Celebrating Wild: Alaska Wilderness Stories

Press Release: Alaska Wilderness Stories Hit the Airways in Celebration of the 50th Anniversary of the Wilderness Act

August 28, 2014 (Anchorage, AK) September 3rd, 2014, marks the 50th Anniversary of the Wilderness Act, resulting in the designation of nearly 60 million acres of Wilderness and Wilderness Study Areas across Alaska. In celebration, Alaska Geographic, the congressionally-designated nonprofit partner to Alaska’s public lands, is proud to announce the completion of “Alaska Wilderness Stories”, a very special audio series documenting the unique interpretation of Wilderness in Alaska.

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The 1964 Wilderness Act defines Wilderness as an area where “man himself is a visitor who does not remain”. In Alaska, where people have long been integral to the land, the Act necessarily includes special provisions for the 49th state. This four-part audio series celebrates  the unique relationship of Alaskans and Wilderness through different voices and perspectives, woven into fully-produced stories that begin at 2pm and 9pm, Monday, September 1st on APRN. It is created by award winning producer Jessica Cochran from Kids These Days on KSKA and hosted by Gabriel Spitzer, former host of AK on APRN. The series continues Thursday, September 4th, at 2pm and 9pm.

The series, along with six youth-produced audio stories, is available for listening on Alaska Geographic’s website at http://wilderness50.alaskageographic.org.

The series focus on the diverse interpretations and use of Wilderness in Alaska, including how local economies and subsistence use patterns are affected by regulations associated with wilderness designations, the surprising ways that people working on opposite sides of political disputes concerning Wilderness find common ground, and the constraints involved in conducting scientific research in Wilderness.

In addition to “Alaska Wilderness Stories”, youth media producers Reid Magdanz, Nikki Navio, and Aviva Hirsh traveled the state to report from traditional fish camps, villages, small towns, and national wildlife refuges, parks, and forests to learn about the evolving relationship between local community and Wilderness. Their stories are featured in the broadcast, and collected on the website.

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“Alaska Wilderness Stories” is a co-production of Content Producers Guild and Alaska Geographic. Funding support comes from the National Park Service, the US Forest Service, Northern Alaska Environmental Center, UAF, and Wesleyan University.

The youth-produced portion of “Alaska Wilderness Stories” is also made possible by the Alaska Broadcasters Association, Alaska Geographic, Alaska Teen Media Institute,  Alaska Wilderness League, Audubon Alaska, Chugach National Forest, the Content Producers Guild, KUAC Fairbanks, the National Park Service, the Northern Alaska Environmental Center, Wesleyan University College of the Environment, and University of Alaska Fairbanks Undergraduate Research.