Teshekpuk Lake is the largest lake on Alaska’s North Slope and the lake is surrounded by wetlands stretching to the Arctic Coast. The Teshekpuk Lake wetlands are likely the most productive and ecologically important wetlands in the entire circumpolar Arctic, supporting nearly one hundred thousand molting geese, 6 million nesting shorebirds, and providing critical habitat for numerous threatened and imperiled bird species. Though the landscape seems austere and empty at first glance, Teshekpuk is a place of superlative abundance in spring and summer.
Despite the ecological importance of the area to both avifauna and caribou, the area is almost totally unknown. So in May of 2019, thanks to the generosity of numerous donors, I was able to guide two world class photographers, Kiliii Yuyan and Mario Davalos to Teshekpuk where they created stunning images and video of this little known jewel of the Arctic.
Teshekpuk Lake wetlands are in the northeastern portion of the National Petroleum Reserve – Alaska (NPR-A) for which the Bureau of Land Management is creating a new management plan almost sure to include extensive oil and gas leasing and a reduction in conservation protections for the Teshekpuk Area. I hope that these photographs will help galvanize support for protecting the area around Teshekpuk Lake.
These images are being made available for non-commercial use to anyone engaged in conservation work or journalism focused on Teshekpuk Lake and Arctic Alaska.
In addition to the photographic portfolio that resulted from the trip, There will be an upcoming article in the Washington Post by Juliet Eilperin. If you’d like to learn more about the area and can’t wait for that article, you can read a superb piece by Chris Solomon and gather some background information from Alaska Audubon.