A few weeks ago I started to document America`s Western Arctic. Coming fresh from Mexico I had a few days in Seattle and then Anchorage to aclimate to the north. The Western Arctic is a huge wilderness area that not very many people know about. For most people it is a “blank spot on the map” with very little visual reference. In the past years the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge (ANWR) has received a lot of attention, while the Western Arctic was forgotten about. During that time a lot of resource development projects went forward and oil leases were sold largely unnoticed. 

It is very hard for people to care for a place that they don’t know, let alone they cannot picture. As part of my FREEDOM TO ROAM PROJECT I want to change that. I want people to be able to visualize this incredibly precious landscape of the Western Arctic. This becomes increasingly important as natural resource exploiting industries are finding their way into those very remote places. Red Dog Mine is one of such examples. There are so few people living in those areas, that there is very little local opposition. Next to Red Dog, there are new major mining projects in the works including a strip coal mine accessing one of the largest coal reserves on the planet. Over 10% – some 4 trillion tons, of the worlds coal reserve is located there. 

If this project goes forward, it would not only be a climate disaster, but destroy one of the last true wilderness areas in America. It is a place that is home to to America`s biggest caribou herd: The Western Arctic Herd. Their annual migration route goes directly though the mining project areas. Last summer Emil and I worked extensively to document the Western Arctic Herd. It was one of the most memorable wilderness experiences of our lives. 

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Über Florian

Als professioneller Naturfotograf widmet sich Florian Schulz dem Schaffen von einzigartigen Naturaufnahmen. Seine Bilder werden in Magazinen wie National Geographic, BBC Wildlife und GEO veröffentlicht. Schulz stammt aus Süddeutschland und verbringt im Jahr durchschnittlich acht bis zehn Monate im Feld, um mit seinen Fotografieprojekten gesamte Ökosysteme zu dokumentieren.

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