Women in the Wilderness: Exploring West Chichagof-Yakobi


It’s our job to advocate to people who maybe won’t ever visit the Tongass or West Chichagof. It’s amazing to be here and see it and know exactly what I’m advocating for. But more importantly to me, it’s about being able to effectively translate that to someone who won’t be here.” -Esther Kennedy

SCS spent thirteen years advocating for establishment of West Chichagof-Yakobi Wilderness, located in southeast Alaska. During this time, SCS’s founding members led trips into the wilderness in hopes of passing on their love for the natural environment of the Chichagof coast and the Tongass’s temperate rainforest. Today, SCS continues to foster relationships with the lands, waters, and environment of the Tongass National Forest by helping people connect with the wilderness through video documentaries, photography, writings, and wilderness excursions.

In June, 2015, six women from SCS set out on SCS’s first all-women’s wilderness expedition to retrace routes traveled by SCS pioneers in West Chichagof-Yakobi. While kayaking, they explored both their individual relationships with the land and their roles as women working in conservation. The video highlights the women’s reflections and the connections they made in the West-Chichagof Wilderness.

This video was made by Lione Clare, SCS intern and US Forest Service wilderness steward. Lione’s work this summer involves more trips into the wilderness areas around Sitka to monitor usage. She takes photographs for SCS social media outreach and also makes short videos. Themes of her work so far involve science and education, salmon stream restoration, public lands, and capturing the general beauty of the Tongass. Lione was born and raised in Sitka and is currently studying conservation in college. She cares about the future of Alaska, and enjoys coming home in the summers to apply what she has learned in the Tongass.    

A special thank you to the Living Wilderness Fund for supporting this trip and video.

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