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8th World Wilderness Congress Attracts 1,200 Delegates.

ANCHORAGE, Ala. -- The 8th World Wilderness Congress, the world's longest-running, public international environmental forum, kicked off friday morning. The Congress, held Sept. 30-Oct. 6 in Anchorage, Alaska, is the first international environmental gathering to include indigenous people and will provide current and exclusive information on balancing the need to protect the environment with a human need to utilize it.

"We offered some special incentives to get representatives from rural Alaska involved, and the response from delegates from around the world, especially Africa and Russia, has been even better than we hoped," said Vance Martin, president of the WILD Foundation, organizer of the Congress.

Approximately 1,200 delegates from 55 countries have registered to attend the conference, which has become a high-profile platform for acting on complex wilderness and wildlands issues.

The Congress will accept late registration each day of the conference. Several events are free and open to the general public.

8WWC Highlights

--Native Lands and Wilderness Council -- Native leaders from over 25 nations and many communities throughout the world to meet in the first council of its kind.

--Arctic Refuge -- Panel to debate opening the refuge to drilling and economic benefit versus keeping the refuge off limits to development.

--Russian Far East -- Vitaly Churkin of the Arctic Council to lead a Q&A panel discussing conservation in the Russian Far east. A delegation of 30 people from this region will attend the Congress.

--Speakers -- More than 50 high-profile speakers to participate in the 8WWC, including Kuki Gallmann, author of I Dreamed of Africa, which was made into a movie starring Kim Basinger.

--Conservation Photography -- More than 100 of the world's most well-known conservation photographers to gather at the Congress to share current conservation photography projects and to look at the profession's historical achievements.

--Conservation Writers -- A Conservation Writers Rendezvous includes readings and perspectives by writers and authors in the conservation field.

The theme for the 8th WWC is Wilderness, Wildlands and People: A Partnership for the Planet. It will generate the most up-to-date and accurate information on the benefits of wilderness and wildlands to contemporary and traditional societies and will review the best models for balancing wilderness and wildlands conservation with human needs.
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Date:Oct 2, 2005
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