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3. Subsistence-Harvest Patterns

This section describes the subsistence-harvest patterns of the Inupiat communities in and adjacent to the Northwest NPR-A Planning Area: Point Lay, Wainwright, Barrow, Atqasuk, and Nuiqsut. This community-by-community description provides general information on subsistence-harvest patterns, harvest information by resource and community, timing of the subsistence-harvest cycles, and harvest-area concentrations by resource and by community.

Further information regarding the harvest areas, species harvested, and quantities harvested can be found in the final EIS for Beaufort Sea Sales 144 and 170 (USDOI, MMS, 1996a, 1998). The following summary is augmented by information from current studies including: State of Alaska, Department of Fish and Game (ADF&G) (1995); S.R. Braund and Associates (1993, 1996); Alaska Consultants, Inc. (ACI), Courtnage, and Braund (1984); ACI and Braund (1984); Kruse et al. (1983); Alaska Natives Commission (1994); City of Nuiqsut (1995); USDOI, MMS (1996b, 1996c, 1997); Hoffman, Libbey, and Spearman (1988); North Slope Borough Contract Staff (1979); Impact Assessment (1990a,b); Hall (1983); Fuller and George (1997); and Impact Assessment (1989). Other sources include USDOI, BLM NPR-A 105(c) and other pertinent documents: USDOI, BLM (1978a,b,c; 1979a,b,c,d; 1981; 1982a,b,c; 1983a,b,c; 1990; 1991; and 1997); the National Petroleum Reserve-Alaska Final IAP/ EIS (USDOI, BLM and MMS, 1998) and the Liberty Development and Production Plan Final EIS (USDOI, MMS, Alaska OCS Region, 2002b).

a. Subsistence Defined

Generally, subsistence is considered to be hunting, fishing, and gathering for the primary purpose of acquiring food. The Alaska National Interest Land Conservation Act (ANILCA) defines subsistence as:

the customary and traditional uses by rural Alaska residents of wild, renewable resources for direct personal or family consumption as food, shelter, fuel, clothing, tools, or transportation; for the making and selling of handicraft articles out of nonedible byproducts of fish and wildlife resources taken for personal or family consumption; for barter or sharing for personal or family consumption; and for customary trade (16 U.S.C. 3113).

The North Slope Borough Municipal Code defines subsistence as:

an activity performed in support of the basic beliefs and nutritional needs of the residents of the borough and includes hunting, whaling, fishing, trapping, camping, food gathering, and other traditional and cultural activities (North Slope Borough Municipal Code 19.20.020 (67)).

As a lifestyle for Native Alaskans, subsistence is more than the harvesting, processing, sharing, and trading of marine and land mammals, fish, and plants. Subsistence should be understood to embody cultural, social, and spiritual values that are the essence of Alaskan Native cultures (Bryner, 1995; State of Alaska, Dept. of Natural Resources, 1997).

The community residents adjacent to the Beaufort Sea multiple-sale area participate in a subsistence way of life. While new elements have been added to the way people live, this way of life is a continuation of centuries-old Inupiat traditional patterns. Until January 1990, Alaska statutes defined "subsistence uses" as,

the non-commercial, customary and traditional uses of wild, renewable resources by a resident domiciled in a rural area of the state for personal or family consumption (AS l6.05.940),

and subsistence uses were given priority over other uses. In January 1990, as a result of McDowell vs. State of Alaska, the Alaska Supreme Court declared this law unconstitutional. However, Federal law (Title VIII of ANILCA) continues to provide for subsistence and grants it priority over other uses on the public lands.

The 1989 ruling means Alaska cannot legally (according to state law) establish rural preference for subsistence. The effect of the Alaska Supreme Court's decision was stayed until July 1, 1990. The State had until then to devise a solution to the issues raised in the McDowell decision. The Alaska Legislature was and has not been able to pass any subsistence legislation, despite special sessions called for that purpose and other efforts initiated more recently by Governor Tony Knowles. On Federal lands and navigable waters in Alaska, Federal laws grant subsistence priority over other uses, and Federal Agencies are now managing these subsistence hunts. These agencies will continue to do so until State legislation can be enacted (USDOI, FWS, 1992). Spurred by a number of recent court decisions and the State of Alaska's inability to enact a subsistence plan that guarantees some type of rural preference, the Department of the Interior manages subsistence fisheries on Federal lands (Anchorage Daily News, 1996).

b. The Cultural Importance of Subsistence

Subsistence activities are assigned the highest cultural values by the Inupiat and provide a sense of identity in addition to being an important economic pursuit. Many species are important for the role they play in the annual cycle of subsistence-resource harvests, yet effects on subsistence can be serious, even if the net quantity of available food does not decline. Subsistence resources provide more than dietary benefits. They also provide materials for personal and family use and the sharing of resources helps maintain traditional Inupiat family organization. Subsistence resources also provide special foods for religious and social occasions; the most important ceremony, Nalukataq, celebrates the bowhead whale harvest. The sharing, trading, and bartering of subsistence foods structures relationships among communities, while at the same time the giving of these foods helps maintain ties with family members elsewhere in Alaska.

Subsistence activities on the North Slope occur within a matrix of a mixed cash and subsistence-harvest economy. As one North Slope hunter observed: "The best mix is half and half. If it was all subsistence, then we would have no money for snowmachines and ammunition. If it was all work, we would have no Native foods. Both work well together." (ACI, Courtnage, and Braund, 1984).

c. Community Subsistence-Harvest Patterns

Two major subsistence-resource categories occur on the North Slope: the coastal/marine and the terrestrial/aquatic. In the coastal/marine group, the food resources harvested are whales, seals, walruses, waterfowl, and fish. In the terrestrial/aquatic group, the resources sought are caribou, freshwater fishes, moose, Dall sheep, edible roots and berries, and furbearing animals. Generally, communities harvest resources most available to them. Harvests tend to be concentrated near communities, along rivers and coastlines, and at particularly productive sites. The distribution, migration, and seasonal and more extended cyclical variation of animal populations make decisions on what, where, and when to harvest a subsistence resource very complex. Many areas might be used infrequently, but they can be quite important harvest areas when they are used (USDOI, BLM, 1978d). Under certain conditions, harvest activities may occur anywhere in the Planning Area.

How a village uses any particular species can vary greatly over time and data from short-term harvest surveys can often lead to a misinterpretation of use/harvest trends. For example, if a particular village did not harvest any bowhead whales in one year, whale use would go down; consequently, consumption and use of caribou and other species would likely go up, in absolute and percent terms. If caribou were not available one winter, other terrestrial species could be hunted with greater intensity. The harvest of faunal (animal) resources, such as marine and terrestrial mammals and fish, is heavily emphasized, so the subsistence harvest of vegetation by communities adjacent to the Planning Area is limited. When compared with southerly regions, the total spectrum of available resources in the arctic region is limited.

While subsistence-resource harvests differ from community to community, the resource combination of caribou, bowhead whales, and fish has been identified as the primary grouping of resources harvested. Caribou is the most important overall subsistence resource in terms of hunting effort, quantity of meat harvested, and quantity of meat consumed. The bowhead whale is the preferred meat and the subsistence resource of primary importance, because it provides a unique and powerful cultural basis for sharing and community cooperation (Stoker, 1984, as cited by ACI, Courtnage, and Braund, 1984). In fact, the bowhead could be said to be the foundation of the sociocultural system. Depending on the community, fish is the second or third most important resource after caribou and bowhead whales (Table III-17). Bearded seals and various types of birds are also considered primary subsistence species. Waterfowl are particularly important during the spring, when they provide variety to the subsistence diet. Outside the North Slope, black brant that molt in the NPR-A have a substantial value to subsistence users in the Yukon-Kuskokwim Delta, while subsistence hunters in Alaska's Interior region use Canada geese extensively. In the late 1970's when bowhead whale quotas were low and the Western Arctic Caribou herd crashed (and the Alaska Board of Game placed bag limits on them), hunters turned to bearded seals (ugruk), ducks, geese, and fish to supplement the subsistence diet; however, Atqasuk could only turn to the last three resources (Schneider, Pedersen, and Libbey, 1980). Seal oil from hair seals and bearded seals is an important staple and a necessary complement to other subsistence foods.

The subsistence pursuit of bowhead whales has major importance to the communities of Wainwright, Barrow, and Nuiqsut (some Point Lay men whale with crews from Wainwright and some Atqasuk men whale with Barrow crews). The sharing of whale muktuk, or fat, and whale meat is important to the inland community of Atqasuk and continues to be the most valued activity in the subsistence economy of these communities. This is true, even in light of harvest constraints imposed by quotas from the International Whaling Commission; relatively plentiful supplies of other resources such as caribou, fish, other subsistence foods; and the availability of retail grocery foods.

Whaling traditions include kinship-based crews, use of skin boats (only in Barrow for their spring whale-hunting season), distribution of the meat, and total community participation and sharing. In spite of the rising cash income, these traditions remain as central values and activities for all Inupiat on the North Slope. Bowhead whale hunting strengthens family and community ties and the sense of a common Inupiat heritage, culture, and way of life. Thus, whale-hunting activities provide strength, purpose, and unity in the face of rapid change. In terms of the whale harvest, Barrow is the only community within the Planning Area that harvests whales in the spring and fall. Subsistence whaling for the community of Nuiqsut occurs only during the fall season, although some Nuiqsut hunters travel to Barrow to join Barrow whaling crews during the spring whaling season (North Slope Borough, 1998).

An important shift in subsistence-harvest patterns occurred in the late 1960's, when the substitution of snow machines for dogsleds decreased the importance of ringed seals and walruses as key sources of dog food and increased the relative importance of waterfowl. This shift illustrates how technological or social change can lead to the modifications of subsistence practices. Because of technological and harvest-pattern changes, the dietary importance of waterfowl also may continue to increase. However, these changes would not affect the central and specialized dietary roles that bowhead whales, caribou, and fish - the three most important subsistence-food resources to North Slope communities - play in the subsistence harvests of Alaska's Inupiat, and for which there are no practical substitutes.

Table III-18 lists the subsistence resources used by these communities by common species name, Inupiaq name, and scientific name. For a comparison of the proportion of Inupiat household foods obtained from subsistence in 1977, 1988, 1993, and 1998, see Table III-19 (see also the Beaufort Sea Sale 144 Final EIS, Sec. III.C.3 [USDOI, MMS, 1996a]). Table III-20 shows the percentage of households in Barrow and Nuiqsut who participate in successful harvests of subsistence resources and Table III-17 shows the percentages of the total subsistence harvest by individual species for each community. Figures III-12, III-13, and III-14 display relative household consumption of subsistence resources, changes in subsistence activity, and expenditures on subsistence for Wainwright, as determined from a North Slope Borough economic profile and census conducted in 1998-1999 (North Slope Borough, 1999).

Many species are important for the role they play in the annual cycle of subsistence-resource harvests, yet effects on subsistence can be serious even if the net quantity of available food does not decline. The consumption of harvestable subsistence resources provides more than dietary benefits; it also provides materials for personal and family use and the sharing of resources helps maintain traditional Inupiat family organization. Additionally, subsistence provides a link to the cash economy: many households earn cash from the crafting of whale baleen or walrus ivory and from the tanning of furs.

Full-time wage employment has had a positive effect on the subsistence hunt by providing cash for snow machines, boats, motors, and fuel - important tools for the hunt. However, full-time employment also limits the time a subsistence hunter can spend hunting to after-work hours. During midwinter, this window of time is further limited by waning daylight. In summer, extensive hunting and fishing can be pursued after work and without any limitations.

Subsistence harvest is potentially impacted by oil and gas activities. Inupiat concerns regarding oil development in the NPR-A identified during scoping, and those identified in public outreach for recent OCS actions and the Northstar project, fall into eight categories.

  1. Disrupting migrating subsistence species (particularly caribou).

  2. Damaging subsistence resources and habitats.

  3. Interrupting or preventing access to subsistence areas.

  4. Destroying Native food.

  5. Degrading traditional Inupiat places.

  6. Impacting communities from the cumulative effects of oil-development (especially in the community of Nuiqsut).

  7. Failing to sufficiently recognize Inupiat indigenous knowledge concerning subsistence resources, subsistence-harvest areas, and subsistence practices.

  8. Damaging Inupiat culture.

One analysis of Inupiat concerns about oil development was based on a compilation of approximately 10 years of recorded testimony at North Slope public hearings for State and Federal energy-development projects. Most concerns confirmed those raised in scoping, centering on the subsistence use of resources, including damage to subsistence species, loss of access to subsistence areas, loss of Native foods, or interruption of subsistence-species migration. These four concerns represent 83 percent of all concerns heard in the testimony from the North Slope for this period (S.R. Braund and Assocs., In prep.; Kruse et al., 1983: table 35; USDOI, MMS, 1994; Human Relations Area Files, Inc., 1992).

d. Annual Cycle of Harvest Activities

Map 65 Map Icon displays the primary subsistence-harvest areas for Point Lay and Wainwright. Map 89 Map Icon displays the primary subsistence harvest areas for Barrow, Atqasuk, and Nuiqsut. Very few Inupiat live outside the traditional communities, but the seasonal movement to hunting sites and camps for subsistence activities involves travel over and use of extensive areas around these settlements. Map 66 shows the aggregate community subsistence-harvest areas for the primary subsistence resources of marine mammals (whales, seals, walruses, polar bears), caribou, fish, birds (and eggs), furbearers (for hunting and trapping), moose, Dall sheep, grizzly bears, small mammals, and invertebrates, as well as berries, edible roots, and fuel and structural material. Maps 67 Map Icon and 68 Map Icon show specific species' harvest areas for Point Lay; Maps 69 Map Icon , 70 Map Icon , and 71 Map Icon for Wainwright; Maps 72 Map Icon , 73 Map Icon , 74 Map Icon , and 75 Map Icon for Barrow; Map 76 Map Icon for Atqasuk; and Maps 77 Map Icon and 78 Map Icon for Nuiqsut. Annual subsistence cycles for Point Lay, Wainwright, Barrow, Atqasuk, and Nuiqsut are described below and depicted in Figure III-03 and Map 79 and in Figures III-04, III-05, III-06, and III-07, respectively. The subsistence areas and activities of the five communities in or near the Northwest NPR-A Planning Area could be affected by the activities evaluated in this IAP/EIS. Portions of the terrestrial subsistence-harvest areas of Point Lay, Wainwright, Barrow, Atqasuk, and Nuiqsut lie within or near the Planning Area.

(1) Point Lay

With a population 139 in 1990 and 247 in 2000 (USDOC, Bureau of the Census, 1991 and 2001), Point Lay has the smallest population of any of the communities in the North Slope Borough. About 90 mi southwest of Wainwright, the village sits on the edge of Kasegaluk Lagoon near the confluence of the Kokolik River with Kasegaluk Lagoon. As with other communities in and adjacent to the Northwest NPR-A Planning Area, Point Lay residents enjoy a diverse resource base that includes both marine and terrestrial animals. But, Point Lay is unique among the communities; its dependence is relatively balanced between marine and terrestrial resources, and, unlike the other communities discussed, local hunters do not pursue the bowhead whale. Beluga whale is the village's preferred and pivotal marine mammal resource. Barrier island shores and the protected and productive lagoons they form provide prime habitat for other sea mammals and birds-both important resources in the Point Lay subsistence round (USDOI, BLM, 1978d; Fuller and George, 1997).

Point Lay marine subsistence activities take place in the sea-ice and coastal zones extending from the Punnuk Creek area in the south northward to Icy Cape. In the past, Point Lay residents were the Kukparungmiut (people of the Kukpowruk River) and the Utukamiut (people of the Utokok River). These origins continue in the persistence of an important traditional use practice that takes subsistence hunters inland, up the Kukpowruk and Utukok Rivers, and into the De Long Mountains for trapping and for hunting caribou. Beluga hunting and seasonal occupation of fish camps are important family and community activities reflecting the communal effort needed for a successful harvest and the overall importance of these resources (USDOI, BLM, 1978d). Map 65 Map Icon shows Point Lay's subsistence-harvest area. Subsistence resources used by Point Lay are listed in Table III-18 by common species name, Inupiaq name, and scientific name. Point Lay's specific subsistence-harvest areas for major subsistence resources are depicted in Maps 67 Map Icon and 68 Map Icon . The Point Lay seasonal subsistence round is shown in Figure III-03.

In 1992, the NSB surveyed its eight communities on subsistence harvests, but obtained insufficient data on species taken at Point Lay, so current harvest levels could not be estimated. Enough data was gathered to develop a picture of household participation in various subsistence activities though; these results can be seen in Table III-21 (Fuller and George, 1997).

Gregg Tagarook, hunter and elder from Wainwright, had this to say about weather and hunting conditions in Kasegaluk Lagoon:

I grew up on Barter Island for a long while. I was at Wainwright and lived in Pt. Hope for 14 years. I know a little bit about how things travel, and I've been taught by different community elders, and one elder has said something I never forgot. I'm grateful that I understand a place called Kasegaluk. Our older generation has observed Kasegaluk and said the north wind would blow hard and the current would be strong but this would never change. I understand the hard times and the older generations would take their families out there for camping. When there is nothing dangerous there, I want to say in hunting in fall and mid-winter there would be some shallow spots and the upper part of it would be good. Around there it is dangerous. When the wind is coming from the west, the shore ice would come off from the shore. That is west of Wainwright. A place called Mikigealiak. When it was a west wind, we dared not be out there hunting because it is dangerous. We were saying that the oil industry should know about these conditions that occur when the west wind is blowing in that area because the ice is very strong. North northwest wind. That's that wind 90 miles west of here. (Alaska Traditional Knowledge and Native Foods Database, Northwest Arctic Regional Meeting, Sept. 1998).

(a) Bowhead Whales

Unlike the communities of Wainwright, Barrow, and Nuiqsut, bowhead whaling is not practiced in Point Lay, primarily because of spring ice leads are too far offshore of the barrier island/lagoon environment of the community. The unique environmental challenges presented by the physical setting at Point Lay have kept bowhead whaling from appearing in the more modern seasonal subsistence round. Bowhead whales were taken traditionally, but there has not been a bowhead taken in the village since it was resettled in 1972. In fact, no bowheads have been taken in the area since 1941 (S.R. Braund and Assocs., 1988; Impact Assessment, Inc., 1989). More recently, a few Point Lay men participated in the bowhead whale hunt by traveling to Point Hope, Barrow, and primarily, Wainwright, to whale with local bowhead whaling crews (Impact Assessment, Inc., 1989).

Dorcas Neakok, interviewed in 1988 and 1989, recounted early whaling at Point Lay:

People don't hunt whales at Point Lay. But Tony Joule put a whaling crew out when I was a teenager here [1930's]. Amos Agnasagga's uncle Alvy was adopted to Shaglook, so his name is Alvy Shaglook. He lives in Kotzebue now. Well, this uncle had two skin boats here. Tony Joule got a crew together for each of those boats.
The open lead was way out, so they had to travel far. I don't know how many miles out they had to go. You couldn't see land from out there - only the mountains way to the south. Maybe twenty-five miles? They each got a whale, but it was tough work.
They cut the whales in pieces in the water because there were not enough people here to pull them out. There were over a hundred people but that wasn't enough for those big whales. Everybody went out to help except a few women taking care of the babies back at the village. We had to cut fast so the whales wouldn't get smelly. They didn't have to cut little thing. Just what they could take home.
All the students helped too. We did the cooking for the whalers and whatever had to be done. That was part of our schooling....All the dog teams were working hard. Every family had their own dog team because that was their only transportation. That's how I got tired out - hauling meat back and forth. Some of us took turns. The dogs would get so tired, they couldn't move anymore. We would stop and let them sleep. Then we'd start again. There must have been ten to twenty teams.
That was the first time I saw much of a whale... (Impact Assessment, Inc., 1989).

(b) Beluga Whales

Point Lay's most important subsistence marine resource is the beluga whale and the community depends on this species more than any other Native community in Alaska does. Beluga whale makes up more than 60 percent of the community's total annual subsistence harvest. A major community activity is a single cooperative hunt in the summer, principally in the first two weeks of July, on the outer coast of the barrier islands. Hunting is done in a few key passes between these islands where schools of belugas migrating north are known to feed, and within Kasegaluk Lagoon. Most hunting is concentrated south of the village in Kukpowruk and Naokok passes. Normally, when a pod is sighted, all available hunters herd the whales into the shallows of Kasegaluk Lagoon, near the old village, where they can be more easily shot and beached. They are swiftly butchered and shared equally by all participating hunters and throughout the entire community. Beluga is shared with other communities and may be exchanged for other subsistence foods hard to come by in Point Lay, such as bowhead whale. In 1983, the beluga harvest was reported to range from 3 to 30 whales annually, with a mean annual harvest of 13 (Davis and Thompson, 1984). In 1982, Point Lay harvested 28 belugas (Braund and Burnham, 1984) and in 1992, the estimated harvest was revised upward to 40 whales annually from 1983 to 1992 (Fuller and George, 1997). Figure III-08 shows the relative contribution of beluga whale to the Point Lay subsistence harvest. See Figure III-03 for harvest seasons and Map 67 Map Icon for use area/habitat; see Table III-23 for annual beluga harvest since 1982; see Table III-24 for Point Lay's 1987 Subsistence-Harvest Summary (USDOI, BLM, 1978d; State of Alaska, Dept. of Fish and Game, 1996; Braund and Burnham, 1984).

According to hunters in Point Lay, belugas move slowly along the coast from Omalik Lagoon to Icy Cape while they feed. They move up the coast in two or three pulses and enter the passes in Kasegaluk Lagoon when the tide and current are going out. When they enter the lagoon, they stay in the deep channels near the inlets and do not go out a different inlet unless they are herded. Big, white adults lead the group and adults and young travel together. If belugas encounter ice, they retreat to the inlets until the ice is gone. If spooked, they will return when the disturbance has stopped. This beluga behavior is usually observed from late June to early July. Hunters say that the migration path taken by the belugas is determined by the first group to pass by. If the first group is disturbed, succeeding groups of whales may not come within hunting range. Hunters believe that this first pulse of belugas should not be interfered with. It must be left alone to establish the migration path which succeeding pulses of whales will follow, regardless of hunting activity (Huntington and Mymrin, 1996).

Beluga meat is dried and stored in the oil. The oil is aged and said to have medicinal properties. It is supposed to help sores heal quickly and is good for earaches (Huntington and Mymrin, 1996).

Dorcas Neakok had this to say about techniques for the beluga hunt at Point Lay:

...People still do that together - herd them up and hunt. We butcher them across the lagoon on the hill where it's not sandy. The mayor is in charge of dividing the beluga up for everyone in the village. We make a pile for each house and have to haul them up to the ice cellars because they spoil quick. I remember around 1980 we got lots of beluga. Those were happy days but lots of work. We were lucky. A few years we didn't get any beluga.
People don't get beluga other places because they travel in the open lead with whales and sink easy in that deep water after shooting. We herd them to a shallow place in the lagoon so they can't sink. That's why lots of people want beluga. When we have enough, we send lots of bags and boxes to Barrow, Wainwright, and Kotzebue. But not this year; fourteen was not enough for the village. We could only send a little part (Impact Assessment, Inc., 1989).

(c) Walrus

Walrus are hunted from Icy Cape to the southern end of Kasegaluk Lagoon and as much as 20 mi offshore. In years with favorable ice conditions, walrus are harvested from the end of June until the end of July on ice floes 15 mi offshore moving northward with the prevailing coastal currents. If hunting is unsuccessful near the village, hunters will travel to Icy Cape and continue the hunt into August. In recent years, the traditional importance of walrus as food for dog teams has declined and they are now primarily hunted for human consumption. In years with good ice conditions, the harvest averages 10 to 15 animals. A 1987 subsistence survey recorded a harvest of 6 walrus by 25 households (out of 43 total households). From 1988 to 1997, 10 walrus were harvested, from a low of zero for the years 1988 to 1992, to a high of 4 in 1995 and 1996. (See Table III-24 for Point Lay's 1987 Subsistence-Harvest Summary; see Table III-25 for annual walrus harvest numbers; and see Figure III-03 for harvest seasons; USDOI, BLM, 1978d; Braund and Burnham, 1984; State of Alaska, Dept. of Fish and Game, 1996; Stephensen, Cramer, and Burn, 1994; Cramer, 1996, pers. comm.).

(d) Seals

Bearded seals (ugruk) and ringed seals are taken in the spring when they can be found sunning on the northward moving ice. Point Lay hunters begin the spring sea mammal hunt south of the community because the first broken ice holding sea mammals appears there, usually in April. Seals can be killed and dressed out while the prevailing currents carry the hunters and their kills back (north) to Point Lay. In some seasons, if this process is unsuccessful, hunters will travel to Icy Cape where the sea ice grounds on shoals and concentrates the game.

Later in the season, hunters looking for bearded seals and walrus take ringed seals closer to the community. Bearded seal hunting occurs in June after spring sealing is over. Hunters search the broken ice for ugruk as far as 6 mi out, and they sometimes go farther if they are also looking for walrus. Spotted seals feed in Kasegaluk Lagoon in the summer and are harvested on the shores adjacent to the passes into the lagoon. They have valuable skins and do not sink when shot. They are available in the fall and all winter but are seldom taken during this season. The seal harvest area ranges from Cape Beaufort in the south to Icy Cape in the north. The annual harvest of bearded seals was estimated to range from 2 to 10 in 1984. A State of Alaska subsistence survey in 1987 recorded 13 taken. In the same 1987 survey, 25 households harvested 49 ringed seals and 53 spotted seals. See Table III-24 for Point Lay's 1987 Subsistence-Harvest Summary; see Figure III-03 for harvest seasons (USDOI, BLM, 1978d; State of Alaska, Dept. of Fish and Game, 1996; Braund and Burnham, 1984).

With the introduction of the snow machine in the early 1980's and the decline in the use of dog teams, seal meat was no longer needed as dog food. In addition, because aluminum and wood boats replaced skin boats, ugruk skins were no longer in high demand. Further, as caribou from the Western Arctic herd became more plentiful, the hunting preference shifted away from seals (Braund and Burnham, 1984).

Waldo Bodfish, interviewed in 1985, related this about past seal hunting at Icy Cape:

There's a place they call Atigutitugvik. At the mouth of that little stream they put a net out here in early fall before freeze-up and caught a lot of seals. There's a big bar right here about 200 feet long, right from here it's sticking out, and spotted seals always lay on that big bar right there by that point and also someplace in here. It's still there. And Taiugniqtuq, that means 'salty ocean.' And Avuk mound. The bar is right there. There's no (drinking) water there so you have to carry enough water to last you a few days. I always did that when I went hunting there, go across the lagoon and camp right on the spit, when I used to hunt spotted seals years ago.
That's a good place for seining seals too, with a net. They always go there from every direction, sometimes more than 500 gathered there this time of the year, August. But when you shoot you have to hit one every time. If you miss they move some other place. These spotted seals are really spooky, they won't stay any place where there are people around, you know. They'll go away someplace.
When the spotted seals are gathered somewhere along the coast they gradually move along to the south on those entrances all the way to below Point Lay, move along gradually and then go in and stay for a while and then go out and move along to another entrance. They do that every fall before freeze-up. I've never told that to people who want to know about the coast, but I did this time so you'll know. As soon as the lagoon freezes up, they lay on top of the ice right back of the entrance, have a great time, and when the lagoon ice starts to get thick, they go out and move to another place farther south. The ones that want to stay just spend the whole winter under the ice, but they make breathing holes here and there and keep them open (Neakok et al., 1985).

(e) Fish

Fish is a valued resource in the subsistence economy. Fishing and time spent at fish camps is an important community activity for Point Lay residents. The most intense marine fishing with set gill nets starts in July and peaks in August. Chum, pink, and king salmon (rarely) are caught, as well as herring, smelt, flounder, Arctic char, grayling, and broad whitefish. In the fall, people move up the Kukpowruk and Utukok Rivers in family groups to fish camps where they net fish. When the ice hardens in the fall, they turn to jigging. Marine fishing takes place on the sea and lagoon shores of the barrier islands and along the mainland coast from Icy Cape to the south end of Kasegaluk Lagoon. Intensive use areas are found at Naokok Pass, near the old village, and on the shores near the present village site. See Table III-24 for Point Lay's 1987 Subsistence-Harvest Summary; see Figure III-03 for harvest seasons (USDOI, BLM, 1978d; Braund and Burnham, 1984; State of Alaska, Dept. of Fish and Game, 1996).

Dorcas Neakok recounted this about subsistence fishing:

We had lots of fun fishing when the village started again. Our house at fish camp was too small, so whoever wanted to follow brought their own gear and used tents. Fall is the only fishing time, October and part of November. There's grayling, dolly varden, silver fish, and dog salmon. You just have to get your hook out. It's freezing then so as you take the fish out they freeze (Impact Assessment, Inc., 1989).

(f) Polar Bears

In the short days of winter when the sea ice is solid, polar bears are sometimes taken, although they are hunted less actively than in the past when it was still legal to sell their skins. In 1983, local hunters saw few bears, but they had seen many in years past. In 1987, a State subsistence survey reported one polar bear taken by 25 households (out of a total of 50 households). Table III-26 shows the community harvest figures for polar bear from 1983 to 2001. See also Table III-24 for Point Lay's 1987 Subsistence-Harvest Summary; see Figure III-03 for harvest seasons (USDOI, BLM, 1978d; Braund and Burnham, 1984; State of Alaska, Dept. of Fish and Game, 1996).

Dorcas Neakok related these details of the trapping era:

Most of our living was off the land from Warren's [her husband] trapping. Fur prices weren't much in those days. Fox were fifteen to thirty buck depending on how clean they were. Polar bear was pretty good, five to ten dollars a square foot. There was quite a bit of polar bear but not as many as right now. Sometimes they travel eight in a bunch now. It looks like the whole family with young ones and old ones (Impact Assessment, Inc., 1989).

Kate Petersen related this about polar bear hunting:

We moved to Point Lay because there was no work. My husband Dan Susook hunted polar bear. He always killed those. They used to sell the skins for good money. Now people can't sell polar bear (Impact Assessment, Inc., 1989).

(g) Caribou

In the early 1970's, when resettlement occurred, caribou was Point Lay's single-most important subsistence food source; but in the intervening years beluga whale has supplied the greater amount of food. After beluga hunting, caribou hunting had the next highest participation percentage (see Table III-21 for Point Lay's household participation in various subsistence activities). Hunters prefer hunting in late summer and fall, during the months of August, September, and October, when the animals are fat and the males have yet to rut. Caribou are available in winter and are sometimes taken then. When caribou populations plummeted in the 1970's and strict harvest regulations were imposed, the community had difficulty making dietary adjustments; it could not rely on bowhead whales because of limited accessibility or on the area's limited fish resources (streams and rivers in the area are small and only marginally important in terms of area fish production [Craig, 1984]). See Table III-24 for Point Lay's 1987 Subsistence-Harvest Summary; see Figure III-03 for harvest seasons (USDOI, BLM, 1978d; State of Alaska, Dept. of Fish and Game, 1996; Fuller and George, 1997).

(h) Waterfowl

Migratory birds (and their eggs) are an important food source for Point Lay residents, supplying them with their first source of fresh meat when ducks and geese migrate north in the spring. Eider ducks and geese migrate coastally while other types of geese follow major river drainages. Hunting is usually done from the edge of the spring ice leads during May when hunters are looking for seals. In late August and early September, geese are again hunted as they fly southward. Eider and oldsquaw are the most hunted ducks, while brant and Canada geese are the primary geese species. Ptarmigan can be taken all year and, like caribou, are available during the winter months. See Table III-24 for Point Lay's 1987 Subsistence-Harvest Summary; see Figure III-03 for harvest seasons (USDOI, BLM, 1978d; Braund and Burnham, 1984; State of Alaska, Dept. of Fish and Game, 1996).

Dorcas Neakok relates:

I would walk across from Kali [Old Village] to this area where the village is now for ptarmigan. This was way before DEW-line came in. I used a shotgun or .22 and put lots of winter ptarmigan in a sack in the ice cellar. We'd eat those in the springtime because they don't store away long like ducks. Summer and falltime we'd hunt fresh new ptarmigan (Impact Assessment, Inc., 1989).

(i) Other Resources

In spring, ground squirrel and wolverine come out of hibernation and they are actively hunted; grizzly bear are sometimes taken in spring as well. Late summer is the best time for berry picking; mussels, clams, and other invertebrates are also gathered at this time. With the onset of winter, trapping and hunting for fox, wolverine, and wolf begin (see Table III-24 for Point Lay's 1987 Subsistence-Harvest Summary; see Figure III-03 for harvest seasons; USDOI, BLM, 1978d). Figures III-09, III-10, and III-11 are derived from a North Slope Borough economic profile and census conducted in 1998-1999 and indicate Point Lays' household consumption of subsistence resources, changes in subsistence activities, and expenditures on subsistence for the study period (North Slope Borough, 1999).

Dorcas Neakok had this to say about medicinal plants when interviewed in 1988 and 1989:

What else did the old people do? They used plants, the leaves and little flowers. They put it in water and drank the plants for colds or sore throats. I never really got to see that kind. The first time I tried any of those plants was yesterday. Somebody gave me a certain kind of leaf [artemesia, stinkweed] for my swollen knee. It's been hurting, and I couldn't even bend it.
Last night I wrapped those leaves on top and went to sleep. Now, today, I can bend it. It sure helped. I don't feel my knee hurting. It's like those leaves sucked it out. They told me I can even pick the leaves in the wintertime when they're dried up. I never believed much in those myself-'till I tried it now. I'm going to start collecting them... (Impact Assessment, Inc., 1989).

(2) Wainwright

The community of Wainwright, with a population of 492 in 1990 and 546 in 2000 (USDOC, Bureau of the Census, 1991 and 2001), enjoys a diverse resource base that includes both terrestrial and marine resources. The city sits on the Chukchi Sea coast about 100 mi southwest of Barrow. Marine subsistence activities focus on the coastal waters from Icy Cape in the south to Point Franklin and Peard Bay in the north. The Kuk River lagoon system - a major marine estuary -- is an important marine and wildlife habitat used by local hunters. Wainwright is situated near the northeastern end of a long bight that affects sea-ice conditions as well as marine-resource concentrations. Wainwright's terrestrial subsistence-harvest area is within the boundaries of the Northwest NPR-A Planning Area and any Chukchi Sea coastal landfall developed for exploration would be adjacent to marine subsistence harvest areas.

Lydia Agnasagga gave this testimony at a local public hearing in 1987 for MMS' Chukchi Sea Lease Sale 109:

...We live on subsistence, and everybody knows that...especially on the Arctic Coast. We live mainly on the animals from the sea and from the land, as well, and we can't very well live without those...our food because we didn't grow up with beef or anything like that, and I can say that everything costs so much nowadays. It's hard to try to live just by buying...store-bought food, and that's the reason why I'm concerned about this [lease sale] (USDOI, MMS, 1987c).

At the same hearing, Jim Allen Aveoganna related:

I was raised [by] hunting only. My dad had never been working, just hunting for a living. And I raised my family half the time just by hunting, which I can say. That's how we live. Us older people here...we have lived just for [the] hunt. We were raised just by hunting only. No money, nothing. My dad never had been employed; only time he start employ[ment] was the time he was [an] old age citizen. So, that's how we lived (USDOI, MMS, 1987c).

(a) Bowhead Whales

Bowhead whales are Wainwright's most important marine resource; they are available in the Wainwright area beginning in late April (Map 79 ). Wainwright is not as ideally situated for bowhead whaling as Point Hope and Barrow. Ice leads often break far from shore and they are often wider than those near Barrow or Point Hope; multiple leads are common. Skin boats are used early in the season, when the leads are narrower (ACI/Courtnage/Braund, 1984). Because of the wider leads occurring later in the season, Wainwright whalers are likely to use aluminum boats to pursue bowheads farther offshore. There are approximately eight whaling camps along the edge of the landfast ice (ACI/Braund, 1984). In some years, these camps are 10 to 15 mi offshore. The bowhead whale-harvest area delineated in Map 70 Map Icon and Map 71 Map Icon (Braund and Burnham, 1984; Kassam, 2001) indicates the harvest-concentration areas over the past few years. Bowhead harvest areas vary from year to year, depending on where the open leads form; the distance of the leads from shore varies from year to year (ACI/Courtnage/Braund, 1984).

From 1962 to 1982, the bowhead harvest accounted for 8.2 percent of the total annual subsistence harvest (an average of 1.5 whales taken each year) (Stoker, 1983). The annual bowhead harvest has not varied as much as the harvest of other subsistence resources. However, over the past 20 years, the number of whales taken has varied from zero to 6, and the relative bowhead contribution to the total annual subsistence harvest has increased (Table III-27). In a subsistence study conducted in Wainwright from 1988 to 1989 (S.R. Braund and Assocs., 1989a), bowhead whales (four whales harvested) accounted for 42.3 percent of total edible pounds harvested while marine mammals made up 70 percent of the total edible pounds harvested. Two whales were harvested during the 1989 to 1990 season. They composed 29 percent of the total edible pound harvested (State of Alaska, Dept. of Fish and Game, 2002). No bowheads were taken in 1992 and the marine mammal harvest was made up primarily of walrus, beluga whale, and ugruk (Fuller and George, 1997).

In local hunter interviews conducted by the Wainwright Traditional Council and University of Calgary researchers for the ongoing Mapping Human Ecology in Wainwright, Alaska project, one hunter related: "It makes you more like a human being when you catch a whale - makes you real proud. Nobody understands what that feels like" (Kassam and the Wainwright Traditional Council, 2001).

A hunter interviewed for the same project stated that hunters generally prefer small whales because they are easier to work with and the maktak (skin and blubber) is softer. The whalers determine whale size by the size of their "noses": "If we see he's got a big high nose, then we know it's a big one. If you see one with a small nose and it disappears right away, we know that's a small one." (Kassam and the Wainwright Traditional Council, 2001).

(b) Beluga Whales

Beluga whales are available to Wainwright hunters during the spring bowhead-whaling season (late April to early June); however, pursuing belugas during this time jeopardizes the bowhead whale so the beluga hunt occurs only if no bowheads are in the area. Belugas also are available later in the summer (July through late August) in the lagoon systems along the coast (Map 69 Map Icon and Map 71 Map Icon ). The reluctance of Wainwright residents to harvest belugas during the bowhead-whaling season means the community must rely on the unpredictable summer harvest for the major volume of the beluga whale harvest-resource. Consequently, the relative importance of the beluga whale varies from year to year (Nelson, 1981; ACI/Courtnage/Braund, 1984). The annual average harvest of belugas (over 20 years from 1962-1982) is estimated at 11, or 2.7 percent of the total annual subsistence harvest (Stoker, 1983). In Braund's study (1989a, 1993), 2 whales were harvested, making up 1.1 percent of Wainwright's harvest in 1989. In 1990, no whales were harvested. Since 1990, the beluga harvest has ranged from zero to 38 animals in 1998, while in 2001 23 whales were taken (Fuller and George, 1997). See Table III-23.

In local hunter interviews conducted for the ongoing Mapping Human Ecology in Wainwright, Alaska project, one hunter stated: "There were these two guys out there. They were watching the killer whales chasing the belugas, and the killer whale got one. And he talked to it in Eskimo and kind of high and mighty, and he said, 'Give me a piece of that beluga." And the [killer] whales bit off a piece of it, bit off a chunk of it, went over, got near the edge of the ice, held out that piece of beluga in his mouth. His buddy seen that, and that guy who was asking for some was too scared, and pretty soon that killer whale just left." Belugas are considered and unpredictable subsistence resource and some community members believe that marine boat traffic is pushing the belugas farther south. There are two pulses of beluga whales that go by Wainwright, one in early May and another in late June. Because people are focusing on the bowhead whale harvest in May, they only hunt belugas from the late June migration. Whales are communally hunted as in Point Lay. A group of boats will herd the whales into Kuk Lagoon where they are harvested in the shallow water (Kassam and the Wainwright Traditional Council, 2001).

(c) Walrus

Walruses are present seasonally in Wainwright, with the exception of a few that overwinter in the area. The peak hunting period occurs from July to August (Map 79) as the southern edge of the pack ice retreats. In late August and early September, Wainwright hunters occasionally harvest walrus that are hauled out on beaches. The focal area for hunting walruses is from Milliktagvik north to Point Franklin. However, hunters prefer to harvest walruses south of their communities (Map 65 Map Icon , Map 69 Map Icon , and Map 71 Map Icon ) so northward-moving pack ice can carry the hunters toward home while they butcher their catch on the ice. This northward-moving current also helps the hunters return home in their heavily loaded boats (Nelson, 1981). The annual average harvest (over 20 years from 1962-1982) is estimated at 86 walruses, or 18.5 percent of the total annual subsistence harvest (Stoker, 1983). In Braund's 1989 study, walrus composed 17.6 percent of the total harvest and in 1989, they accounted for 33.7 percent of the total harvest (1989a) (see Table III-22 for the number harvested). Since 1989, the annual walrus harvest has ranged from 0 to 153 animals (see Table III-25). In 1992, 82 walrus were harvested, composing 25 percent of the total subsistence harvest (Fuller and George, 1997).

In hunter interviews conducted for the ongoing Mapping Human Ecology in Wainwright, Alaska project, a hunter related: "Long ago, the walrus was hunted 15 to 20 miles out. It was a long way to haul a heavy walrus back. We had to fill the canoes with walrus, the hides - no bones. The only bones you carried on those canoes were the tusks. You take all the meat off and sink the carcass for the rest of the animals. When they got through butchering the walrus, they would say: 'I hope we have calm weather for the trip home." That's what they would say to animals, 'hope it is calm all the way home.' And they would usually come in on a calm day." Many people still eat walrus kauk (the breast portion), meat, and blubber, and fewer consume the heart, kidneys, intestine, and liver (Kassam and the Wainwright Traditional Council, 2001).

(d) Seals

Wainwright residents hunt four seal species - ringed, spotted, ribbon (all hair seals), and bearded seals. Ringed seals (the most common species) are generally available throughout the ice-locked months. Bearded seals are available during the same period, but they are not as plentiful. Although they are harvested less frequently, spotted seals are common in the coastal lagoons during the summer; most are taken in Kuk Lagoon. Ribbon seals occasionally are available during the spring and summer months. Ringed and bearded seals are harvested most intensely from May through July (ACI/ Courtnage/Braund, 1984). Most ringed seals are harvested along the coast from Milliktagvik to Point Franklin, with concentration areas along the shore from Kuk Inlet southward to Milliktagvik and from Nunagiaq to Point Franklin. Migrating seals are most concentrated at Qipuqlaich, just south of Kuk Inlet (Map 69 Map Icon and Map 71 Map Icon ) (Nelson, 1981).

The bearded-seal harvest is an important subsistence activity in Wainwright because it is a preferred food and the skins are used as covers for the whaling boats (ACI/Courtnage/Braund, 1984). The best harvest areas for bearded seals are on the flat ice south of Wainwright, off Qilamittagvik and Milliktagvik and beyond, towards Icy Cape (Nelson, 1981). Although no annual harvest data was available for bearded seals in the 1962-1982 twenty-year-average computation, the annual average subsistence harvest (over 20 years from 1962-1982) is estimated at 250 seals, or about 12.3 percent of the total annual subsistence harvest (Stoker, 1983). In 1988, Braund (1989a) documented that 97 bearded seals were harvested, accounting for 6.6 percent of the marine-mammal harvest that year. One hair-seal harvest during the past 20 years is estimated at between 250 and 1,600 seals. In recent years, approximately 250 hair seals have been harvested each year. In 1989, Braund recorded 98 hair seals (ringed and spotted), composing 1.1 percent of the total marine-mammal harvest (1989; see Table III-22 for 1989 harvest numbers).

Traditionally, ringed and bearded seals were widely harvested. Today ugruk (bearded seal) is the most sought after species and ringed seal is not considered as important. The ugruk is considered a main-stay subsistence resource and is prized for its fat and meat. It is harvested from spring through fall. Smaller ugruk are preferred for their meat and the larger ones are considered best for rendering oil. Recently, some elders have commented that there is a change in the taste and texture of ugruk meat and oil. The meat has a stronger taste when boiled, and the oil rendered from the blubber is not white (Kassam and the Wainwright Traditional Council, 2001).

(e) Fish

Wainwright residents harvest a variety of fishes in most marine and freshwater habitats along the coast and in lagoons, estuaries, and rivers. The most important local fish harvest occurs from September through November (Map 79) in the freshwater areas of the Kuk, Kugrua, Utukok, and other river drainages (Craig, 1987 [Map 69] Map Icon ). Ice fishing for smelt and tomcod (saffron cod) occurs near the community, primarily during January, February, and March. In the summer months, Wainwright residents harvest Arctic char, chum, and pink salmon, Bering cisco (whitefish), and sculpin along the coast and the lower portions of Kuk Lagoon (Nelson, 1981; ACI/ Courtnage/Braund, 1984). The most common species harvested in the Kuk River system are Bering cisco and least cisco, grayling, lingcod, burbot, and rainbow smelt. Other species that are harvested less frequently along the coast (in some cases in estuaries or freshwater) include rainbow smelt, flounder, cisco, saffron cod, arctic cod, trout, capelin, and grayling (Nelson, 1981; Craig, 1987). Marine fishing is conducted from Peard Bay to Icy Cape and in Kuk Lagoon.

During the period 1969 to 1973, the annual fish harvest was about 3,800 lbs. The annual per capita fish catch was 9 lbs. (The ADF&G cautions that these data was not systematically collected or verified [Craig, 1987].) Stoker (1983, as cited by ACI/Braund, 1984) uses this data and lists fish as a minor resource in the total harvest of Wainwright subsistence resources (approximately 0.8% of the annual harvest averaged over 20 years). Fish were the third-largest source of subsistence foods and the third-most important species harvested in Wainwright in 1981. In Braund's study, fish made up 3.9 percent of the total harvest in 1989 with whitefish and least cisco the most important. In 1990, fish accounted for 4.9 percent of the total harvest, with least cisco and rainbow smelt again the most important species (Braund, 1989, 1993; see Table III-22 for the 1989 harvest numbers).

This increase in the importance of fish resources can be attributed to: (1) the increase in the importance of fish as a subsistence resource because snow machines and motorized skiffs have made distant fish camps more accessible; and (2) a value change that has stimulated the residents' interest in fishing and camping away from the community (Nelson, 1981). The fish harvest plays an important role in strengthening kinship ties in the community (Nelson, 1981; ACI/Courtnage/Braund, 1984). In addition, fish are a crucial resource when other resources are less abundant or unavailable, and, over time, fish are a more reliable and stable resource (Nelson, 1981). Fuller and George (1992) estimated that fish resources made up 8.8 percent of the total subsistence harvest in 1992.

In interviews conducted for the Mapping Human Ecology Project in Wainwright, community members related that fish taste best in the fall, during caribou hunting season. Fish harvested during this season are whitefish, lingcod, salmon, and grayling. "Winter fishing takes place before the ice is too thick to cut through." The community noted that recently there seems to be more salmon found in local rivers. Historically, chum salmon was the only variety caught, but recently people have reported catching king, chum, Coho, and sockeye (Kassam and the Wainwright Traditional Council, 2001).

(f) Polar Bears

Polar bears are generally harvested along the coastal area in the Wainwright region, around Icy Cape, at the headland from Point Belcher to Point Franklin, and at Seahorse Island (Nelson, 1981; Map 71 Map Icon ). Wainwright residents hunt polar bears primarily in the fall and winter, less frequently in the spring, and rarely in the summer (Map 79). Polar bears account for a small portion of the Wainwright subsistence harvest, with an annual average (over 20 years) of 7 harvested, or 1percent of the annual subsistence harvest (Stoker, 1983). Braund found that polar bears made up 1.4 percent of the total harvest in 1989 and 1.7 percent in 1990 (Braund, 1989, 1993; Table III-22 for the 1989 number harvested). Since 1972, the prohibition of the commercial sale of polar bear hides has diminished the intensity of the harvest. Even so, the pursuit of polar bears continues to be an important manifestation of Inupiat traditional skills and an expression of manhood in a society that places an extremely high value on hunting as a way of life (Nelson, 1981). Table III-26 shows the annual number of polar bears harvested in Wainwright from 1983 to 2001.

Since the sale of polar bear hides was banned in the late 1970s, the local harvest of polar bear has declined. Some local hunters believe that, "Inupiat were paying the price for the over harvesting of polar bears by non-Native hunters, who used Cessna aircraft." Most of the bears hunted since the ban are normally bears that have come too close to the community and appear to be threatening. Polar bears are no longer specifically harvested for subsistence reasons. Because of changing ice conditions - it forms later in the season - bears are more commonly trapped on land and cannot reach the ice to hunt for seal. Community members believe that many bears are starving because of this change in ice conditions (Kassam and the Wainwright Traditional Council, 2001).

(g) Caribou

Caribou is the primary source of meat for Wainwright residents. Before freezeup, caribou hunting is conducted along the inland waterways, particularly along the Kuk River system. During the winter, most of the herd moves inland to the Brooks Range and then south of the North Slope, but some caribou remain near the coast. During the spring, the herd returns and concentrates near the Utukok and Colville River headwaters. In June, the herd follows major stream and river drainages toward the coast (Nelson, 1981). Map 65 Map Icon and Map 69 Map Icon display Wainwright's caribou harvest area. An annual average (over 20 years from 1962-1982) of 1,200 caribou was harvested (Stoker, 1983), accounting for 51.6 percent of the total annual subsistence harvest. Caribou are available throughout the year, with a peak harvest period from August to October (Map 79). In Braund's 1989 study in Wainwright, caribou made up 23.1 percent of the total harvest, and in 1990, they composed 23.7 percent of the total harvest. In 1992, 748 caribou were harvested, representing 34.3 percent of the annual subsistence harvest (1989a, 1993; Fuller and George, 1997). See Table III-22 for 1989 harvest numbers.

In interviews conducted for the Mapping Human Ecology Project in Wainwright one hunter stated that, "He and his brother were hunting one time, and they happened to shoot the first caribou on the wrong side of the river. The rest of the migrating caribou stopped on that very spot and stayed there for a few days. He believed that they had no tracks to follow, and they were not sure which way to go. He and his brother decided that they would never shoot those first caribou again. These first caribou are the lead caribou and mark the route for the rest of the migrating herd." A caribou killed in winter is covered with snow and left for a few days. It is propped up in a sitting position because the meat is said to "taste like dung if the animal is not sitting on its haunches." Some older hunters do not skin or gut a caribou killed at this time, believing that leaving it intact "sweetens the meat." The heat produced by leaving the carcass intact is said to partially cook the meat and innards. After a couple of days, the animal is skinned, cleaned, and taken back to the community and eaten as quaq (frozen meat). Over the last 50 years, hunters contend that caribou have become tamer and many do not migrate but instead spend the entire year in the Wainwright area (Kassam and the Wainwright Traditional Council, 2001).

(h) Waterfowl

The migration of ducks, murres, geese, and cranes begins in May and continues through June. The waterfowl harvest is initiated in May at whaling camps and continues through June (Map 79). Hunting decreases as the bird populations disperse to their summer ranges. During the fall migration south, the range is dispersed over a wide area (Map 65 Map Icon and Map 69 Map Icon ) and, with the exception of Icy Cape, hunting success is limited (ACI/Courtnage/Braund, 1984). Wainwright residents annually harvest an estimated 1,200 lbs of birds (averaged over 20 years from 1962-1982), or about 0.3 percent of the total annual subsistence harvest (Stoker, 1983). In 1989, Braund reported that birds were 2.4 percent of the total harvest and geese were 2.0 percent of the total bird harvest; in 1990, birds were 2.1 percent of the harvest (Braund, 1989, 1993). See Table III-22 for 1989 harvest numbers. Although the volume of waterfowl meat is a relatively small portion of the total subsistence harvest, waterfowl hunting is a key element in Wainwright's subsistence routine. Like fishing, bird hunting is highly valued in social and cultural terms. Waterfowl dishes are an essential part of community feasts prepared for holidays such as Thanksgiving and Christmas (Nelson, 1981). Fuller and George (1992) estimated that birds made up 4.5 percent of the total subsistence harvest in 1992.

Because the bowhead harvest and spring bird hunting overlap, hunters sometimes have to choose between the two activities. At whaling festivals following a successful bowhead harvest, geese are traditionally served as well. It is often the friends and relatives of a whaling captain who take care of providing geese for the feast. When harvesting eider ducks, residents try to avoid killing spectacled and Steller's eiders because they are aware that they are threatened and endangered species; nevertheless, they admit that some are killed when they happen to be flying in a flock of common or king eiders. With brant, hunters prefer the taste of spring birds because they have not yet begun to eat sea grasses and seaweed. Many hunters do not the like new Federal regulations requiring the use of steel shot, claiming that it does not bring down geese as well as lead shot (Kassam and the Wainwright Traditional Council, 2001).

(3) Barrow

As with other communities adjacent to the Planning Area, Barrow residents (population 3,469 in 1990, 3,908 in 1993, 4,641 in 1998, and 4,581 in 2000 [USDOC, Bureau of the Census, 1991 and 2001; North Slope Borough, Dept. of Planning and Community Services, 1994, 1999]) enjoy a diverse resource base that includes both marine and terrestrial animals. Barrow's location is unique among the communities in the Northwest NPR-A Planning Area; the community is a few miles southwest of Point Barrow, the demarcation point between the Chukchi and Beaufort seas. This location offers superb opportunities for hunting a diversity of marine and terrestrial mammals and fishes. Barrow's subsistence-harvest area is depicted on Map 72 Map Icon and Map 73 Map Icon . Subsistence resources used by Barrow are listed in Table III-18 by common species name, Inupiaq name, and scientific name. Specific subsistence-harvest areas for major subsistence resources for Barrow are shown in Map 73 Map Icon . Map 72 Map Icon shows Barrow harvest sites recorded by Braund from 1987 through 1990 (S.R. Braund and Assocs. and UAA, ISER, 1993), and Map 74 Map Icon depicts known Barrow hunting and fishing camps.

(a) Bowhead Whales

Barrow residents hunt the bowhead whale during spring and fall, however, more whales are harvested during the spring whale hunt, which is the major whaling season (Fig. III-05). In 1977, the International Whaling Commission (IWC) established an overall quota for subsistence hunting of the bowhead whale by the Alaskan Inupiat. The quota is regulated by the Alaska Eskimo Whaling Commission, which annually decides how many bowheads each whaling community may take. At the May 2002 meeting of the IWC, Japan led a vote by member countries denying the Alaskan Inupiat bowhead quota. North Slope whalers are pursuing diplomatic measures through the State Department to conduct another vote on the bowhead quota. Regardless of the outcome, Inupiat whalers will continue the bowhead hunt (Anchorage Daily News, 2002). In the past, Barrow whalers continued their hunt in the fall to meet the quota and to seek strikes that have been transferred to the community from other villages from the previous spring hunt. During the spring hunt, there are approximately 30 whaling camps along the edge of the landfast ice. The locations of these camps depend on ice conditions and currents. Most whaling camps are located south of Barrow, some as far south as Walakpa Bay. Typically, Atqasuk whalers participate in the subsistence bowhead hunt by joining Barrow whaling crews.

Depending upon the season, the bowhead is hunted in two areas. In the spring (from early April until the first week of June), the bowheads are hunted from leads that open when pack-ice conditions deteriorate. At this time, bowhead whales are harvested along the coast from Point Barrow to the Skull Cliff area, and the distance of the leads from shore varies from year to year. The leads are generally parallel and quite close to shore, but occasionally they break directly from Point Barrow to Point Franklin and force Barrow whalers to travel over the ice as much as 10 mi offshore seeking open leads. Typically, the lead is open from Point Barrow to the coast; and hunters whale 1 to 3 mi from shore. A stricken whale can be chased in either direction in the lead. Spring whaling in Barrow is conducted almost entirely with skin boats because the narrow leads prohibit the use of aluminum skiffs, which are more difficult to maneuver than the traditional skin boats (ACI, Courtnage, and Braund, 1984; S.R. Braund and Assocs. and UAA, ISER, 1993). Fall whaling occurs east of Point Barrow from the vicinity of Barrow to Cape Simpson. Hunters use aluminum skiffs with outboard motors to chase the whales during the fall migration, which takes place in open water as much as 30 mi offshore.

No other marine mammal is harvested with the intensity and concentration that is expended on the bowhead whale. Bowheads are very important in the subsistence economy; from 1962-1982, they accounted for 21.3 percent of the annual subsistence harvest (ACI, Courtnage, and Braund, 1984), for an average of 10.10 whales/year. From 1987 through 1990, Braund (S.R. Braund and Assocs. and UAA, ISER, 1993) conducted a three-year subsistence study in Barrow. Table III-28 shows the number of subsistence species harvested by year and the three-year average reported in the study. During the last year of the study, harvest data indicated that 58.2 percent of the total harvest was marine mammals, and 43.3 percent of the total harvest was bowhead whales (State of Alaska, Dept. of Fish and Game, 1995b). See Table III-29 for the number harvested. As with all species, the harvest of bowheads varies from year to year; over the past 40 years, the number taken each year has fluctuated from zero to 30 (Map 75 Map Icon , Fig. III-15). Also see Table III-27. In the memory of community residents, 1982 is the only year in four decades when a bowhead whale was not harvested (ACI, Courtnage, and Braund, 1984; S.R. Braund and Assocs. and UAA, ISER, 1993; Fuller and George, 1997; Braund, 2002, pers. comm.).

(b) Beluga Whales

Beluga whales are available from the beginning of the spring whaling season through June and occasionally in July and August in ice-free waters (Fig. III-05). Barrow hunters do not like to hunt beluga whales during the bowhead hunt, preferring to harvest them after the spring bowhead season ends, which depends on when the bowhead quota is met. Belugas are harvested in the leads between Point Barrow and Skull Cliff. Later in summer, belugas are occasionally harvested on both sides of the barrier islands of Elson Lagoon. The annual average beluga harvest from 1962-1982 was estimated at 5 whales, or 5 percent of the total annual subsistence harvest (ACI, Courtnage, and Braund, 1984). In Braund's (1993) study, there were no harvests of beluga whales in the three-year period of data collection (S.R. Braund and Assocs. and UAA, ISER, 1993; State of Alaska, Dept. of Fish and Game, 1995b; Table III-28). During the period 1982-1996, belugas were taken very rarely at Barrow, with an annual average of about 1 per year. Since 1987, the Alaska Beluga Whale Committee records 23 belugas taken by Barrow hunters, ranging from zero in 1987, 1988, 1990, 1992, and 1995 to a high of 8 in 1997 (see Table III-23; ABWC, 2002; Fuller and George, 1997).

(c) Walrus

Walrus are harvested during the summer marine-mammal hunt west and southwest of Point Barrow to Peard Bay. Most hunters travel no more than 15 to 20 mi to hunt walrus. The major walrus-hunting effort occurs from late June through mid-September, with the peak season in August (Fig. III-05). The annual average harvest from 1962-1982 was estimated at 55 walruses, or 4.6 percent of the total annual subsistence harvest (ACI, Courtnage, and Braund, 1984). Braund's 1987-1990 study (S.R. Braund and Assocs. and UAA, ISER, 1993; Table III-28) indicated an increased walrus harvest, with an average annual harvest of 81 walrus, accounting for 9.0 percent of the total edible pounds of meat harvested during this period. Since 1990, the harvest has ranged from 7 to 206 animals (Schliebe, 2002, pers. comm.; S.R. Braund and Assocs. and UAA, ISER, 1993; Fuller and George, 1997). See Table III-25.

(d) Seals

Hair seals are available from October through June. However, because of the availability of bowheads, bearded seals, and caribou during various times of the year, seals are harvested primarily during the winter months, especially from February through March. See Figure III-05. Ringed seals are the most common hair seal species harvested, and spotted seals are harvested only in the ice-free summer months. Ringed seal hunting is concentrated in the Chukchi Sea, although some hunting occurs off Point Barrow and along the barrier islands that form Elson Lagoon. During the winter, leads in the area immediately adjacent to Barrow and north toward the Point make this area an advantageous spot for sealing. Spotted seals also are harvested occasionally off Point Barrow and the barrier islands of Elson Lagoon. Oarlock Island in Admiralty Bay is a favorite place for hunting spotted seals. From 1962-1982, the hair seal harvest ranged between 31 and 2,100 seals a year, with the average annual harvest estimated at 955 seals, or 4.3 percent of the total annual subsistence harvest (ACI, Courtnage, and Braund, 1984). In the last year of Braund's three-year Barrow subsistence study, ringed seals provided 2.1 percent of the total edible pounds harvested (S.R. Braund and Assocs. and UAA, ISER, 1993; State of Alaska, Dept. of Fish and Game, 1995b). See Table III-28 for the number harvested.

The hunting of bearded seals (ugruk) is an important subsistence activity in Barrow because the bearded seal is a preferred food and because bearded sealskins are the preferred covering material for the skin boats used in spring whaling. About 6 to 9 skins are needed to cover a boat. For these reasons, bearded seals are harvested more than the smaller hair seals. Most bearded seals are harvested during the spring and summer and from open water during the pursuit of other marine mammals in the Chukchi and Beaufort seas (North Slope Borough, 1998). Occasionally, they are available in Dease Inlet and Admiralty Bay. No early harvest data was available for the number of bearded seals harvested annually; thus, the annual subsistence harvest averaged over 20 years from 1962-1982 was 150 seals, or about 2.9 percent of the total annual subsistence harvest (ACI, Courtnage, and Braund, 1984). Harvests from 1988-1989 were documented at 109 seals, providing 6.0 percent of the total edible pounds (S.R. Braund and Assocs. and UAA, ISER, 1993; Fuller and George, 1997). See Table III-29 for the number harvested.

(e) Fish

Barrow residents harvest marine and riverine fishes, but their dependence on fish varies according to the availability of other resources. Capelin, char, cod, grayling, salmon, sculpin, trout, and whitefish are harvested (ACI, Courtnage, and Braund, 1984). Fishing occurs primarily in the summer and fall months and peaks in September and October. See Figure III-05. Fishing also occurs concurrently with caribou hunting in the fall. Tomcod are harvested during the fall and early winter when there is still daylight (North Slope Borough, 1998). Primarily because Barrow residents supplement their camp food with fish whenever they are hunting, the subsistence-harvest area for fish is extensive.

Most fishing occurs at inland fish camps, particularly in lakes and rivers flowing into the southern end of Dease Inlet (Craig, 1987). Inland fish camps are found in the Inaru, Meade, Topagoruk, Chipp, Alaktak, and Ikpikpuk river drainages, and as far east as Teshekpuk Lake. At established fish camps, hunters place set nets for whitefish, char, and salmon. These camps provide good fishing opportunities as well as access to inland caribou and birds. When whitefish and grayling begin to migrate from the lakes into the major rivers in August, inland fishing intensifies. This also is the period of peak collection of berries and greens (Schneider, Pedersen, and Libbey, 1980; ACI, Courtnage, and Braund, 1984). From 1969-1973, the average annual harvest of fish was about 80,000 lbs (Craig, 1987); from 1962-1982, the estimated annual average was 60,000 lbs, which accounted for 6.6 percent of the total annual subsistence harvest (ACI, Courtnage, and Braund, 1984). In a 1986 partial estimate of fish harvests for the Barrow fall fishery in the Inaru River, the catch composition was least cisco (45%), broad whitefish (36%), humpback whitefish (16%), arctic cisco (1%), fourhorn sculpin (1%), and burbot (0.5%) (Craig, 1987). In Braund's study (1993), 1989-1990 fish harvests provided 13.5 percent of the total edible subsistence harvest (S.R. Braund and Assocs. and UAA, ISER, 1993; Fuller and George, 1997). See Table III-28 for the number harvested.

(f) Polar Bears

Barrow residents hunt polar bears from October to June (Fig. III-05). Polar bears make up a small portion of the Barrow subsistence harvest, with an annual average of 7.8 bears taken from 1962-1983, or 0.3 percent of the annual subsistence harvest (Schliebe, 1983; ACI, Courtnage, and Braund, 1984). From 1989-1990, 39 polar bears were harvested, providing 2.2 percent of the total edible pounds harvested (S.R. Braund and Assocs. and UAA, ISER, 1993; State of Alaska, Dept. of Fish and Game, 1995b). See Table III-29. Table III-26 shows Barrow polar bear harvests from 1983-2001; over this 18-year period, the average annual harvest was 21 animals (Fuller and George, 1997).

Figures III-16, III-17, and III-18 are derived from a North Slope Borough economic profile and census conducted in 1998-1999 and indicate household consumption of subsistence foods, changes in subsistence activity, and expenditures on subsistence in Barrow for the study period (North Slope Borough, 1999).

(g) Caribou

Caribou, the primary terrestrial meat for Barrow residents, are available throughout the year, with peak harvest periods from February through early April and from late June through late October (Fig. III-05). The approximate boundary for Barrow's primary subsistence-harvest area for caribou, as reflected in research conducted in the late 1980's and early 1990's, extends southwest from Barrow along the Chukchi coast for roughly 35 mi, then runs south and eastward toward the drainage of the upper Meade River. It swings easterly, crossing the Usuktuk River and then trends north and east crossing the Topagoruk and Omalik rivers until it reaches Teshekpuk Lake. From here the boundary generally traces the coastline back to Barrow. (The area described here is a boundary circumscribing reported harvest sites and does not represent a reported harvest area as such [S.R. Braund and Assocs. and UAA, ISER, 1993].) From 1962-1982, residents harvested an annual average of 3,500 caribou, accounting for 58.2 percent of the total annual subsistence harvest (ACI, Courtnage, and Braund, 1984). In the last year of Braund's three-year Barrow subsistence study, caribou provided 22.2 percent of the total edible pounds harvested (S.R. Braund and Assocs. and UAA, ISER, 1993; State of Alaska, Dept. of Fish and Game, 1995b; Fuller and George, 1997). See Table III-28 for the number harvested.

(h) Waterfowl

Migratory birds, particularly eider ducks and geese, provide an important food for Barrow residents. This is not because of the quantity of meat harvested or the time spent hunting them, but because of the dietary importance of birds as the first source of fresh meat in the spring. In May, geese are hunted and hunters travel great distances along major inland rivers and lakes to harvest them; most eider and other ducks are harvested along the coast (Schneider, Pedersen, and Libbey, 1980). Once harvested extensively, snowy owls are no longer taken regularly. Bird eggs are still gathered occasionally, especially on the offshore islands where foxes and other predators are less common. Waterfowl, hunted during the whaling season (beginning in late April or early May) when their flights follow the open leads, provide a source of fresh meat for whaling camps. Later in the spring, Barrow residents harvest many geese and ducks, with the harvest peaking in May and early June but continuing until the end of June (Fig. III-05). Birds may be harvested throughout the summer, but only incidentally to other subsistence activities. In late August and early September, with peak movement in the first two weeks of September, ducks and geese migrate south and are again hunted by Barrow residents. Birds, primarily eiders and other ducks, are hunted along the coast from Point Franklin to Admiralty Bay and Dease Inlet. Concentrated hunting areas are also located along the shores of the major barrier islands of Elson Lagoon. During spring whaling, families not involved with whaling may go geese hunting; successful whaling crews also may be hunting geese while other crews are still whaling (North Slope Borough, 1998).

A favorite spot for hunting birds is the "shooting station" at the narrowest point of the barrier spit forming Point Barrow and separating the Chukchi Sea from Elson Lagoon. Barrow residents easily access this area, a highly successful hunting spot during spring and fall bird migrations. From 1962-1982, Barrow residents harvested an estimated annual average of 8,000 lbs of birds, which accounted for about 0.9 percent of the total annual subsistence harvest (ACI, Courtnage, and Braund, 1984). From 1989-1990, 29,215 pounds were harvested, accounting for 3.3 percent of the total edible pounds harvested (S.R. Braund and Assocs. and UAA, ISER, 1993; State of Alaska, Dept. of Fish and Game, 1995b; Fuller and George, 1997). See Table III-28 for the number of birds harvested.

(4) Atqasuk

Atqasuk, population 216 in 1990 and 228 in 2000 (USDOC, Bureau of the Census, 1991, 2001), is an inland community within the Northwest NPR-A Planning Area. The marine-resource areas used by Atqasuk residents include those used by Barrow residents as explained in the Barrow discussion. A small portion of the marine resources used by Atqasuk residents is acquired on coastal hunting trips initiated in Atqasuk; most resources are acquired on coastal hunting trips initiated in Barrow or Wainwright with relatives or friends (ACI/Courtnage/Braund, 1984). The local connection with the coast and marine resources is important to the community. As one resident observed: "We use the ocean all the time, even up here; the fish come from the ocean; the whitefish as well as the salmon migrate up here" (ACI, Courtnage, and Braund, 1984).

Inland, there is less diversity of resources and subsistence opportunities are restricted to fewer species than those available on the coast and offshore. Atqasuk hunters harvest the community's key resources of caribou, fish, and migratory waterfowl, and some of the community's harvest areas overlap with those of Barrow. Areas used exclusively by the community and heavily used by local subsistence hunters are: the entire Meade River drainage, the Avalik River, the upper Okpiksak, the Topagoruk, and the Nigisaktuvik rivers (Schneider, Pedersen, and Libbey, 1980; S.R. Braund and Assocs. and UAA, ISER, 1993; 1998b). Map 66 Map Icon displays Atqasuk's subsistence-harvest area. Subsistence resources used by Atqasuk are listed in Table III-18 by common species name, Inupiaq name, and scientific name. Atqasuk's specific subsistence harvest areas for major subsistence resources for are depicted on Map 76 Map Icon . Levels of 1988 subsistence participation by Atqasuk households are shown in Table III-30.

(a) Fish

Fish is a preferred food in Atqasuk, although in an ACI, Courtnage, and Braund study (1984), respondents indicated that fish is the secondary resource in quantity harvested. Summer gillnetting, hook and line, late fall and winter jigging through ice, and winter gillnetting under the ice are the four common fishing techniques. The most productive season for gillnetting begins in June and runs to fall and early winter. Narvaqpak (southeast of Atqasuk) is a popular fishing area (North Slope Borough, 1998). Most fishing occurs along the Meade River a few miles from the village, but is also pursued in most rivers, streams, and deeper lakes of the region. Fish camps are also located on two nearby rivers, the Usuktuk and the Nigisaktuvik, and downstream on the Meade River near the Okpiksak River (Craig, 1987). The most prevalent subsistence-fishing activity is catching humpback whitefish and least cisco in gillnets. Also caught are broad whitefish, burbot, grayling, and chum salmon (only caught in some years), which are fished with gillnets and baited hooks, and by jigging (Craig, 1987). Fall and early winter are the preferred times for fishing, when water levels in the Meade River drop and the water becomes clearer. Nets are most commonly set close to the community. During the fall and winter, fishing continues under the ice in the Meade River and in nearby lakes (Schneider, Pedersen, and Libbey, 1980; ACI, Courtnage, and Braund, 1984; S.R. Braund and Assocs. and UAA, ISER, 1993; North Slope Borough, 1998).

Humpback whitefish and least cisco accounted for 96 percent of the summer catch in 1983. The summer gillnet fishery in the Meade and Usuktuk rivers produced a harvest of approximately 8,450 lbs of fish. Adding catches with other gear (angling) and winter catches (1,100 lbs and 2,700 lbs, respectively), the total harvest was approximately 12,250 lbs. The annual per capita catch in 1983 was about 43 lbs, for 231 residents in the village (Craig, 1987). A subsistence-harvest survey conducted by the NSB Department of Wildlife Management (DWM) from July 1994 to June 1995 reported that fish harvests by Atqasuk hunters represented 37 percent of the total subsistence harvest in edible pounds (Table III-31 for the number of fish harvested by month; Opie, Brower, and Bates, 1997).

(b) Caribou

Caribou is the most important resource harvested by Atqasuk residents. Although the late summer-early fall harvest is the most important, caribou are harvested every month of the year (see Fig. III-06). Caribou migration patterns and limited access prohibit hunting in the late spring and early summer. A subsistence-harvest survey conducted by the NSB DWM from July 1994 to June 1995 noted that 187 caribou were reported as having been harvested by Atqasuk hunters (approximately 57 percent of the total subsistence harvest in edible pounds; Table III-31; Opie, Brower, and Bates, 1997).

In recent years, the caribou population has been high, and Atqasuk residents have not had to travel far to hunt (distances are not available). Caribou are hunted by boat and snow machine and on foot from hunting camps along the Meade, Inaru, Topagoruk, and Chipp river drainages, which are used for fishing. Caribou hunting by snow machine involves considerable travel over a widespread area (Schneider, Pedersen, and Libbey, 1980; ACI, Courtnage, and Braund, 1984).

(c) Waterfowl

Atqasuk residents harvest migratory birds (especially white-fronted geese - the most common goose harvested by Atqasuk hunters) from late April through June when the geese begin to appear along rivers, lakes, and the tundra as they follow the snowline north (Fig. III-06; North Slope Borough, 1998). This is also the time when ptarmigan are harvested and bears and moose appear, although moose are rare near Atqasuk (North Slope Borough, 1998). Waterfowl are hunted continually through June and July along the major rivers from late August through September on numerous lakes and ponds, as well as on the Meade River and its tributaries. Ptarmigan are also heavily hunted during the fall (North Slope Borough, 1998). Eggs are gathered in the immediate vicinity of the community for a short period in June (ACI, Courtnage, and Braund, 1984; S.R. Braund and Assocs. and UAA, ISER, 1993). A subsistence-harvest survey conducted by the NSB DWM covering the period from July 1994 to June 1995 reported that bird harvests by Atqasuk hunters represented 3 percent of the total subsistence harvest in edible pounds (Table III-31 for the number harvested; Opie, Brower, and Bates, 1997).

Figures III-19, III-20, and III-21 are derived from a North Slope Borough economic profile and census conducted in 1998-1999 and indicate household consumption of subsistence resources, changes in subsistence activity, and expenditures on subsistence in Atqasuk for the study period (North Slope Borough, 1999).

(5) Nuiqsut

Specific harvest areas for wildfowl, caribou, moose, fish, whales, and seals for Nuiqsut are shown in Maps 66 Map Icon , 77 Map Icon , and 78[ca4] Map Icon . The Inupiat community of Nuiqsut has subsistence-harvest areas in and adjacent to the Northwest NPR-A Planning Area, and Nuiqsut's marine subsistence-harvest area is in the Beaufort Sea. Cross Island and vicinity is a crucially important region for Nuiqsut's subsistence bowhead whale hunting. Before oil development at Prudhoe Bay, the onshore area from the Colville River Delta in the west to Flaxman Island in the east and inland to the foothills of the Brooks Range (especially up the drainages of the Colville, Itkillik, and Kuparuk rivers) was historically important to Nuiqsut for the subsistence harvests of caribou, waterfowl, furbearers, fish, and polar bears.

Offshore, in addition to bowhead whale hunting, seals historically were hunted as far east as Flaxman Island. Also, commercial whaling near and within the barrier islands during the late 1800's has been documented (Thomas P. Brower, as cited in North Slope Borough, Commission on History and Culture, 1980). Bowheads also have been observed inshore of the barrier islands, and recent mention has been made of the area being used as a whale feeding area (V. Nauwigewauk, as cited in Shapiro, Metzner, and Toovak, 1979; Isaac Akootchook, as cited in USDOI, MMS, 1979a; Thomas P. Brower, as cited in North Slope Borough, Commission on History and Culture, 1980; Frank Long, Jr., as cited in Dames and Moore, 1996c; Burton Rexford, as cited in USDOI, MMS, 1996d; and Isaac Nukapigak, as cited in USDOI, MMS, Alaska OCS Region, 1998).

Nuiqsut's population stood at 354 in 1990, 418 in 1993, 420 in 1998, and 433 in 2000 [USDOC, Bureau of the Census, 1991, 2001; North Slope Borough, Dept. of Planning and Community Services, 1994, 1999). Nuiqsut is located near the mouth of the Colville River, which drains into the Beaufort Sea. For Nuiqsut, important subsistence resources include bowhead whales, caribou, fish, waterfowl, ptarmigan and, to a lesser extent, seals, muskoxen, and Dall sheep. Polar bears, beluga whales, and walruses are seldom hunted but can be taken opportunistically while in pursuit of other subsistence species. A 1993 ADF&G subsistence study showed that nearly two-thirds of all Nuiqsut households received more than half their meat, fish, and birds from local subsistence activity (Pedersen et al., 1995, as cited in Fall and Utermohle, 1995). Nuiqsut's marine and terrestrial subsistence-harvest areas can be seen in Map 66 Map Icon and Map 77 Map Icon . The preferred harvest periods for Nuiqsut are indicated in Figure III-07. A summary of subsistence resources in percentages of edible pounds harvested in the 1993 and 1994-1995 seasons can be seen in Table III-17.

Figures III-22, III-23, and III-24 are derived from a North Slope Borough economic profile and census conducted in 1998-1999 and indicate household consumption of subsistence resources, changes in subsistence activity, and expenditures on subsistence in Nuiqsut for the study period (North Slope Borough, 1999).

(a) Bowhead Whales

Even though Nuiqsut is not located on the coast but approximately 25 mi inland with river access to the Beaufort Sea, bowhead whales are a major subsistence resource. Bowhead whale hunting usually occurs between late August and early October, with the exact timing depending on ice and weather conditions. Ice conditions can extend the season up to two months, or condense it to less than two weeks. Unlike the Barrow spring whale hunt staged from the edge of ice leads using skin boats, Nuiqsut whalers use aluminum skiffs with outboard motors to hunt bowheads in open water. Generally, Nuiqsut residents harvest bowhead whales within 10 mi of Cross Island, but hunters may, at times, travel 20 mi or more from the island. Historically, the entire coastal area from Nuiqsut east to Flaxman Island and the Canning River Delta has been used, but whale hunting to the west of Cross Island has never been as productive. Further, whale hunting too far to the east requires long tows of the whales to Cross Island for butchering, creating the potential for meat spoilage (Impact Assessment, Inc., 1990a).

In the past, Nuiqsut has not harvested many bowhead whales (20 whales from 1972-1995), however, the community's success has improved in the past few years. Unsuccessful harvests were more common in the 1980's, with no whales taken in 1984 and 1988; however, in the 1990's, the only unsuccessful year was 1994 (USDOI, MMS, 1996a; U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, 1998). See Map 78 Map Icon and Figure III-15 and Table III-27 for more information. A 1993 ADF&G subsistence survey in Nuiqsut indicated that 31.8 percent of the total subsistence harvest was marine mammals, and 28.7 percent of the total harvest was bowhead whales (State of Alaska, Dept. of Fish and Game, 1995a; Fuller and George, 1997). See Tables III-32 and III-33 for harvest numbers. The harvest of bowhead whales at Nuiqsut greatly affects the percentage of total harvest estimates because in years when whales are taken, other important subsistence species are underrepresented owing to the great mass of the total pounds of harvested whale.

Although in Nuiqsut bowheads are not the main subsistence resource in terms of edible pounds harvested per capita, they remain, as in other North Slope communities, the most culturally prominent to the Inupiat. The bowhead is shared extensively with other North Slope communities and often with Inupiat residents in communities as distant as Fairbanks and Anchorage. Nuiqsut Whaling Captains Association President, Frank Long, Jr., presented a history of Nuiqsut bowhead whaling and summarized major issues of concern in the Proceedings of the 1995 Arctic Synthesis Meeting (USDOI, MMS 1996d).

(b) Beluga Whales

Some sources have mentioned that beluga whales are taken incidentally during the bowhead harvest. However, Thomas Napageak, resident of Nuiqsut and Chairman of the Alaska Eskimo Whaling Commission, in recent testimony stressed that the village of Nuiqsut has never hunted beluga whales, "I don't recall a time when I went hunting for beluga whales. I've never seen a beluga whale here." (USDOI, BLM, 1998).

(c) Walrus

The ADF&G subsistence-survey data indicates that 2 walruses were harvested in the 1985/1986 harvest season, but no new walrus data for the community has been gathered since then (State of Alaska, Dept. of Fish and Game, 1993, 1995a). Walruses are probably incidentally taken during seal hunting.

(d) Seals

Seals are hunted year-round, but the bulk of the seal harvest takes place during the open-water season, with breakup usually occurring in June. In the spring, seals can be hunted once the landfast ice goes out. Present-day sealing is most commonly done at the mouth of the Colville when it begins flooding in June. According to Thomas Napageak:

... when the river floods, it starts flowing out into the ocean in front of our village affecting the seals that include the bearded seals in the spring month of June.... When the river floods, near the mouth of Nigliq River it becomes filled with a hole or thin spot in [the] sea ice that has melted as the river breaks up. When it reaches the sea, that is the time that they begin to hunt for seals, through the thin spot in the sea ice that has melted. They hunt for bearded seals and other types of seals (USDOI, BLM, 1998).

Nuiqsut resident Ruth Nukapigak recounts past trips to this same sealing area:

I love to follow my son Jonah every year just when the ice begins moving down there and it takes us one hour travel time to get there. That is where we go to hunt for seals (USDOI, BLM, 1998).

Nuiqsut elder Samuel Kunaknana, when interviewed in 1979, noted that when the ice is nearshore in the summer, it is considered to be good for seal hunting (S. Kunaknana, as cited in Shapiro, Metzner, and Toovak, 1979). While seal meat is eaten, the dietary importance of seals primarily comes from seal oil, served with almost every meal that includes subsistence foods. Seal oil is also used as a preservative for meats, greens, and berries. Also, sealskins are important in the manufacture of clothing and, because of their beauty, spotted seal skins often are preferred for making boots, slippers, mitts, and parka trim. In practice, however, ringed seal skins are used more often in the making of clothing, because the harvest of this species is more abundant. A 1993 ADF&G subsistence survey in Nuiqsut indicates that 31.8 percent of the total subsistence harvest was marine mammals, and 3.1 percent of the total harvest was seals (State of Alaska, Dept. of Fish and Game, 1995a). Fuller and George (1997) estimated 24 ringed seals, 6 spotted seals, and 16 bearded seals were harvested in 1992, and the overall marine mammal contribution (including bowhead whales) to the total subsistence harvest was estimated at 36 percent. A subsistence-harvest survey conducted by the North Slope Borough Division of Wildlife Management (DWM) covering the period from July 1994-June 1995,reported a harvest of 23 ringed seals and a contribution of marine mammals of 2 percent to the total subsistence harvest, primarily because no bowhead whales were harvested that season (Brower and Opie, 1997; Brower and Hepa 1998).

(e) Fish

Fish provides the most edible pounds per capita of any subsistence resource harvested by Nuiqsut residents (see tables III-32 and III-33; State of Alaska, Dept. of Fish and Game, 1993, 1995a). The harvests of most subsistence resources, such as caribou, can fluctuate widely from year to year because of variable migration patterns and because harvesting techniques depend on ice and weather conditions, much the same as the conditions surrounding the bowhead whale hunt. Even though fish-harvest rates (and total catch) vary from year to year, the harvest of fish is perhaps more consistent than the harvest of land animals. The harvesting of fish is not subject to seasonal limitations, a situation that adds to their importance in the community's subsistence round. Nuiqsut has had the largest documented subsistence fish harvest on the Beaufort Sea coast (Moulton, 1997; Moulton, Field, and Brotherton, 1986). Moreover, in October and November, fish may provide the only source of fresh subsistence foods.

Fishing is an important activity for Nuiqsut residents because of the community's location on the Nechelik Channel of the Colville River, which has large resident fish populations. The river supports 20 species of fish, and Nuiqsut residents take approximately half (George and Nageak, 1986). Local residents generally harvest fish during the summer and fall, but the fishing season runs from January through May and from late July through mid-December. The summer open-water harvest lasts from breakup to freezeup (early June to mid-September). The summer harvest covers a greater area, is longer than the fall/winter harvest, and residents catch a greater number of species than at other times. Broad whitefish is the primary anadromous species harvested during the summer. Thomas Napageak relates that:

...in the summer when it is time to fish for large, round-nosed whitefish the place called Tirragruag is filled with them as well as the entrance to Itqiliq. Nigliq River gets filled with nets all the way to the point where it begins. We do not go to Kuukpiluk in the summer months. Then we enter Fish Creek...another place where they fish for whitefish is Nuiqsagruaq (USDOI, BLM, 1998).

In July, lake trout, northern pike, broad whitefish, and humpback whitefish are harvested south of Nuiqsut. Traditionally, coastal areas were fished in June and July, when rotting ice created enough open water for seining. Nuiqsut elder Sarah Kunaknana, interviewed in 1979 said,

...in the little bays along the coast we start seining for fish (iqalukpik). After just seining one or two times, there would be so many fish we would have a hard time putting them all away (Shapiro, Metzner, and Toovak, 1979).

Salmon species have reportedly been caught in August but not in large numbers. Pink and chum salmon are the most commonly caught, although reports suggest there has not been a great interest in harvesting them (George and Nageak, 1986). Arctic char is found in the main channel of the Colville River but does not appear to be a major subsistence species because, although apparently liked, it is not abundantly caught (George and Nageak, 1986; George and Kovalsky, 1986; State of Alaska, Dept. of Fish and Game, 1993, 1995a).

The fall/winter under-ice harvest of fish begins after freezeup, when the ice is safe for snow machine travel. Local families begin fishing approximately one month after freeze up. The Kuukpigruaq Channel is the most important fall fishing area in the Colville region, and the primary species harvested are arctic and least cisco. Even after freezeup, people continue to fish for whitefish (Thomas Napageak [USDOI, BLM, 1998]). Nuiqsut resident Ruth Nukapigak recounts a recent winter fishing trip in December 1997: "I, myself, took my net out in December right before Christmas Day. I was catching whitefish in my net." (USDOI, BLM, 1998). Arctic and least cisco amounted to 88 percent and 99 percent of the harvest in 1984 and 1985, respectively; however, these percentages varied greatly depending on the net-mesh size. Humpback and broad whitefish, sculpin, and some large rainbow smelt also are harvested, but in low numbers (George and Kovalsky, 1986; George and Nageak, 1986). A fish identified as "spotted least cisco" has also been harvested. This fish is not identified by Morrow (1980) but could be a resident form of least cisco (George and Kovalsky, 1986). Additionally, weekend fishing for burbot and grayling occurs at Itkillikpaat, 6 mi from Nuiqsut (George and Nageak, 1986; State of Alaska, Dept. of Fish and Game, 1995a).

A study conducted in 1985 estimated the summer catch for that season totaled about 19,000 lbs of mostly broad whitefish; in the fall, approximately 50,000 lbs of fish were caught, for an annual per capita catch of 244 lbs; some of this catch was shipped to Barrow (Craig, 1987). A 1985 ADF&G subsistence survey estimated a smaller per capita catch with the edible pounds of all fish harvested at 176.13 lbs per capita (44.1 percent of the total subsistence harvest; State of Alaska, Dept. of Fish and Game, 1993). In 1986, there was a reduced fishing effort in Nuiqsut, and the fall harvest was 59 percent of that taken in 1985 (Craig, 1987). In 1992, 34 percent of the edible pounds of the subsistence harvest was fish and by 1993 the estimate for edible pounds of all fish harvested had risen to 250.62 lbs per capita (33.7 percent of the total subsistence harvest [George and Fuller, 1997; State of Alaska, Dept. of Fish and Game, 1995a]). A subsistence-harvest survey conducted by the NSB DWM covering the period from July 1994 to June 1995 reported that subsistence fishing provided 30 percent of the total subsistence harvest (Fuller and George, 1997; see Table III-33 for numbers harvested by month; Brower and Opie, 1997; Brower and Hepa, 1998). A recent survey shows that 80 percent of all Nuiqsut households participate in some fishing activity (State of Alaska, Dept. of Fish and Game, 1995a).

Fish are eaten fresh or frozen. Because of their important role as an abundant and stable food source and as a fresh-food source during the midwinter months, fish are shared at Thanksgiving and Christmas feasts and given to relatives, friends, and community elders. Fish also appear in traditional sharing and bartering networks existing among North Slope communities. Because it often involves the entire family, fishing serves as a strong social function in the community, and most Nuiqsut families (from a total 91 households in 1993) participate in some fishing activity (State of Alaska, Dept. of Fish and Game, 1995b).

(f) Polar Bears

The harvest of polar bears by Nuiqsut hunters begins in mid-September and extends into late winter. Polar bear meat is sometimes eaten, although little harvest data is available. There is record of 1 bear harvested in the 1962-1982 period. For the period 1983-1995 Nuiqsut harvested 20 polar bears (Schliebe, 1995; State of Alaska, Dept. of Fish and Game, 1993, 1995a; Brower and Opie, 1997; Brower and Hepa, 1998). According to whaling captain Thomas Napageak's statement at the Beaufort Sea Sale 144 Public Hearings in Nuiqsut, the taking of polar bear is not very important now because Federal regulations prevent the selling of the hide: "...as valuable as it is, [it] goes to waste when we kill a polar bear" (USDOI, MMS, 1995b). Table III-26 shows polar bear harvests from 1983-2001 for Point Lay, Wainwright, Barrow, and Nuiqsut.

(g) Caribou

Nuiqsut harvests several large land mammals, including caribou and moose. Of these, caribou is the most important subsistence resource. Caribou may be the most preferred mammal in Nuiqsut's diet and, during periods of high availability, provides a source of fresh meat throughout the year. Caribou-harvest statistics for 1976 show that 400 caribou provided approximately 47,000 lbs of meat for an estimated 90.2 percent of the total subsistence harvest (Stoker, 1983, as cited in ACI, Courtnage, and Braund, 1984; S.R. Braund and Assocs. and UAA, ISER, 1993). In 1985, an estimated 513 caribou were harvested, providing an estimated 60,000 edible pounds of meat (37.5 percent of the total subsistence harvest; State of Alaska, Dept. of Fish and Game, 1993). A 1993 ADF&G subsistence study estimated a harvest of 672 caribou, providing about 82,000 edible pounds of meat (30.6 percent of the total subsistence harvest). In 1993, 74 percent of Nuiqsut households harvested caribou, 98 percent used caribou, 79 percent shared caribou with other households, and 79 percent received caribou shares (State of Alaska, Dept. of Fish and Game, 1995a). Harvests occurred at 16 locations with the highest harvest of 111 caribou at Fish Creek (Pedersen et al., 1995, as cited in Fall and Utermohle, 1995). A subsistence-harvest survey conducted by the NSB DWM covering the period from July 1994 to June 1995 reported 249 caribou harvested by Nuiqsut hunters, or 58 percent of the subsistence harvest in edible pounds. The report noted this as quite a low number of caribou when compared with reported harvests for earlier years (Fuller and George, 1997). See Table III-33. Explanations offered by local hunters were: (1) the need to travel longer distances to harvest caribou than in the past, (2) the increasing numbers of muskoxen (that hunters believe keep caribou away from traditional hunting areas), and (3) restricted access to traditional subsistence-hunting areas because of oil exploration and development in these areas (Brower and Opie, 1997; Brower and Hepa, 1998).

Because of the unpredictable movements of the Central Arctic and Teshekpuk Lake caribou herds, and because of ice conditions and hunting techniques that depend on the weather, Nuiqsut's annual caribou harvest can fluctuate markedly. However, when herds are available and when weather permits, caribou are harvested year-round. Elders Samuel and Sarah Kunaknana related that caribou hunters in the past had to go inland to hunt caribou because they never came down to the coast as they do now (Shapiro, Metzner, and Toovak, 1979).

(h) Moose

Moose are normally harvested from August-October by boat on the Colville (upriver from Nuiqsut), Chandler, and Itkillik rivers; however, the timing for the harvest varies, depending on the current hunting regulations. Harvest data shows that moose have been harvested during the winter months by snow machine (Brower and Opie, 1997). In 1985, hunters from 40 out of 76 surveyed households reported a harvest of 7 moose (State of Alaska, Dept. of Fish and Game, 1993). In 1993, 62 from a total of 91 households surveyed managed to harvest 9 moose (State of Alaska, Dept. of Fish and Game, 1995a). A subsistence-harvest survey conducted by the NSB DWM covering the period from July 1994 to June 1995, reported 5 moose harvested, or 5 percent of the total edible pounds harvested that season (Brower and Opie, 1997; Brower and Hepa, 1998). In 1992, caribou and moose accounted for 27 percent of the total subsistence harvest (Fuller and George, 1997). In 1993, moose and caribou accounted for 33 percent (Pedersen, 1996) and in the period covered by the North Slope Borough subsistence survey (July 1994 to June 1995), caribou and moose accounted for 63 percent of the edible pounds of subsistence resources harvested by Nuiqsut hunters (Brower and Opie, 1997; Brower and Hepa, 1998). This jump to a much higher percentage for terrestrial mammals is likely explained by an unsuccessful bowhead whale harvest during the study period (Suydam et al., 1994).

(i) Waterfowl

Waterfowl and coastal birds are a subsistence resource that has become increasingly important since the mid-1960's. Birds are harvested year-round, with peak harvests in May-June and September-October. The most important species for Nuiqsut hunters are the Canada and white-fronted goose and brant; eiders are harvested in low numbers. Ruth Nukapigak relates that,

...when the white-fronted goose come, they do hunt them. When the thin ice near the mouth of the river breaks up, that is when they start duck hunting. We, the residents of Nuiqsut, go there to hunt for ducks when they arrive" (USDOI, BLM, 1998).

The only upland bird hunted extensively is the ptarmigan (State of Alaska, Dept. of Fish and Game, 1993, 1995a; Brower and Opie, 1997). Recent data indicates that the subsistence bird harvest has provided 5 percent of the total harvest (Brower and Opie, 1997; Brower and Hepa, 1998). Waterfowl hunting occurs mostly in the spring, beginning in May, and continues throughout the summer. In the summer and early fall, such hunting usually occurs as an adjunct to other subsistence activities, such as checking fishnets.

(6) Other Subsistence Communities

Anaktuvuk Pass is an inland community south and east of the NPR-A. Subsistence-harvest areas for Anaktuvuk Pass are not within the Northwest NPR-A Planning Area. Historically, Anaktuvuk Pass caribou hunters have ranged to the southerly boundary of this Planning Area; and movement by the Teshekpuk Lake herd would bring it into the harvest area of Anaktuvuk Pass subsistence hunters as well (Map 66 Map Icon ). Outside the North Slope, black brant that molt in the NPR-A have a substantial value to subsistence users in the Y-K Delta, and subsistence hunters in the Interior use Canada geese extensively.

Although subsistence users in many areas south of the Brooks Range utilize migratory waterfowl, by far the most important use is by Yukon-Kuskokwim (Y-K) Delta subsistence hunters. The Yup'ik Eskimo of the Y-K Delta sustain themselves by harvesting their subsistence mainstays of salmon, other fish, and seals. Waterfowl and other birds are important seasonal foods, particularly in the spring when they migrate to the delta. One of the most productive areas for geese worldwide, the Y-K Delta is home to all of the world's cackling Canada geese (65,000), nearly all of the emperor geese (59,000), about 80 percent of the world's Pacific black brant, and tens of thousands of white-fronted geese (107,000). In addition, almost 75 percent of Alaska's population of sandhill cranes breeds on the Delta (USDOI, FWS, 1998a,b).

Large numbers of waterfowl breed, molt, and/or stage within or adjacent to the Northwest NPR-A Planning Area. Because most of these species migrate along the Pacific and Mid-Continent flyways and other major corridors to distant locations where they spend most of the year, subsistence hunters on the Y-K Delta are interested in their conservation and management.

Between 1985 and 1995, an estimated annual average of 97,000 birds was taken for subsistence use on the Y-K Delta. Six species of geese are hunted on the Y-K Delta for subsistence: Pacific white-fronted, lesser Canada, cackling Canada, emperor, black brant, and lesser snow goose. Tundra swans and sandhill cranes are the important species taken and the principal duck species are pintails, mallards, and scoters. Other duck species taken are scaup and oldsquaws, and king and spectacled eiders. Eighty-one percent of all birds harvested are taken before September 1st (Wentworth and Siem, 1996).

Of the total harvest, 26,000 (27%) were geese, 44,000 (46%) were ducks, 6,000 (6%) were swans, 3,000 (3%) were cranes, 16,000 (16%) were ptarmigan, and 2,000 (2%) were other birds (primarily loons, murres, shorebirds, and gulls). This represents an average of 33 harvested birds for every household on the Delta. Converted to usable weights, the subsistence harvest of birds provided an average of 280,000 lbs of food annually to Y-K Delta residents between 1985 and 1995, or about 95 lbs of food per Y-K Delta household (Wentworth and Siem, 1996).

(7) Subsistence Access Routes

In the often featureless plain characterizing much of the Planning Area during winter, topographic features such as river valleys, shorelines, large lakes, and the Beaufort and Chukchi Sea coastlines, as well as geological formations such as pingos, are crucial to the Inupiat in determining safe routes to subsistence-hunting sites. The Inupiat are skilled hunters with several millennia of experience with extreme terrain and weather conditions. During periods of severe weather, river valleys and shore banks offer some measure of protection to the traveler. If the weather is not too extreme and the river valley sufficiently well defined, a hunter can travel. During good weather, Inupiat hunters can steer off such features as meandering river bends that are familiar to them and transit between river drainages in the pursuit of game. Although fluvial features may define movement corridors, they should be considered as points from which general cross-country movement can and does occur.

In 1973, twenty-seven families from Barrow re-established the community of Nuiqsut. The Colville River valley and adjacent coastal lowlands compose a traditional Inupiat harvest zone that had been actively inhabited until the 1940's. The coastal Inupiat have historically used the Colville River as a link to the Interior. Beyond its function as an interregional link, the Colville River and its tributaries provide the people of Nuiqsut with an area rich in hunting, fishing, and trapping. Moose are hunted along the length of the river while summer fishing occurs in the delta (see Map 80 Map Icon , Historical Subsistence Access Routes on the North Slope).

Winter fishing occurs around the village and inland along Fish Creek. Caribou are taken throughout the range of Nuiqsut's coastal subsistence-harvest area and along the southern reaches of the Itkillik River well (Map 65 Map Icon and Map 73 Map Icon ). The principal watercourses west of the Colville used in the pursuit of subsistence resources are the Ublutuoch River and Judy and Fish creeks. Along the coastal plain, Nuiqsut hunters seem to favor the area between their community and Teshekpuk Lake. The lake is approximately 85 mi northwest of Nuiqsut, and subsistence hunters often circumnavigate it before returning home.

While hunting near Teshekpuk Lake, Nuiqsut hunters often encounter hunters from Barrow, which has the largest subsistence-hunting zone on the North Slope. From a review of Map 80, it is believed that Barrow hunters use all of the depicted historical subsistence routes-and more. Atqasuk is used as a base camp for Barrow hunters as they hunt toward and into the foothills of the Brooks Range. The Meade, Topagoruk, and Ikpikpuk rivers are used for navigation into the Interior. The Ikpikpuk River route is particularly important because it lies on the boundary of the Northwest NPR-A Planning Area. The Beaufort Sea shoreline guides Barrow hunters who use the smooth ice and the landfast-ice zone to reach Teshekpuk Lake. They often circumnavigate the lake and will often proceed to Nuiqsut to visit family members (Tremont, 1987; 1997, pers. comm.). Atqasuk subsistence hunters primarily use the Meade, Inaru, Topagoruk, and Chipp river drainages for caribou hunting and for fishing, but the extent of their subsistence-harvest area extends farther west toward the Chukchi coast and east toward the Omalik and Ikpikpuk rivers (USDOI, BLM, 1978c; Schneider, Pedersen, and Libbey, 1980). Wainwright hunters use the Kuk River as their route into the Interior. The Utukok and Kokolik River drainages are also important thoroughfares for Point Lay and Wainwright hunters in their pursuit of interior game and fish.


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