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Chuck Miller in episode 16 of the 14 Miles project. Courtesy 14 Miles. Despite how they might be labeled, people living in rural America lead complex lives and develop dynamic communities. The documentary project 14 Miles is a series of short three- to five-minute videos that aim to shine a light on some overlooked stories in the remote community of Sitka, which takes up a roughly 14-mile stretch of land in Southeast. The 37 videos in the project’s library include a profile of a young woman’s past trauma, a behind-the-scenes look at the town thrift store, and a snapshot of community gatherings. “It’s about what we celebrate and care about living in a small Alaska community, but it’s also about the challenges,” says Ellen Frankenstein, who led the project. The episodes are available on 14miles.org and through video streaming platforms including Vimeo and YouTube.

Communication is Key I grew up in the Lower 48, and over the last decade, I’ve come to realize the differences between people who live in Alaska versus those who don’t. My clients, who I take on Alaska tours, also note these distinctions and point them out—usually with amusement, and other times with shock akin to having entered a foreign country with a different language and culture. Of course, these are generalizations—but indulge me for my years on the ground in the north and attempts at self-deprecating humor. One of the first things you need to know about Alaskans is that they prefer to communicate by phone or in person. Many businesses don’t publish their email address for correspondence, not even a general one or automated form. Because I have social anxiety and will always choose to write rather than call or meet in person, I have spent hours searching…

Caretaking a lodge in winter brings challenges and joy All images taken by Fredrik Norrsell On September 30th my husband, Fredrik, and I sailed into Baranof to spend a winter in Warm Springs Bay. There is no road, or scheduled air service, to Baranof. Nearly everyone arrives by boat. However, few people arrive in a 17-foot open boat without a motor. After an entire summer of rowing and sailing around southeast Alaska, we had been on the water since 6 a.m. A hurricane-force low was predicted to make landfall by evening. We were anxious to get “home.” USA, Alaska, Chatham Strait, Warm Springs Bay. Sailing into Warm Springs Bay at the end of the trip. As we entered the bay, beams of sunlight streamed through the clouds. Baranof Wilderness Lodge, where we would be caretakers for the next seven months, came into view. That night, 70-mile-an-hour winds rocked the dock.…

Carnivore Confessions I tried to be a vegetarian once. I reasoned that if I couldn’t kill an animal myself, then I had no business allowing someone else to do it. The problem was that I hated vegetables (still do). Without meat or leafy greens, my diet consisted of cheese pizza, beer, and boxes of glazed donuts, much like it had in college. But I’m not in college. I’m a grown-ass woman who knows better. I lasted four months. But it did force me to examine my views on hunting. I grew up in Texas, surrounded by deer leases and guns. Over time, I heard every rationale for taking the life of an animal. I hunt because I love animals. My hunting license goes toward preserving wildlife. We use every part of the animal. Nothing goes to waste. It’s a tradition and bonding experience. Hunting is a valuable outdoor skill. I…