Washington Journal of Environmental Law & Policy


This article addresses the legal framework for Wilderness in Alaska, which has more land within the National Wilderness Preservation System than any other state, as well as the economic impacts and valuation of wildlands. Wilderness management in Alaska is subject to the Alaska National Interest Lands Conservation Act, which aims to ensure that rural Alaskans can use wildlife resources to sustain customary and traditional ways of life. The values of Wilderness range from direct economic benefits and revenue generated from recreation to passive values that are measured by the public’s willingness to pay for preservation. While there are challenges to estimating these values, economists and land management agencies can adopt a number of techniques to improve wilderness valuation and decision-making. Given the benefits of Wilderness to Alaska, and uncertainty about the potential consequences of development for unique natural landscapes, land management agencies should consider opportunities to designate additional Wilderness.

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