Sunday, June 18, 2006

Northern Light Legacy

Northern Light Legacy is committed to preserving the heritage and vision of the Meader Family's wilderness life in arctic Alaska. For nearly two decades the Meader family lived in a mountain valley 80 miles above the arctic circle and 200 miles from the nearest road. Beginning in 1959, Fred, Elaine & Dion Meader made a life off the land, hunting migrating bands of caribou and making their home, furniture and much of their clothing from the materials of the land. In the '70s the Meader family produced a film, entitled, Year of the Caribou, to share the beauty of the arctic and express their vision for living in harmony with the community of the wild.

After the deaths of both Dion and Fred Meader in the mid-late 70s, Elaine Meader returned to civilization and raised her young girls, Heather and Dawn in Northern California. Wanting to join a healing profession, Elaine pursued her education and became a psychologist. The wilderness land continued to be home to friends who sought the wilderness experience and to the Meader women who returned several times over the years. Now as adults, Heather and Dawn are inheriting this wilderness way of life and working with friends and supporters to continue their parent's vision.

The Meader family, friends and supporters that make up Northern Light Legacy have pledged to rebuild the wilderness cabins by hand, work to protect the surrounding wilderness from commercial development and mining, and re-distribute the Year of the Caribou film so others can experience the beauty of this wilderness. This blog provides an overview of Northern Light Legacy projects including the Year of the Caribou film, the cabin rebuilding, and Heather Meader's return to wilderness isolation with her partner, Ryan Emenaker.

We invite you to join with us in our vision of continuing this legacy and sharing the message of life in connection with the wild. Your contributions to Northern Light Legacy support the basic supplies, like tools and building materials, needed to preserve the cabins and support life on the land. Your gifts also help fund the epilogue for the Year of the Caribou that will help us bring this legacy into the dialogue of our time. We offer our heartfelt appreciation for all donations.

Donations may be mailed to:
Northern Light Legacy
P.O. Box 551254
South Lake Tahoe, CA 96155

Monday, June 05, 2006

Rebuilding the Log Cabins

The last cabin built by Fred and Dion Meader with freinds in 1969.

The old cedar logs are beautiful but the cabin is unusable due to weather damage and age.

A new cabin is born. Old and new friends come together to help Elaine, Heather and Dawn build a new main cabin in 2002.

The crew replicated the old log cabin not only in design but also in technique, using only simple hand tools: axes, saws, chisels and augers.

Heather Meader carefully balancing herself as she hand drills into the ceder logs that will support the roof.

The new cabin completed just before freeze up, September 2002.

Sunday, June 04, 2006

Year of the Caribou Film

Year of the Caribou is a feature-length film that captures the magnificent beauty of the artic wilderness and documents how the Meader family survived in wilderness isolation. Year of the Caribou was shown throughout the country in the ‘60’s and ‘70’s, inspiring a generation in search of an alternative way of life. In the ‘80’s the film was distributed by the Cannon Corporation both nationally and internationally under the title, The Alaskan Wilderness Adventure.

In Fall 2000 the Meader family regained the rights to Year of the Caribou. With many hours of careful work Elaine, Dawn and Heather Meader began the process of restoring the vintage film for re-distribution. In the lab the brittle film was spliced back together and transferred from 16mm to 35mm and finally to digital and video. Elaine, Heather and Dawn then began showing the film and speaking about the past, the present and the importance of wilderness preservation.

Year of the Caribou is once again available for purchase. To purchase a DVD please visit or mail a check or money order for $30.00 to:

Northern Light Legacy
P.O. Box 551254
South Lake Tahoe, 96155-0024