Oliktok Point, Beaufort Sea

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Oliktok Point, Beaufort Sea

by | Jan 11, 2020

Oliktok Point is the eastern point of the entrance to Harrison Bay on the Beaufort Sea, about 16 miles (26 km) west of Beechey Point, 35 miles (56 km) northeast of Nuiqsut, and 35 miles (56 km) northwest of Prudhoe Bay, Alaska. The Iñupiaq name was first reported by Lieutenant W.J.S. Pullen, of the Royal Navy, as “Olikto”, meaning “it shakes or trembles”.

A system of radar stations called the North Warning System is a joint United States and Canadian early warning network for the atmospheric air defense of North America. It provides surveillance of airspace from potential incursions or attacks from across North America’s polar region. It replaced the Distant Early Warning Line system in the late 1980s. There are now 11 stations in Canada and 4 in Alaska.

The Distant Early Warning site at Oliktok Point was built in 1957 and was operated by civilian contract workers. The radar station was upgraded in 1990 as part of the North Warning System. In 1998 Pacific Air Forces initiated “Operation Clean Sweep”, in which abandoned Cold War stations in Alaska were remediated and the land restored to its previous state. The Oliktok site remains active and is manned by civilian contractors for periodic maintenance, and accessed by road from Deadhorse. Read more here and here. Explore more of Oliktok Point here:

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