Montana Public Radio

Alaska

Jeremy Pataky overwinters in Anchorage, Alaska, before spending early spring through late fall in McCarthy, Alaska. In this urban-rural migration, Jeremy maintains an impressive resume, publishing poems, essays, as well as Edible Alaska magazine. He also directs 49 Writers, a literary nonprofit in the 49th state. In this conversation, Jeremy addresses the nature of his ice-obsessed poetry, and what it means to listen to voices of the north, as we grapple with a rapidly changing and uncertain world.

The Refuge E5: Path Dependence

Jan 7, 2020
Vebjorn Reitan on the coastal plain of the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge
Nick Mott / Threshold

When the debate over drilling in the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge first emerged, most people had never heard of global warming. So over the last four decades, the controversies over oil in the Refuge and climate change evolved on different tracks.

The Refuge E4: Do It In A Good Way

Dec 22, 2019
Sarah James in Arctic Village, Alaska
Amy Martin / Threshold

The Gwich’in have lived and hunted in the Refuge long before it was carved out as federal, protected land. Their territory spans a huge swath of northeastern Alaska and northwestern Canada, and their health and culture depends on the Porcupine caribou herd - a group of animals 200,000 strong that calve on the area of the coastal plain slated for drilling.

The Refuge E3: Listen To The People

Dec 17, 2019
Polar bear outside Kaktovik, Alaska
Nick Mott/Threshold / Nick Mott/Threshold

We continue our reporting from Kaktovik, Alaska—the only town within the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge—to find out how the conflict over drilling for oil in the refuge feels to the people who live there. 

The Refuge E2: To Secure the Blessings of Liberty

Nov 20, 2019
Sign in Kaktovik, Alaska - the only town inside the boundaries of the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge
Nick Mott/Threshold

For 40 years, the fight over drilling for oil in the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge has been waged mostly from afar, in Washington, D.C. But what would oil development mean to the people who live closest to the proposed drilling area?

Threshold's The Refuge E1: Sibling Rivalry

Nov 12, 2019
A polar bear outside Kaktovik, Alaska - the only village within the boundaries of the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge.
Nick Mott / Threshold


The question for whether or not we should drill for oil in the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge is one of the most contentious public lands debates in the United States. Even though most Americans would have a hard time finding it on a map, just about everyone seems to have very intense feelings about oil exploration in the refuge.

Threshold S02 Episode Eight: Oil And Water

Nov 15, 2018
Bowhead whale bones in Utqiagvik, Alaska
Amy Martin

What happens when the thing you can't live without in the short term threatens your very existence in the long run? Meet two whalers in Utqiagvik, Alaska trying to answer that question.

Sunset over the seawall in Shishmaref, Alaska.
Nick Mott

Montana Public Radio is launching season two of Threshold, the podcast and radio show we sponsor that tackles one pressing environmental issue each season. Season one explored the story of the American bison and asked if and how we could ever have wild, free-roaming bison again.

"A lot of people would say a landscape is indifferent, or nature’s indifferent. A lot of people get the feeling that Southeast Alaska, the Inside Passage, if you get in it, if you get off that cruise ship—which is how most visitors see it—it’s menacing. It’s not just that it doesn’t care about you, it wants to eat you." -- Bjorn Dihle on the Inside Passage.

Mountaineers Books

Swallowed by the Great Land: And Other Dispatches From Alaska's Frontier is a collection of compelling Alaska stories from Seth Kantner, bestselling author of Ordinary Wolves.

When Seth Kantner's novel, Ordinary Wolves, was published 10 years ago, it was a literary revelation of sorts. In a raw, stylized voice it told the story of a white boy growing up with homesteading parents in Arctic Alaska and trying to reconcile his largely subsistence and Native-style upbringing with the expectations and realities tied to his race. It hit numerous bestseller lists, was critically acclaimed, and won a number of awards.

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