The golden anniversary of the Wilderness Act was well celebrated at the opening of the “Voices of the Wilderness” traveling exhibit that opened October 3rd at the Kenai Visitors & Cultural Center (KVCC.) Kenai National Wildlife Refuge (KNWR) manager Any Loranger welcomed guest artists and families to the event, “The wilderness act represents permanent protection for some of our nation’s wildest places which ultimately led to the designation of the Kenai Wilderness within the KNWF. Within the exhibit itself there is some unbelievable work by wilderness photographers like Tom and Mary Collopy with images that many local folks will recognize from the Kenai Wilderness. Additionally we have works by artists in residence who have spent time within some of Alaska’s most iconic and beautiful remote wilderness areas. There are photographs as well as paintings and a wide variety of media on display at the exhibit. Something not to be missed are the works of students led by Michelle Ostrowski our KNWR environmental education specialist and PEEPS program. It’s amazing to see the work these kids did and to read their essays about wilderness. The kids captured the essence of wilderness and of course there is no greater honesty than that of a child and what they put on paper and in their images that is on display here is absolutely wonderful,” he said.
Photographer Tom Collopy speaking about the Wilderness Act said, “The big thing is not to take this place we have here for granted. Those of us who came here from the lower 48 realize that what we have here is special and it motivates me and people like me make sure we don’t repeat here the mistakes that were made out there. The images Mary and I brought here are from the Kenai Refuge and are evocative images that cause people to grasp the importance of wilderness in their lives. It’s an ongoing effort and great challenge that requires a lot of time outdoors and from a couple of months or years may come one or two of those images. To translate into a one inch square sensor the feeling a sense of what it’s like to be out in a wild pristine place.” Only half of the Voices of the Wilderness show is displayed at the Kenai exhibit the other half is at the Islands & Oceans Visitors Center and like the Kenai show will be open for public viewing through October 25th.