Northwest Alaska is one of largest inhabited, roadless areas in North America and, indeed, the world. A new road has been proposed to provide access to this region and the Ambler Mining District from north-central Alaska. To evaluate how new road access might affect subsistence harvest, we used zero inflated negative binomial models to identify factors related to subsistence production at the household level. We found substantial differences in these factors between communities near the proposed road (project zone [PZ] communities) and a comparable set of road accessible communities outside the region (non-project zone [NPZ] communities). Total subsistence production of PZ communities was 1.8 to 2.5 times greater than that of NPZ communities. If the road was opened to the public and subsistence harvest patterns for PZ communities changed to mirror existing NPZ harvests as a result of the road, the financial cost would be US$6900-10 500 per household (assuming a $17.64/kg “replacement” cost for subsistence harvests). Taken together, our results suggest that the proposed road should be expected to substantially impact subsistence production in communities that are not currently connected to the road system.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Ecology, Evolution, Behavior and Systematics