More with the Trust

More with the Trust

I have been photographing some more properties around Anchorage lately for the Great Land Trust.  (Click here for a previous post on the Trust.)  Actually, I photographed one of the properties, located in the Chugach foothills on the edge of Chugach State Park, right before I went down to Colorado for two weeks to work as the Artist-in-Residence for Rocky Mountain National Park.  It was during a rather smoky period of the summer for Anchorage, where the winds and pressures were just right to bring thick smoke from nearby fires into town for several days.  It made for some interesting photography and, fortunately did not interfere with my capturing the beauty of the location.  The Trust is working on getting some grants to finalize the purchase of this property so that the area can become a new public access point to the Park.

Last week, before I went up to Denali, I photographed a couple more properties that have already been purchased by or gifted to the Trust.  One, officially called Tanglewood Park, is near the frontage road along the Seward Highway.  It is primarily a wetlands and is a vast habitat for a diverse number of plant species that use wetlands to survive, as well as   great moose habitat.  Once on the property it is easy to lose sight of the civilization that surround the lot.

For the other, I photographed the Helen Louise McDowell Sanctuary between 36th and Tudor near the Seward Highway.  Decades ago, when housing subdivisions were being developed, the developers used this particular plot of land to store all of the soil that were removed for housing construction.  Essentially, the lot became a gravel and dirt fill area.  Now, it is a lush, forested area with some wetlands that is starting to develop its own character as a potentially thriving habitat for various waterfowl and other birds.  The Trust is in the process of completing a trail system, including some boardwalks, that will provide a sanctuary for those who want to escape for a peaceful walk through a wooded area smack dab in the middle of developments and commercial areas.

It is sanctuaries and parks like these places secured by the Trust that help Anchorage to stand apart from other larger cities as a special place.  There are so many wild and untamed places within the city that provide its residents the sort of wild lands that people on the East Coast have to drive hours to see.  I can only imagine that as Anchorage grows, the pressure to develop the greenbelts and untamed lands will become stronger and stronger.  This is why I have teamed up with the Great Land Trust to help them in preserving these lands.  It is also why I have started a book project to photograph the wild coastal areas, waterways, woods and mountain areas within the Anchorage bowl, ala Galen Rowell’s “Bay Area Wild” and the Blacklocks’ “Duluth Portfolio.”  Because it is important to keep such places — their intrinsic value simply cannot and should not be measured by the dollar.

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