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Letter: A road through wilderness not the answer to King Cove woes

I trust that Interior Secretary Ken Salazar will consider all factors when he meets with King Cove residents on Feb. 28. The biological value of Izembek Refuge should not be sacrificed for a road that is senseless.

Taxpayers spent $37.5 million to upgrade King Cove’s medical clinic, improve their runway, and purchase a hovercraft, which the Aleutians East Borough claims is too expensive to operate. Who would pay costs to maintain a 40-mile road where “notorious strong winds whip off the Pacific?”  State crews are challenged to keep the “all weather” two-mile runway at Cold Bay clear of snow.

I lived in Cold Bay and on several occasions waited in Anchorage while flights to Cold Bay were canceled. Two Cold Bay residents died awaiting life flights to Anchorage. Getting to Cold Bay does not guarantee access to advanced medical care, even if 40 miles of snowdrifts could be cleared in an emergency.  Hundreds of Alaska communities experience harsh weather and lack access to medical care. Should we build roads to all?

— Terri Mach