Championing the Western Arctic: A Landmark Conservation Milestone for 2024

In the spring of 2024, President Biden took a monumental step in conservation, enacting new protections for over 13 million acres in the Western Arctic — the nation’s largest single unit of public land. This landmark regulation represents a significant victory for Alaska Wilderness League, culminating from thousands of hours of dedicated effort by our staff and supporters. 

To build momentum for this achievement, the League launched an extensive public education and advocacy campaign focused on the Western Arctic’s unique Special Areas. This campaign featured the creation of five detailed posters, each spotlighting the remarkable biodiversity and recreational opportunities within these protected areas. These visuals were widely disseminated across social media platforms including X (formerly Twitter), TikTok, Instagram and Facebook. Through a strategic combination of organic reach and targeted advertising, the campaign achieved more than 13 million impressions, drawing enthusiastic engagement from diverse audiences. The widespread positive reception to our posters underscored the growing public interest and support for conservation in the Western Arctic. 

In collaboration with key coalition partners, we extended our advocacy efforts by placing high-impact advertisements in prominent publications such as the Washington Post, Delaware News Journal and Albuquerque Journal. These print ads were complemented by a robust digital advertising strategy that spanned the nation and included placements on Meta, reaching an additional 300,000 supporters and key stakeholders within the Biden Administration. Our commitment to elevating awareness was further exemplified by the installation of a strategically located billboard in Albuquerque, New Mexico, which coincided with Secretary Deb Haaland’s visit to the region, amplifying our message of gratitude and support for the administration’s actions. 

As a Washington, DC-based organization, Alaska Wilderness League has long-standing connections with Congress. We engaged directly with Senate and House allies, fostering new relationships with legislators committed to Arctic advocacy. Our Congressional champions celebrated the announcement of the Special Areas regulation across various social media platforms. Notably, Representative Sydney Kamlager-Dove emerged as a passionate advocate, authoring an op-ed in The Hill that eloquently articulated the broader implications of Alaskan conservation efforts for the entire nation. On the day the new regulations were announced, Representatives Kamlager-Dove and Jared Huffman joined us and our partners for a telepress conference to publicly commend the Administration and highlight this significant environmental milestone. 

In response to the announcement, we also actively opposed detrimental legislation such as Alaska’s Right to Produce Act. The League spearheaded a sign-on letter opposing this act, garnering the support of 111 organizations. This letter was directly sent to President Biden, reinforcing our collective stance against legislation that threatens Arctic conservation efforts. 

This achievement is a testament to the League’s unwavering commitment to Arctic protection. Together with our coalition partners, we remain steadfast in our pursuit of ongoing conservation initiatives. Utilizing a multifaceted approach that includes social media advocacy, legislative engagement, and public outreach, we aim to build on this historic regulation to secure future protections for America’s Arctic. The conservation of the Western Arctic marks a pivotal moment for climate resilience, community well-being, and biodiversity preservation. We are energized by this victory and look forward to seizing new opportunities to safeguard the Arctic’s unparalleled natural heritage.