In 2013, I bushwhacked 1,000 miles across the state of Alaska through the Arctic Brooks Range. During the journey, I began hearing about a project to build a road from the Dalton Highway to the village of Ambler. The road would cut across hundreds of miles of untouched tundra, wetlands, rivers and even Gates of the Arctic National Park and Preserve. The road is being built to facilitate an open pit copper mine in an area that drains into the great Kobuk River.
The road would pass by seven villages and impact many more downstream, all of whom depend on the health of the land for survival. The proposed road also falls along a crucial corridor for the Western Arctic Caribou herd and threatens the subsistence lifestyle in one of its last strongholds.
Jamie Dittmar is a dog musher, filmmaker, photographer and graduate student living in the Alaska Range. She has been sled dog racing and traveling in the villages of the Interior for the last five years while directing her work to protect northern lands and livelihoods.
James 'Q' Martin grew up fishing and exploring the remote regions of Alaska. He is an award-winning photographer and filmmaker. He documents stories that address environmental issues facing communities throughout the world.
Tom Attwater is a photographer and filmmaker living in Missoula, Montana where he received his BFA in Digital Video Production from the University of Montana. When he's not behind a camera, he spends his time working as a river guide and backcountry instructor.
Lane Brown is a cinematographer from Missoula, Montana where he received his BFA in Digital Video Production from the University of Montana. His specialties include filming with a drone.
Over the summer of 2016, I joined a crew of four experienced filmmakers to travel a 350-mile route by packraft to visit the villages that would be affected by the proposed project. The filmmakers used their combined talents to produce a short film called Paving Tundra. The goal is to bring awareness to the development of the road to Ambler. The project is committed to capturing the authentic voice and accurate concerns of local communities especially from the villages of Allakaket/ Alatna, Bettles/Evansville, Shungnak, Kobuk, and Ambler. These cultural and personal perspectives are critically necessary for the decision-making process of road construction.