Weekend Watch: Welcome to Gwichyaa Zhee

Len Necefer's new film highlights the importance of protecting the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge.
Publish date:

The Arctic National Wildlife Refuge in Alaska is under threat. Certain members of Congress want to open it up to oil and gas development. Not only would the project harm the wildlife and sacred landscape, it would destroy the Gwich'in people's way of life.

Len Necefer, Navajo member, founder of Natives Outdoors, and former Department of Energy employee, connected with the Gwich'in to showcase just how vital the land is for providing a rich and bountiful existence for them and for all visitors to the Arctic. And he links their experience to the reduction of Bears Ears National Monument in Utah in the 12-minute film presented by filmmaker Greg Balkin, The Wilderness Society, and Patagonia

"There are 160 birds that nest in Arctic Refuge every year and they go to five different continents, so people in five different continents have connections to the refuge," Necefer says, in the hopes that audiences will understand the commonalities of these struggles, be inspired to stand with the Gwich'in, and consider how their backyards might one day be in jeopardy.

Currently, there's a bill in the U.S. House to protect the refuge. Bernadette Demientieff, one of the women in the film, testified in the House Natural Resources committee earlier this week, Necefer said.


Doug Peacock camping in Yellowstone National Park

Friend of the grizzly bears

Grizzly Country, directed by Ben Moon and presented by Peak Design, spotlights the life of Doug Peacock, a Vietnam War veteran, author, and eco-warrior. He spent years alone in Wyoming and Montana observing grizzly bears and reconciling humans' fear of them. His story and ...read more

Yugen film

Documentary: One with the mountains

Snowboard mountaineer and Zeal Optics Ambassador Rafael Pease grinned wide in front of a full theater in Golden, Colorado, where his film "Yūgen" was shown for the first time on Thursday. The full-length film captures three years of Pease's travels in Kyrgyzstan, Japan, Chile, ...read more

National Brotherhood of Skiers

Brotherhood of Skiing

In 1973, Art Clay and Ben Finley organized a gathering of African-American skiers in Aspen, Colorado. Nearly 50 years later, most of those skiers along with newbies to the organization are still congregating at resorts around the country to strap planks of wood to their feet, ...read more

Grand Canyon of the Yellowstone

Sincerely, the national parks

From outdated facilities to crumbling roads to well-traveled trails, many national parks are in need of facelifts with a total price tag of more than $11.6 billion. In order for generations to come to enjoy the parks' wonders and rejuvenating magic, that maintenance backlog must ...read more

Black and white photo of Brett Rheeder, pro mountain biker

Obsessed with mountain biking

This month, Bike Magazine released a 12-minute film about pro freeride mountain bike rider Brett Rheeder. It's more than just sick footie of the talented biker—the narration provides a thought-provoking story about the mindset and motivations of those who feel driven to pursue ...read more