For immediate release

April 20, 2004


For more information contact:

Amy Baker

Director of Public Relations

Fairmont State

Office: (304) 367-4135

Cell: (304) 288-9540

Fax: (304) 367-4580





       Chad Kister, author of “Arctic Quest: Odyssey Through a Threatened Wilderness,” will give a presentation on his extensive and perilous journey through the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge on Monday, April 26, at Fairmont State.


       Kister, who has shown his presentation in more than a dozen states, traveled 700 miles through the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge in 1991, rafting the rivers of the coastal plain, photographing the landscape and the wildlife and nearly dying of hypothermia after capsizing his raft in the Kekiktuk River. Encountering Grizzlies and Prudhoe Bay oil workers and eating Arctic char caught in the rivers, Kister saw sights that the rest of us only read about.


       The adventurer will present slides from his trip and will give a talk about the current status of the fight over oil drilling in the Arctic Refuge at noon and again at 7 p.m. Monday, April 26, in the Ruth Ann Musick Library at Fairmont State. The event, sponsored by S.T.A.N.D. and the Fairmont State Biology Department, is free and open to the public.


       The 100-mile stretch of arctic coastal plain in the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge is the only fragment of the United States’ total 1,100-mile arctic coastline not already open to oil and gas development. Oil industry officials are pushing for access to this fragile heartland of this last complete eco-system in North America. Given that there is only a 5 percent chance of recovering the 3.2 billion barrels of oil estimated by the petroleum industry to be lying under the coastal plain, it would take 100 Arctic Refuges to lessen the nation’s dependence on foreign oil at our present rate of petroleum consumption. Were oil and gas development to occur, the U.S. Department of Interior estimates up to a 40 percent loss (70,000 animals) to the Porcupine Caribou herd (129,000 animals). 


       Kister traveled to the Arctic Refuge to see the land for himself.


       “To drill for oil here would poison the heart of this vast ecosystem…it would poison my spirit forever…I felt a need to act in defense of the Arctic Refuge,” Kister writes in his book.


       For more information about the event at Fairmont State, call Dr. Donald Trisel at (304) 367-4308.