USA  2021

Director : Jayme Dittmar
Photography : Tom Attwater
Producers : Sheila Smithson, James Q.Martin, Kristin Gates – North Exposure Studios, Q Media

Duration: 28 min. 

The Brooks Range is North America’s most rugged wilderness and one of Earth’s largest roadless areas. In 2013, the State of Alaska proposed building a 225-mile industrial access road to facilitate the construction of an open-copper pit mine near the village of Ambler. This would be the largest road construction project in Alaska since the development of the Dalton Highway in 1974.

The Ambler Road would parallel five subsistence communities, cross 161 rivers and streams (two of them designated Wild and Scenic Rivers) and pass through Gates of the Arctic National Park and Preserve. The Ambler Mining District and proposed road serves as habitat for salmon and whitefish, as well as a crucial migration corridor for Alaska’s largest caribou herd, the Western Arctic. Eleven Village councils have passed resolutions against the road’s development.

In 2016 we traveled 350 miles along road corridor into the Brooks Range to question the meaning of progress and ask what may be lost if the tundra is paved to Ambler.