FAIRBANKS, Alaska - Community members held a candlelight vigil last night in downtown Fairbanks to support protecting the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge from attempts by Congress to open up part of that land for oil drilling.
The gathering took place at the Golden Heart City Park.
Though the weather was cold and bitter, that didn't stop the number of participants who attended.
Each person held a candle or a sign showing their support of maintaining the refuge as protected wilderness.
Member of the interfaith working group 'Fairbanks Climate Action Coalition', Ritchie Musick, gave a short speech about why he thinks it's important for people to help protect the refuge from Congress.
According to Musick, Congress is trying to exploit the sacred land of the Gwich'in people in hopes of oil development.
Ritcgie Musick; Fairbanks Climate Action Coalition>>"To the Gwich'in people, this is a very important, it's the birthing place of the caribou on which their entire culture depends. To me as a former biology teacher, it's a wonderful tundra ecosystem. One of the very few in our country that has not been spoiled. We have many other parts of the state open for oil and gas development. But this is a special place, not only special to the Gwich'in but special to anyone who enjoys the outdoors and enjoys the biological diversity of Alaska."