A Cameraman's Wild Encounter With Bears in Alaska

Explore Alaska’s wild side with filmmaker Ben Hamilton as he ventures into the largest national forest in the United States. Traversing land, air, and water, Hamilton journeys deep into Alaska’s great frontier and uncovers the raw beauty of the Tongass National Forest.

In this excerpt from his full-length documentary The Meaning of Wild, Hamilton spotlights the 50th anniversary of the Wilderness Act with stunning footage of this preserved paradise and its thriving population of bears. According to Hamilton's guide, wilderness ranger Don MacDougall, “It’s one of the highest densities anywhere in the world, a 1,600-square-mile island and somewhere between 1 and 1.2 bears per square mile.” Together, MacDougall and Hamilton reveal the beautifully connected wild ecosystem in one of the nation's wild treasures.

Download or order a copy of The Meaning of Wild

Learn about the sponsor of the film 

Read a Q&A with the filmmaker

The Short Film Showcase spotlights exceptional short videos created by filmmakers from around the web and selected by National Geographic’s editors. We look for pieces that emphasize National Geographic's mission of inspiring people to care about the planet. The filmmakers themselves created the content presented here. The opinions expressed are those of the filmmakers, and not those of the National Geographic Society.

To submit films for consideration, please email SFS@ngs.org.