Prudhoe Bay in Alaska is the census-designated place, and is located in the North Slope Borough. The population of town is found to be around 2,174 people but the workers also come to work in the oil field in Prudhoe Bay. The lodging, airport and other facilities are situated at Deadhorse whereas the processing facilities and the gravel pads are located atop in the Tundra region. It is an unofficial terminal of the Pan-American Highway in the northern region, and tourists visiting this area arrive through a bus ride that takes around two days. Prudhoe Bay also houses one of the largest oil fields of North America, which approximately runs from 15 to 40 miles in area. The oil field is known to produce 15 billion barrels of the crude oil until the present times.
The name Prudhoe Bay was kept by Sir John Franklin, who was a British Explorer and named it in the year 1826. The name was given after his classmate named Captain Algernon Percy and Baron Prudhoe. Sir Franklin is said to have traveled along the coastline from the Mackenzie River to the Point Barrow. The area was first surveyed in the year 1920 by the U.S. Geographical Survey to look for the petroleum reserve in the area. In the 1960s, many private companies came into the area to look out for the oil reserves but due to the stressing temperature, the area was left. But in the year 1969, British Petroleum (BP) said it discovered the oil from its Put River in the Prudhoe Bay. From past 25 years, the oil production from the area supported 25% of the domestic production of America. The Trans-Alaska Pipeline System has supplied more than its capacity from the oilfield in the area since 1977.
Tourists also visit the area to see Tundra, Midnight Sun and the Arctic Ocean by a two-day bus ride from the Dalton Highway located in Fairbanks to the Prudhoe Bay. Tours are booked in advance for viewing the natural wonders of the Arctic Ocean and Prudhoe Bay, and they live in the lodgings made out of modular buildings. The area is known for its scenic beauty, recreational opportunities and the wildlife. There are many exciting places that the tourists can visit like the Arctic Circle, which is a main photographic point, Yukon River, Atigun Pass in the Brooks Range, the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge, and the Arctic National Park and Preserve.
Habitat and Biodiversity
The animals found in the Prudhoe Bay region are the Arctic foxes, caribou, brown grizzly bears, red fox, polar bears, grizzly sow, ringed seals, bowhead whales, and the musk oxen (pictured). The birds seen in the area include geese, waterfowl, and ravens.
Environmental Threats and Territorial Disputes
The threats which the area is facing are that the oil fields and the Trans-Alaska Pipeline cause toxic and oil spills in the area, which is polluting the environment. The oil spill is dangerous for many animals like ringed seals and bowhead whales, as the areas are difficult to clean up and there are nearly 100 sites which are contaminated.