Eastern coastal area open for tundra travel
The Alaska Department of Natural Resources, or DNR, announced today that the eastern coastal area of state land on the North Slope is open for winter tundra travel. Conditions within the area have met the required parameters of snow depths of at least six inches and soil temperatures below minus 5 C at a depth of 30 centimeters, DNR said.
Snow and frozen ground protects the Arctic tundra from damage in the winter, allowing companies conducting off-road exploration or development activities on the North Slope to use vehicles that are not tundra-certified. DNR has established parameters for snow depths and ground temperatures that have been demonstrated to provide adequate ground protection. However, operators still need permits from DNR if they plan to use vehicles in off-road situations.
The other three areas of state land in northern Alaska — the western coastal area, the lower foothills and the upper foothills —remain closed because they have not yet attained the required snow and freezing conditions.