In late 2017, I traveled to Ketchikan, Alaska, to spend some time with the Forest Service. I was an official guest of the Voices of the Wilderness Artist Residency Program, a dynamic collaboration between professional creatives and U.S. forest rangers. My purpose: to spend a week paddling through Misty Fjords, a massive national park nestled into the Alaskan panhandle.
Things did not turn out as planned—but I still came away with a 46-minute audio documentary and an unforgettable experience in our northernmost state. I met wonderful people, enjoyed some pleasant surprises, and learned a great deal about the Forest Service and all the labor and love they dedicate to our wildest spaces.
I also learned a great deal about nonfiction podcasting—something I have yearned to do in earnest for some years—and although I would have now done many things differently, this is exactly the kind of production I would like to continue doing. “Airmail” is the working title for an ongoing series, produced in roughly this manner; and I am eternally grateful, to Aubrey and Sue and all the other folks I met up north, for giving me the motivation to create it.