WASHINGTON, D.C.— At a ceremony in the nation’s capital today, Secretary of the Interior Dirk Kempthorne recognized the Hooper Bay Alaska Subsistence ATV Trail Project Partnership as one of 21 recipients nationwide of the Department of the Interior’s Cooperative Conservation Award.
The 21 awards recognized the work of more than 700 groups and individuals who achieved excellence in conservation through collaboration and partnerships.
“These outstanding partnerships and cooperative efforts represent a fundamental way in which our Department provides stewardship for America with integrity and excellence,” Secretary Kempthorne said. “They embody a broad spectrum of conservation work from restoring wetlands, rangelands and mine lands to protecting wildlife, conserving water and fighting invasive species to teaching conservation values to the next generation.”
The award to the Hooper Bay Alaska Subsistence ATV Trail Project Partnership recognizes the partnership’s outstanding contributions to addressing the challenges from impacts due to increasing use of all terrain vechicles (ATVs). Several years ago, the Yup’ik elders in Hooper Bay, Alaska, began noticing unwelcome changes to their community that were ultimately attributed to ATV use.
Populations of the black brant goose were declining precipitously and berry patches and other plants were being impacted by villagers using ATVs to reach subsistence hunting and gathering grounds. To address impacts to goose populations, the Partnership developed conservation and natural resource goals for the species. This resulted in development of educational materials, as well as outreach involving teams of local residents camping out on nearby hunting and gathering grounds and speaking with ATV riders passing through the area. To address impacts from ATV use on the landscape, the partnership collaborated on a technically and logistically complex project to construct hardened ATV trails.
“It took the courage, dedication, and ingenuity of the Yup'ik community to rise to these challenges and find solutions through collaborative efforts resulting in nationally significant achievements,” the award noted.
The Department of the Interior’s Cooperative Conservation Award recognizes conservation achievements resulting from the cooperation and participation of individual landowners, citizen groups, private sector, nongovernmental organizations, and Federal, State, local, and/or tribal governments.
“This is a fitting start to a week of Earth Day activities,” the Secretary told the crowd at the main Interior auditorium. “If anyone were to ask me why America is the world leader in conservation of natural resources, I would simply point to the people in this auditorium. You are the spirit and you are the hands of cooperative conservation.”
Hooper Bay Subsistence ATV Trail Project Partnership (Alaska)
Nominated by the National Park Service
National Park Service, Rivers, Trails and Conservation Assistance Program
Kevin G. Meyer
Natural Resources Conservation Service
Sea Lion Corporation
Nuyaq W. Naneng
U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, Yukon Delta National Wildlife Refuge