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Author to Speak About Alaska’s Wilderness, Both Past and Present


WASHINGTON, June 28 -- As the Alaska Conservation Foundation prepares to celebrate the 25th anniversary of the Alaska National Interest Lands Conservation Act (ANILCA), Daniel Nelson, author of “Northern Landscapes: The Struggle for Wilderness Alaska,” plans to take his show on the road, sharing stories of ANILCA’s passage and its legacy across the state.

“ANILCA is as important to modern Alaska as oil, fish, or anything else,” Nelson explains. “It created the ecotourism industry, which, unlike oil, will endure, provided the Alaskans don’t wreck their natural heritage. In addition — and no less important — ANILCA transformed the meaning of public lands in the U.S. and raised the possibility of managing whole ecosystems for wildlife, recreation, and nature study, not resource exploitation.”

But the story of ANILCA, Nelson will emphasize, is not just a story of laws and wildlife.

“Alaskans played an essential role in the emergence of ANILCA,” he continues. “They provided much of the intellectual and political impetus, the expertise, and the proof that the effort to preserve wild Alaska wasn’t just some outsiders’ scheme.”

On each leg of the tour, Nelson will emphasize local personalities essential to the fight and will share anecdotes pertinent to the area.

Says Nelson, “ANILCA is, in essence, a morality tale: enlightened groups struggle to overcome the opposition of the political and economic establishment and enjoy occasional — but alas, often temporary — successes.”

Tour dates include:

-- Anchorage, Alaska, July 5 at 7:30 p.m.; Title Wave Books, 1360 West Northern Lights Blvd.; tel: 907-278-9283;

-- Anchorage, Alaska, July 6 and 7; Presence at ANILCA 25th anniversary conference, Anchorage Hilton;

-- Homer, Alaska, Saturday, July 9 at 7 p.m.; Islands & Ocean Visitors Center, 95 Sterling Highway; tel: 907-235-6961; ; This event is co-sponsored by the Islands & Oceans Visitors Center and the Homer Bookstore

-- Sitka, Alaska, Monday, July 11 at 7 p.m.; Pioneer Home Chapel, 120 Katlian Street; tel: 907-747-7509; ; This event is co-sponsored by the Sitka Conservation Society and Old Harbor Books

-- Juneau, Alaska, Tuesday, July 12 at 7 p.m.; Hearthside Books, 8745 Glacier Highway, Nugget Mall; Tel: 866-789-2750;

“Northern Landscapes” is an essential guide to Alaska’s recent past — including the story of ANILCA’s passage — and to contemporary local and national debates over the future of public lands and resources.

Daniel Nelson is a professor of history emeritus at the University of Akron, where his specialties included economic, labor, and environmental history. Dr. Nelson recently received the Alaska History Prize for the best 2004 article in the journal “Alaska History.” The article for which he won this prize touches on much of the material in Chapter 3 of “Northern Landscapes.” His publications include “Managers and Workers: Origins of the Twentieth Century Factory System”; “Frederick W. Taylor and the Rise of Scientific Management”; and “Shifting Fortunes: The Rise and Decline of American Labor from the 1820s to the Present,” as well as more than 50 articles.

“Northern Landscapes” is published by RFF Press, a division of Resources for the Future (RFF). RFF is an independent, nonprofit, nonpartisan think tank devoted to research and publishing about critical issues in environmental and natural resource policy. Views and opinions in RFF Press books are those of authors, editors, and other contributors and are not necessarily those of RFF or RFF Press.


EDITOR’S NOTE: To schedule an interview with Dr. Daniel Nelson either during his trip or prior to his arrival, please contact publicist Robin Pinnel at 202-213-7520 or


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