Grasping Wild: A Documentary Film on the Absaroka-Beartooth Wilderness



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Graduation Date


Document Type

Professional Paper


Master of Fine Arts (MFA)

Degree Name

Environmental Science and Natural Resource Journalism

School or Department



The Absaroka- Beartooth Wilderness stretches nearly 1 million acres from south central Montana to northern Wyoming, and shares a southern border with Yellowstone National Park. In 2018, the Absaroka-Beartooth Wilderness celebrated its 40th anniversary, as well as the designation of East Rosebud Creek as a Wild & Scenic river. Overuse, insufficient funding, and a need for wilderness education pose a variety of challenges for the stewards that care for these areas.

This piece shows the work of one man, David Kallenbach, dedicated to preserving nearly one million acres of Montana wilderness, in order to better understand the sacrifices and commitment that this work takes. This is a visual story of the relationship between humans and their environment, the desire to explore untouched terrain, and the need to preserve it. Ultimately, this master’s project examines the systems that manage public lands, the current threats being made to the land in this area, and poses a question of how we as citizens want our land to be managed for generations to come.

Subject Categories

Environmental Studies

Grasping Wild: A Documentary Film on the Absaroka-Beartooth Wilderness