Fishing net in the water.

NANA’s Position on AAP

NANA’s Position on the Ambler Access Project

Evaluation. Consultation. Balance.

NANA is committed to protecting and advancing the Iñupiat way of life. Our people have balanced traditional subsistence activities with natural resource development for generations. 

Careful evaluation of the proposed Ambler Access Project (AAP) and its potential impact on our region and shareholders remains ongoing. We recognize that AAP would be a significant undertaking, and communities across our region have unique perspectives about what the project would mean for Northwest Alaska and their lives. Before considering a position on AAP, NANA will assess all the information learned through shareholder listening sessions, the Bureau of Land Management’s (BLM) administrative review process, the Alaska Industrial Development and Export Authority’s (AIDEA) studies, and NANA’s independent studies regarding the potential project. 

Engaging our shareholders 

We include the viewpoints of our shareholders in decision-making. NANA has engaged shareholders throughout our evaluation of the project. We know that views on AAP vary across our shareholder population and within our region.  

To ensure all voices are heard, we have organized numerous listening sessions with shareholders to gather direct community input on AAP. Additionally, we have conducted independent studies into the proposed project’s potential impacts on our lands and waters. 

After hearing from our people, NANA’s board of directors, comprised of Iñupiat shareholders from our region’s 11 communities, established specific criteria that must be met before our company considers the proposed project. 

The criteria are as follows: 

  • Controlled, permitted access along the entire route  
  • Protection of caribou migration, fish and other subsistence resources  
  • Shareholder jobs and workforce development, and 
  • Community benefits 

NANA’s legal, lands and shareholder relations teams are involved in evaluation activities, including:  

  • Serving on the subsistence advisory committee 
  • Shaping proposed workforce development, employment and training plans 
  • Verifying proposed transportation routes of goods, equipment and fuel to impacted communities to lower the cost of living 
  • Ensuring legal structures are in place to ensure the proposed road remains private and protective of NANA lands 

Other evaluation 

NANA issued AIDEA a three-year land use permit, which expires at the end of 2024, to allow for further evaluation of the project. The permit allows AIDEA to be on NANA lands for a limited period and is not a right of way or an easement. NANA approved the permit because the results of AIDEA’s study will provide helpful information that will advance the evaluation of AAP. 

Additionally, NANA has been participating in regional discussions held by BLM regarding the proposed project. We look forward to reviewing BLM’s Supplemental Environmental Impact Statement (SEIS) in draft and final form, as it will provide crucial information to aid in our assessment of the project and proposed roadway. 

About the Ambler Access Project

The Ambler Access Project is a proposed 211-mile private controlled industrial access gravel road that, if built, would connect the Ambler Mining District and the Dalton Highway. The project applicant is the Alaska Industrial Development and Export Authority (AIDEA). The proposed AAP route would cross Alaska state lands (61%), federal lands managed by Bureau of Land Management (BLM) and the National Park Service (NPS) (15%), and Alaska Native Corporation (ANC) lands owned by Doyon Ltd. and NANA (15%). If the proposed project were to move forward, it would be the first terrestrial transportation route connecting the NANA region to the rest of Alaska and could potentially link to NANA region villages. Today, no villages in the NANA region are accessible or interconnected by road. 

Frequently Asked Questions

Kobuk kids enjoy spring skiing

Camp Bornite, in the Upper Kobuk Region