2014: Celebrating the 5oth Anniversary of the Wilderness Act, Alaska-Style

Alaska Wilderness Logo 


Reporting from the Wild

Welcome to the Home Page for Alaska Wilderness Stories, an audio celebration of Alaska’s protected Wilderness lands.

The Wilderness Act of 1964 defines Wilderness as an area where "man himself is a visitor who does not remain". In Alaska, people have long been integral to the land and the Act necessarily includes special provisions to include the communities who live, work, and play in these special places. 

This unique relationship of Alaskans and Wilderness is told in "Alaska Wilderness Stories", a four-part audio series created by award winning producer Jessica Cochran and hosted by Gabriel Spitzer. 

Click the images below to listen to 1) Alaska Wilderness Stories, 2) Youth-produced Stories, and 3) Special Web Extras!

Alaska Wilderness Stories:


Understanding Alaska's unique interpretation of Wilderness means listening to a variety of voices. In this series, we investigate the history of the Act itself, and meet the incredible diversity of users of Alaska's wildest places. Image: USFWS

   Youth-produced Stories: 

Aviva and Nikki

 Aviva Hirsh and Nikki Navio travel the state to discover what wilderness means to the people living closest to it.

Special Web Extras:


  Listen to in-depth stories featuring Denali Whiting on the importance of protected areas to subsistence, Roger Siglin on his experiences with subsistence use levels in Gates of the Arctic NP&P, and Lake Clark NP&P’s Night Sky project.


Alaska Wilderness Stories is a co-production of Content Producers Guild and Alaska Geographic, whose mission is to connect people with Alaska’s wild places. Funding support comes from the National Park Service, Northern Alaska Environmental Center, University of Alaska Fairbanks, the USDA Forest Service, and Wesleyan University.


What Else Has Been Going On With Wilderness This Year?

kayaker in Nellie Juan

The Wilderness Explorers Boat Cruise

Saturday, May 24, 2014

Youth from the Chugach Children's Forest Youth Leadership Team, representatives from the US Forest Service and a wide variety of other partners spent a very special day together on a boat tour to Harriman Fiord in the Nellie Juan-College Fiord Wilderness Study Area of the Chugach National Forest in celebration of the 1964 Wilderness Act. Click HERE for a great story about this fantastic day!  


Wilderness Filmfest comes to Beartooth Theatrepub

The Chugach National Forest and Alaska Geographic partnered with Beartooth Theatrepub to present three award-winning films (Click HERE for film details) in celebration of the 50th Anniversry of the Wilderness Act on Monday, April 21st. Thanks to all who came out to make this a wonderful community event! 

  What the Wilderness Act Means in Alaska

President Johnson signing wilderness actIn the Rose Garden on September 3, 1964, President Lyndon B. Johnson handed a pen to Alaskan Mardy Murie, widow of Ohaus Murie--both long-time advocates for Alaska’s wilderness places. She signed her name next to his, and the Wilderness Act was born.

Click here for the rest of the story! 



Celebrating the 50th with Art!

-- Voices of the Wilderness reach towns across Alaska

Surprise Glacier 

Our public lands partners invited artists from around the world and from every discipline to live, work, and play in the wilderness. The gorgeous pieces are on display during 2014 in a traveling exhibit.

Click here for dates and more pics!


Image: Surprise Glacier, Chugach National Forest - Kathy Hodge, Artist-in-Residence, 2013 Nellie Juan - College Fiord Wilderness Study Area 

  Youth-Produced Media Celebrates Alaska's Diverse Wilderness

Nikkin interviewing in ANWR

Former Chugach Children's Forest Media intern Aviva Hirsch and Nikki Navio traveled the state to discover what wilderness means to the people living closest to it.

Click here to listen to their adventures 

Meet some of our favorite Wilderness Areas:

Kenai National Wildlife Refuge Wilderness Area gets an A for Accessibility

kenai wilderness

One of the most accessible of Alaska's wilderness areas lies on the road system just a few hours south of Anchorage. Reflections - Kenai guide Over half of the Kenai NWR - more than one million acres - is designated wilderness, and features ancient glaciers, nine rivers, extensive forests, and hundreds of lakes connected by a system of canoe trails – many open to fly-in fishing. There are three Wilderness Units on the Refuge: Dave Spencer Unit which includes the Swanson

Kenai wilderness map

 River and Swan Lake National Recreation Canoe Trails; the Mystery Creek Unit to the north of the Sterling Highway and the Andrew Simons Unit south of Skilak Lake.It's boundaries overlap three public lands: Kenai Fjords National Park, the Chugach National Forest, and the Kenai NWR. Click on our Reflections guide to learn how to access this beautiful place! And click on the map to get a close-up look at Wilderness area boundaries...