, a marine support vessel, a communications center, transportation equipment and maintenance shops. The village corporation is considering developing a commercial airfield, dock facilities, fuel storage and a spill response center.
The city of Kotzebue is located 26 miles above the Arctic Circle and is the regional hub city for the Northwest Arctic. For nearly 40 years, the city has been working to develop a deep-draft port at Cape Blossom to serve the region. The Red Dog Mine is located within the Northwest Arctic, 60 miles northwest of Kotzebue.
St. Lawrence Island
Home to two Siberian Yupik villages, St. Lawrence Island is located in the Bering Strait. Community perspectives on Arctic shipping and infrastructure development were offered.
Nome is the regional hub city of the Bering Strait. With over 200 miles of roads, Nome is an international destination for bird watching and eco-tourism. The city is working to expand its current port into a deep-draft port, as well as expand Nome’s port industrial complex. The Port of Nome is active, with small-excursion cruise ships docking before sailing through the Northwest Passage and freight barges bringing essential supplies and equipment to the region.
Following the closure of the U.S. naval base in Adak, the Aleut Corporation purchased Adak’s facilities under a land transfer agreement. Aleut Corporation provides fuel, facilities and services for commercial fishing, marine cargo, commercial aviation, government agencies, scientific research, private tourism and other industries operating in the North Pacific and western Alaska.
Located 50 miles from the Great Circle route, Unalaska is 800 miles southwest of Anchorage in the heart of the healthy and robust North Pacific and Bering Sea fisheries. The community is a vibrant mix of industry and history connected by 27 miles of roads linking the port, harbors and private docks with local businesses and a thriving residential community of 4,400 people. Unalaska’s Port of Dutch Harbor is the only deep-draft, ice-free port from Unimak Pass west to Adak and north to the headwaters of the Bering Strait. Designated as a port of refuge, it provides year-round protection for disabled or distressed vessels as well as ground and warehouse storage and transshipment opportunities. According to the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) report “Fisheries of the United States 2010,” for the 22nd consecutive year, Unalaska’s Port of Dutch Harbor was No. 1 in the nation with the greatest quantity of fish landed, and in those same years was first or second in the value of the catch.