By Emily Stifler Explorebigsky.com Managing Editor
BIG SKY – As Big Sky-based artist Corrie Francis Parks walks Alaska’s historic Chilcoot Trail this summer, she plans to connect with fellow backpackers, asking them to write or draw a postcard to themselves. The idea is to help them preserve a memory of their experience in the wilderness, Parks said.
A year later, she’ll send the postcards to the writers as a reminder of the mental and physical moments they experienced in the wilderness.
Also an animator and a photographer, Parks is doing this as part of a two-week residency in the Klondike Gold Rush National Historical Park this summer, outside of Skagway, Alaska.
Parks, 32, moved to Big Sky with her husband last November from Aspen, Colo. Through her work as a freelancer, she creates animated films that combine digital and traditional techniques.
The 33-mile trail was one of two main routes used by gold rush stampeders to access the Klondike from southeast Alaska, but was established by the Tlingit people long before that, as a trade route. Parks’ residency is part of an international program developed to help connect people and national parks and national historic sites through art.
Parks will also document the adventure with photos and writing. Following the residency, she will return to Big Sky and use a few of the postcards to turn into animated mini-documentaries, which will be part of her ongoing blog, “The Klondike Letters Project,” and a future exhibition.
“It should be a lot of fun to see what people come up with,” Parks said.
Follow Parks’ journey on the Chilcoot Trail at klondikeletters.com.