Pollution Solutions

by Hillary Geronemus

What did the Alaskan wilderness ever do to Congress, anyway? It's been minding its own business for eons, letting nature take its course. But while Washington tussles over whether to open the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge to oil drilling, go ahead and experience it now. Forget the cruise ships chugging along the Inside Passage—at top speed, they burn 1,200 gallons of fuel per hour—and foray a little (okay, a lot) deeper inland to experience the pristine North Slope. Arctic Treks and Arctic Wild are two Fairbanks-based tour companies that will take you into the refuge: A tiny prop plane drops you off in the Brooks Mountain Range, where you'll hike along trail-free carpets of wildflowers, raft class III rapids, and camp among wild caribou, musk ox, and snowy owls. Be warned: This is serious backcountry, requiring the kind of stamina, shrewdness, and nerve even a six-term congressman could admire.

Arctic Treks
Tel: 907 455 6502
From $2,995 per person for 10 days

Arctic Wild
Tel: 888 577 8203
From $2,500 per person for seven days

Read more about the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge in the April 2004 issue of Condé Nast Traveler

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