Before the Alaska National Interest Lands Conservation Act (ANILCA) created Gates of the Arctic National Park and Preserve (GAAR), the likelihood of rich mineral deposits in the Ambler Mining District, to the west of the park, had already been identified. Congress, in considering the establishment of GAAR, recognized that a transportation corridor to the Ambler Mining District might become desirable, and might connect with the Dalton Highway to the east of the Park. The upper Kobuk River area was included in Gates of the Arctic National Park as a Preserve. However, Congress made allowances for a transportation corridor across the new preserve in order to provide access for future development of mineral resources in the Ambler area.
Ambler Mining District Access Road & Right-of-Way