Alaskans say mine could disrupt caribou migration

A proposed gravel mine near Kotzebue, Alaska, sits smack in the path of a caribou migration route, say residents worried that the project could disrupt local subsistence hunting.

The plan, by a local construction company, is to pull gravel from roughly 40 acres near Hugo Mountain, about 18 miles northeast of Kotzebue. But more than 120 people have expressed concern in a letter to regulators warning the mine would be in direct opposition to "the traditional and cultural" use of the land.

"With the high price of gas, the lower Noatak River is the area that most of our residents hunt for caribou from mid-August till freeze-up," former Kotzebue Mayor Willie Goodwin wrote in a letter to the state. "The area is also the first rest stop for salmon that migrate up the Noatak to spawn after four or five years in the ocean."

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