Alaska Geographic's Newest Publication: The Land We Share
Hunting is an age-old tradition that has been an integral part of human history, connecting people to the land and the natural world. The public lands that we Alaskans enjoy provide space for many soul-nourishing outdoor activities, such as hiking, climbing, canoeing, and kayaking. Moreover, these places also play a vital role in supporting the hunting tradition. In fact, many of our public lands were specifically set aside to provide refuge for healthy, harvestable populations of game animals.
Welcome to The Land We Share, where relationships and connections are forged through experiencing the migration of caribou, the winged movement of waterfowl, and misty mornings in the field. Here the too-short lives of good dogs intersect those of the people with whom they hunt for elusive birds and inspiration in the wild public lands of Alaska and the Dakotas.
In partnership with the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, National Park Service, and Bureau of Land Management, Alaska Geographic has published a remarkable collection of over 60 outdoor essays called The Land We Share. These essays are written by Steve Meyer, a lifelong hunter, and Christine Cunningham, a lifelong Alaskan who embraced hunting later in life. Accompanied by a family of bird dogs, the two authors delve into how hunting on public lands nurtures the human spirit, sustains physical health, and deepens appreciation for the natural world. Although most stories are set in Alaska and the Dakotas, their messages and themes resonate across the nation, appealing to both hunting advocates and those with a profound connection to the outdoors.
The 61 short stories about a large family of bird dogs take place in beautiful settings with a resonant core of day-to-day appreciation for the natural world that nurtures the spirit, sustains health, and connects us to the land we share. We’re proud of this collaboration with Steve and Christine, and our public land agency partners.
Alaska Geographic Agency Partner Perspective on The Land We Share:
Bureau of Land Management
The Land We Share, the Alaska Bureau of Land Management Perspective:
I read “The Land We Share” while on a trip to Wisconsin while waiting for flights to and fro. Coming from Alaska, the aspect of Wisconsin is important. One, it reminded me of a recent moose hunt and secondly, though there are public lands in the MidWest, they don’t necessarily have the contiguous nature or access you can find in the Western States or Alaska. Though the moose hunt wasn’t successful, the book underscores other parts of a hunt such as the importance of connections with the land, or getting to a sense of place when utilizing public lands. Be it taking in the crisp smell of fall or the background of golden aspen leaves against a brilliant blue sky. To me all of it is rejuvenating and invigorating.
Ultimately it also reminded me of what I saw during Covid and the use of public lands. There wasn’t much travel into or out of Alaska. Here we notice more people getting out on public land, whether extensive trips or just recreating for the day. To me it reinforced the story, much like “The Land We Share” of the value of public lands, not just for big things like a hunt, but for the intangibles as well that help us connect with land in a sometimes spiritual way.
– Geoff Beyersdorf
Bureau of Land Management District Manager, Fairbanks District Office
U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service
The Land We Share, the US Fish and Wildlife Service’s National Wildlife Refuges of Alaska Perspective:
From our involvement at its inception, The Land We Share has been aimed at sharing the experiences and connections that Alaskans and Americans have with their public lands through our nation’s hunting heritage. With their beautiful and touching essays, the authors, Steve and Christine, have produced a volume of work that resonates with many of our refuge users and visitors.
Most who will come to enjoy this book are hunters. Hunting is an important and long-standing recreational activity on national wildlife refuges around Alaska and the nation. It is one of six priority recreational opportunities on most refuges. The other five priority recreational activities on refuges are fishing, wildlife viewing, photography, interpretation, and environmental education.
However, it has been noted that a significant number of people who appreciate the authors’ collection of writings are not hunters. For this group, they personally relate to the stories of wildlife, wild country, and sharing the outdoors with someone special. For many, Steve and Christine’s tales about their hunting dogs touch a tender cord in their heart about their own pets, past and present.
The Land We Share speaks to the deep connections that form between people and their public lands, like national wildlife refuges. We feel fortunate to have come together for this moment in time with such a capable and inspiring team of partners like Alaska Geographic, the National Park Service, and the Bureau of Land Management to produce a book with Christine and Steve that celebrates the land we share.
Alaska Region Interpretive and Environmental Education Specialist
U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service- National Wildlife Refuges
National Park Service
The Land We Share, the National Park Service of Alaska Perspective
In the arc of time of the human experience, hunting has not only fed and clothed us, but has also nourished the way people understand and relate to the lands and waters that surround us. For many, the experience comes from the hunt and time spent on the land itself, for others, it’s from the community fostered through processing and sharing meat and eating from the land. The Land We Share speaks to the human experience and the incredible opportunity we have to share our public lands.
In Alaska’s National Parks and Preserves 40 million acres of land is open to subsistence hunting with 22 million acres in 10 national preserves also open to sport hunting. Hunting can be part of a way of life that is deeply connected to national parklands in Alaska. We hope this book will find its way to hunting cabins, tents, and living rooms where those who cherish the lands around them reside.
The National Park Service is pleased to partner with authors Steve Meyer and Christine Cunningham, Alaska Geographic, US Fish and Wildlife Service, and the Bureau of Land Management to bring this book to the public.
– Megan Richotte
Team Lead for Interpretation, Education & Partnerships
National Park Service Region 11 – Alaska
Click the images below for a closer look inside the book.
IN THE MEDIA
“For many years, I’d been an avid reader of the Anchorage Daily News (ADN) columns by Christine Cunningham and Steve Meyer on their adventures hunting upland birds and waterfowl on public lands around Alaska. I felt their writings spoke to the connection and relationships that form with the land, the wildlife, the dogs, and between people. So, on a gut feeling, in January 2022, I reached out to Christine Cunningham and pitched the idea of…”
In this episode of the Kenai Conversation, we are joined by Christine Cunningham and Steve Meyer, authors of the new book “The Land We Share.” We are also joined by Alaska Geographic’s executive director Andy Hall, who helped publish the book.
“The stories contained in the recently released book “The Land We Share: A Love Affair Told in Hunting Stories” by local authors Christine Cunningham and Steve Meyer center on hunting, as the name suggests, primarily in the public lands of Alaska. Cunningham said the book isn’t just for hunters — it’s about the connection to the land and the relationships that can form around outdoor recreation…”
“It’s from these details that their relationship with the land itself, the heart of the multiple relationships explored here, is crystalized. To hunt is to not just visit the land, but to live upon it as all life does, understanding that all lives persist at the expense of other lives, be it plant or animal. Arguments abound both for and against hunting and the killing of wildlife, and there are persuasive points raised by both sides. But the reality of death as necessary for life is often overlooked in these debates, and Meyer, in particular, is well adept at explaining this. Both excel at placing hunting within this holistic context in a way that non-hunters might not easily grasp on their own.
Much of the land the couple hunts on is public land, and from the very first page, the intrinsic value of preserving that land, where the natural world progresses in its own fashion and humans seek renewal, is a persistent theme in this book.”
ABOUT THE AUTHORS
Christine Cunningham was born in Sitka, Alaska, and is a lifelong Alaskan, author, and outdoor columnist. Steve Meyer grew up in Milnor, North Dakota and has lived and hunted in Alaska for over 50 years. Christine has published articles in a variety of hunting and conservation publications, including Alaska magazine, Gray’s Sporting Journal, Sports Afield, Shooting Sportsman, Pheasants Forever, Delta Waterfowl, and Wildfowl. Her first book, “Women Hunting Alaska” shares the true stories of several female hunters in Alaska.
Steve Meyer’s writing and photography have been featured by the BBC and in outdoor publications, including Sports Afield, Gun Dog, Dakota Country, Pheasants Forever, and Fur-Fish-Game magazine. He has been a columnist and contributing editor for Hunt Alaska and Alaska Sporting Journal. Both began writing an alternating newspaper column in the Redoubt Reporter, a community newspaper, before they began their shared column for the Anchorage Daily News. They make their home on Alaska’s Kenai Peninsula where they live and hunt with a family of bird dogs.
Alaska Geographic is Alaska’s 501(c)3 nonprofit partner to National Park Service, National Forest Service, US Fish and Wildlife Service and Bureau of Land Management.
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