Wilderness Protection for the Arctic Refuge Coastal Plain

SEATTLE, Jan. 26, 2015 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) -- President Obama and Interior Secretary Sally Jewell on Sunday announced the release of the Comprehensive Conservation Plan for the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge. The plan sets forth management guidelines for the entire Refuge and recommends that the highly valued Coastal Plain be designated as wilderness. Long time champion of Arctic protection, and the founder and chair of the lifestyle retailer Zumiez (Nasdaq:ZUMZ) Tom Campion spoke out to thank the President for his leadership:

"President Obama deserves our thanks as a nation for doing the right thing to protect the Coastal Plain of the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge. It is an iconic American landscape, and one of the wildest places on earth, worthy of our highest level of protection and management: wilderness. Whether it is the historical values of the Organ Mountains Desert Peaks, the recreational values of the San Gabriel Mountains, or the wilderness values of the Arctic Refuge Coastal Plain, President Obama is taking important steps to shape a legacy as one of America's foremost public lands conservation champions."

President Eisenhower first established the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge in 1960 for its "unique wildlife, wilderness and recreational values." In 1980, Congress doubled its size to encompass the wintering grounds of the Porcupine caribou herd and added subsistence for the Gwich'in people as a priority when they passed the American National Interest Lands Act (ANILCA). Subsequently, the Reagan Administration established a position recommending that the Coastal Plain be opened to oil and gas exploration, guidance that has been in place until the completion of this new Comprehensive Conservation Plan.

"The Gwich'in people have weighed in to defend their culture and way of life, scientists have weighed in with rigorous research, and the American people have weighed in with more than 1,000,000 comments demanding permanent protection for this magnificent, wild landscape," continued Campion. "Now its time for Congress to weigh in, conduct the people's business, and follow the President's recommendation to protect the Coastal Plain as wilderness."

The Campion Foundation was established in 2005, in part, to support the efforts of many nonprofit organizations that advocate on behalf of permanent protection of the Arctic Refuge. The Campion Advocacy Fund was established in 2014, in part, to join them in their direct advocacy efforts.

CONTACT: Lisa Jaguzny, Executive Director Campion Advocacy Fund 206.686.5310Source:The Campion Foundation