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    Harpers Ferry Center

Two Remote Parks Now Accessible Through Film

Pulitzer Prize-winning writer N. Scott Momaday gazes into the camera wearing eyeglasses, a grey cowboy hat and a bright blue shirt.
N. Scott Momaday
Through awe-inspiring cinematography, "Katmai: Alaska's Wild Peninsula" captures two of the National Park Service's least visited parks with a new 26 minute audiovisual production.

The Alaska Peninsula is a cloud-cloaked land of steaming volcanoes, rolling tundra and the greatest concentration of the largest bears on earth. The writings of the scientist Loren Eiseley inspire this filmic essay on a landscape where bears outnumber people and the sockeye salmon run is the most prolific in the world. At the base of the peninsula lies Katmai National Park, a wilderness larger than Yellowstone and Yosemite combined. Farther down the peninsula a giant volcanic caldera emerges on the horizon, so remote that more people climb Everest than visit Aniakchak. Alaska is warming at more than twice the rate of the rest of the planet; "Katmai: Alaska's Wild Peninsula" asks how anthropogenic climate change effects will impact this magnificent land of wilderness and wildlife.

Watch the Video

(click here for audio-described version):

The film is narrated by poet, painter and scholar N. Scott Momaday, the first Native American to win the Pulitzer Prize for literature. Momaday has a long affiliation with Alaska and has written extensively about landscape, wilderness and the natural world. The brown bear is an important totemic figure for many native cultures and for Momaday personally. In his book In the Bear's House, a collection of poems and essays that explore the iconic role that Bear plays in the indigenous cultures, Momaday writes: "Something in me hungers for wild mountains and rivers and plains. There are people in the world who would not wish to be in the world, were not Bear there as well. These are people who understand that there is no wilderness without him. Bear is the keeper and manifestation of wilderness. As it recedes, he recedes. As its edges are trampled and burned, so is the sacred matter of his heart diminished."

The film has received several awards and recognitions, including: nationally broadcast as a PBS prime time special, reaching more than a million viewers in its first broadcast; winning the Student Jury Award at the 2013 Sondrio Festival on Parks and Protected Areas; and the Audience Choice Award at the 2013 American Conservation Film Festival.

A large, chocolate-brown bear splashes through a stream, chasing sockeye salmon.

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