Update: Alaska villagers see Salazar over refuge road

Update 8:37 a.m.:

A spokeswoman for the small Alaska community of King Cove says she’s happy with the meeting she and other residents had Thursday with Interior Secretary Ken Salazar.

Della Trumble says they were promised a half hour but that Salazar met with them for twice that long.

Original Story:

Residents of a small Alaska community are scheduled to meet with Interior Secretary Ken Salazar today in their quest for a road through a national wildlife refuge.

Residents of the Alaska Peninsula community of King Cove want a land route through Izembek National Wildlife Refuge to reach an all-weather airport at Cold Bay.

King Cove is notorious for delayed or cancelled flights because of strong winds that buffet the community’s airstrip.

The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service announced Feb. 5 it was rejecting the road because it would damage internationally recognized wetlands used by millions of migratory birds.

Salazar has the final say.

Villagers say a one-lane gravel road through the refuge will not harm bird habitat and that the agency is favoring birds over people.


View Izembeck National Wildlife Refuge in a larger map