ANAKTUVUK PASS, ALASKA
Anaktuvuk Pass (AKP) is a small Alaskan village within the Gates of the Arctic National Park and Reserve. It is located above the Arctic Circle in the Brooks Range, 250 miles northwest of Fairbanks, AK. Anaktuvuk is a land of extremes, with winter temperatures plummeting to 50 degrees below zero and summers averaging 60 degrees.
AKP lies on the historic caribou migration route. The human population has fluctuated over the years, with the original nomadic Nunamiut people scattering in the early 1900's when the caribou population collapsed. The return of the caribou in the 1940's brought the Nunamiut back. Today, 324 people live in AKP - the last remaining settlement of the Nunamiut.
11 day self-supported ski expedition along the Anaktuvuk River to the Gates of the Arctic, Along the base of the Brooks Range Mountains
In April 2018, founder and elementary school teacher Michaela Precourt led a group of educators and adventurers on an expedition around Anaktuvuk Pass - a small, nomadic village within the Gates of the Arctic National Park that has relied on the historic caribou migration to support their way of life. This expedition was the focal point to explore the area, which is under threat of development for access to the region's natural resources- part of a larger ongoing pattern throughout the Arctic and federally protected areas in the US.
We spent time learning about life in the North Slope, and saw the stark contrast between life in Anaktuvuk Pass and in the Methow Valley of Washington State. Expedition members retraced part of the historic caribou migration path on skis, in order to gain a better understanding of what is at stake.
Ultimately, we came to learn that despite the obvious differences between the two places, our worlds are highly dependent on one another.