Enjoying, and Extracting From, Alaska’s Public Land

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The edge of the bride’s dress, brilliant white in the mid-May sun, grazes gray rocks on the beach at Derby Cove in Caines Head State Recreation Area. She and her groom arrived moments before on a motorboat, leaped to shore, and now pose for their own cadre of paparazzi. Resurrection Bay shimmers, and snow-capped peaks rise sharply from the sea in the distance. My friend and I watch with amusement from our campsite above the high tide line. Public lands, it seems, are for more than just pure recreational pursuits or habitat for Alaska’s wild animals; they also make perfect places to celebrate life’s momentous occasions.

Alaska’s Public Land

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