"The Interior Department has approved a land swap deal that will allow a remote Alaskan village to construct a road through the Izembek National Wildlife Refuge, according to local officials. The action effectively overrules wilderness protections that have kept the area off limits to vehicles for decades.
The land exchange, which has been agreed to but not formally signed, sets in motion a process that would improve King Cove’s access to the closest regional airport. The village, with roughly 925 residents, has lobbied federal officials for decades to construct a 12-mile gravel road connecting it to the neighboring town of Cold Bay.
In an interview late Friday, City Administrator Gary Hennigh said residents 'are encouraged that this administration has a different attitude about this road, and … that the needs of the people in King Cove can be met. At the same time, the special qualities of the Izembek refuge can continue.'"