Italian mountaineer treks across Alaska to save Gwich’in land

June 29, 2006

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Italian mountain guide Ario Sciolari has completed a 5-month solo trek across Alaska to raise awareness of the threat to the land of the Gwich'in Indians.

Sciolari trekked from the south to the north of Alaska on skis between November and May, pulling a sled with a tent and supplies of food. He walked for an average of eight to ten hours per day, mostly in darkness, in average temperatures of -30 degrees centigrade.

Part of the  land of the Gwich'in Indians, known as the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge, has been earmarked for oil drilling by the US government.

Luci Beach of the Gwich'in Steering Committee says, ‘Our way of life, our right to life, is inextricably tied to the calving grounds in the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge, which we call ‘The Sacred Place Where Life Begins.' Yes, these grounds, we consider them Sacred Places. Drilling there would do nothing to reduce gas prices or alleviate our dependence on foreign oil, yet the harm to wildlife habitat for polar bear, caribou, whale and millions of migratory birds and to the Gwich'in Nation (whose subsistence culture is based, since time immemorial, on the caribou), would be permanent and irreparable.'

To read about Ario Sciolari's trek click here