We thank our partner-sponsors of OpenRoad with Doug McConnell, Kaiser Permanente , East Bay Regional Park District and Lake County, California for making the series possible.
-- Doug McConnell
WATCH THE EPISODE 108 VIDEO
As I've mentioned here and there on the television series and this website, I've had a long love affair with Alaska. I moved to Ketchikan in 1973 to help organize the local planning department and do a comprehensive and transportation plan for the community. In 1975, I moved to Anchorage and did many projects for the Governor's Office, the Alaska Humanities Forum, the University of Alaska, Alaska Public Television, the Capital Site Selection Committee and many others. When President Carter was in office, I commuted to Washington quite a bit for a variety of fascinating assignments, but my heart and my home remained in Alaska.
My wife and I our two dogs finally left Alaska in 1982 so that I could get back into television full time. We moved to Seattle and I went to work for legendary KING Television. At the end of 1983, we moved to the Bay Area to be closer to our families and raise our kids, but we never lost our affection for Alaska and we get back as often as possible. Since 2002, I've served on the board of the Alaska Conservation Foundation.
Driving the Dalton Highway was a treat, but one of the things I love most about Alaska is how few roads there really are. In the Lower 48 states, I don't think it's possible now to be more than 14 miles from a road. That may not be exactly right, but it's close. In Alaska, you can find yourself hundreds and hundreds of miles from the nearest roadway of any kind. In fact, from the northern reaches of the Dalton Highway....due east and west...the nearest roads of any magnitude are thousands of miles away. There are few places on earth where that can be said, and may it remain true for a long time to come.
For the Public Television broadcast, we had to leave out some other portions of our shoot along and near the Dalton Highway that I liked very much. But, you can find them here on OpenRoad.TV. The stories are in the column to the right. You can see the full lengths of our two stories about driving the Dalton Highway, and meet some other interesting people including Eric May, an old friend who lives in Europe and just happened to be in Coldfoot when we got there. He was working with a German television crew. Now what are the odds of that chance encounter? Actually, in Alaska, places like tiny Coldfoot become sort of Grand Central Stations. Stay there long enough and everybody will show up eventually.
And then, you can take a flight with us deep into the Brooks Range to visit the eskimo village of Anaktuvak Pass located in a stark, imposing and magnificently beautiful setting.
Alaska is a forceful place. It grabs hold, and doesn't easily let go. It requires respect and attention, and it can be deadly. It never lets you forget exactly where you are. You take it for granted at your peril. It heightens the senses. If you're willing to stay alert and attentive, Alaska is for you. It certainly is for me.