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Susan Will, Part 2
Susan Will

This is the continuation of an interview with Susan "Sue" Will on November 20, 2006 by Marie Mitchell at Sue's office at the Bureau of Land Management in Fairbanks, Alaska. In this second part of a two part interview, Sue talks about the maintenance of the Haul Road, the expensive of paving it, the use of the road by the public and truckers, and the effects of climate change in the region and on the road. She also talks more about being one of the first female archeologists on the Haul Road and Trans-Alaska Pipeline (TAPS) project.

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Digital Asset Information

Archive #: Oral History 2006-28-06_PT.2

Project: Dalton Highway Project Jukebox
Date of Interview: Nov 20, 2006
Narrator(s): Susan "Sue" Will
Interviewer(s): Marie Mitchell
Location of Interview:
Funding Partners:
National Park Service
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1) Continued road development

2) Expense of paving the Haul Road

3) Extreme conditions in the Haul Road corridor, and environmental changes

4) Maintaining the Haul Road

5) Public access and tourism on the Haul Road

6) Being one of the first female archeologists on the Haul Road project

7) Love of Alaska

8) Gas line development, and maintaining Alaska wilderness

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Section 1: Haul Road\ public access\ road\ economics\ roads -- expansion\ development\ development -- minerals\ development -- oil\ remote conditions\ logistics -- difficult\ gas line\ change\ Chandalar -- road to\ access -- State of Alaska\ Coldfoot\ road -- impact of\ legislative support\ mining -- private property\ mining -- gold|

Section 2: Haul Road\ road -- paving\ expensive\ road -- maintenance\ gas line -- development of\ gravel -- source of\ Sagvarniktok River\ road -- impact of\ road -- use of\ tourism\ trucks\ trucks -- hauling material\ Prudhoe Bay\ economics|

Section 3: Haul Road\ climate -- effect of\ climate -- extreme\ climate -- Arctic\ road -- remote\ temperature\ climate change\ environmental change\ summer\ winter\ mosquitoes\ permafrost -- thawing of\ thaw cycles\ vegetation change\ ecosystems\ natural cycles\ caribou\ lichen\ fire\ fire -- impact of\ environmental connections\ border|

Section 4: The Haul Road is expensive to maintain. The road is currently not paved, and the question remains about where the money will come from to justify paving it. The Haul Road is too expensive to pave and maintain. There are only two places for fuel (along the Haul Road). The Haul Road is mainly a trucking route that was built for truckers. Any safety improvements along the road should be for the truckers.
Haul Road -- maintenance\ expensive\ conditions of\ road services -- limited\ Haul Road -- for hauling\ trucking route\ paving -- disagrees with\ funding -- for safety improvements|

Section 5: Statistics from the Arctic Interagency Visitor Center show that tour buses in the Coldfoot area are up 12%, while independent travelers were down. Yet, the results also show that there are more children traveling with families. Increased gas prices may be affecting independent travelers. The Haul Road is for trucking. The Dalton Highway is a Haul Road.
statistics -- Arctic Interagency Visitor Center\ tour buses -- increased\ independent travelers -- decreased\ fuel prices -- effects of\ Haul Road -- trucking\ Dalton Highway -- haul road|

Section 6: She and Ruth Croxton were the first women to work anywhere along the Haul Road - TAPS (they worked as field archeologists). There were intense times during the pipeline construction. TAPS was a large-scale construction project, with a lot of money and resources, and condensed into a few years. The Haul Road was a small part in the whole (TAPS) project. As females in the archeology field, we had access to many areas. We had air travel. We were not stationed in one location. More women were hired as the project progressed.
TAPS -- recruitment\ women -- not recruited\ TAPS archeology -- first recruitment of women\ Will, Sue\ Croxton, Ruth\ TAPS -- large-scale construction project\ budget -- substantial\ natural resources -- location of\ extreme frontier\ timeline -- short\ Haul Road -- (TAPS) project\ archeologists -- mobile\ exploratory|

Section 7: Sue would like to see more of Alaska. Alaska is magical. Since 1973, she has been in Alaska without much travel. She likes the cold, the low population. She still has an outhouse (common in Alaska). She likes the sounds that a dog team makes across the snow. Sue is curious how future generations will impact Alaska in the decisions they make -- particularly future land and resource managers, politicians, and bureaucrats.
Alaska -- impression of\ appreciation of\ winter -- enjoys\ outhouse -- facilities\ dog mushing -- sounds\ future -- impact of\ policies\ land management|

Section 8: The gas line project may open the Haul Road for more people, and increase commercialization. She wonders what land is really considered the last frontier - land that is without the traces of human contact. She feels the area along the Haul Road is more like the Black River area, which is still remote (northeastern Alaska) and managed by BLM. This area is probably the last frontier. Youth in Fairbanks do not realize how close they are to the last frontier and wilderness. There are no fences in Alaska. In the Lower-48, there are fences and barbed wire that block your path. In Alaska, you can drive or dog mush for a long way and not come across a fence. Even along the Haul Road, it is still very remote - and still phenomenal. You can get yourself lost just 10 miles out of Fairbanks, which cannot be done in the Lower-48. Sue hopes the remoteness lasts for a while in Alaska.
gas line project -- Haul Road corridor\ opinion of\ commercialization -- increase\ last frontier -- description of\ Black River -- comparison\ BLM managed\ last frontier\ youth -- unaware\ wilderness\ Lower-48 -- boundaries\ Alaska -- remote\ boundaries -- lack of\ remoteness -- beauty of|