Last weekend, my husband and I went to Talkeetna for the celebration of the 100th anniversary of the Belmore Browne Expedition to Denali (Mt. McKinley). The Northern Susitna Insititute (http://northernsusitnainstitute.org/) hosted several events throughout the day, including talks on Belmore Browne’s art and the 1912 expedition.
I was very impressed with Belmore Browne’s accomplishments. He was truly a Renaissance man, known for his three attempts to climb Denali (pioneering climbing techniques and routes but not reaching the summit), his distinguished art career, and his integral work in establishing Mt. McKinley National Park. I was most interested in his work on the Park because it’s part of the plot of my current work-in-progress. He used his contacts with conservation groups and the other areas of his life to build support for the Park proposal, and spoke at the Senate Committee on Territories hearing in 1916. His work (plus that of others like Charles Sheldon and James Wickersham) made the idea a reality. I’m grateful for people like him who helped make Alaska what it is today.