Alaska Fish & Wildlife News
Historic Films Now Posted at ADF&G Website
The man’s obituary in Alaska Magazine’s 1986 “End of the Trail” memorializes him as an “explorer, secret agent, world traveler, free-lance writer, and film maker.” Luckily, he was also an ADF&G employee from 1955 until his retirement in 1974 at age 73. The man was Amos Burg - and he made some great films during his time at ADF&G, which you can now watch at your leisure via the ADF&G Vimeo channel. (You can search on Burg Alaska) If you like historic newsreels complete with background music, you will most definitely enjoy the format of these informative and “retro” movies.
Alaska Resources Library & Information Services (ARLIS) discovered some of the old original 16 mm films in its backlog and had them digitally converted, first to DVD, then to .mp4. ARLIS has identified and converted 12 titles, all soon to be at the ADF&G e-library media site:
Alaskan Big Game Safari
Alaska's Birds of Prey
Angling Under the Midnight Sun
Fur Seals of the Pribilofs
Quest for Better Fishing
Quest for Grayling
The Pink Salmon Story
The White Whales of Bering Sea
The Bristol Bay Story
The King Crab Story
Rainbows for the Sportsman
Valley of the Kings
But there were at least 16 in all. The films ARLIS hasn’t found yet, but identified through the historic ADF&G Annual Reports are:
Return of the Musk Oxen
Clam Digging on Cook Inlet
Northern Pike in Alaska
The Sea Lion
The search is on for these, as well as a 1978 full-length film about commercial fisheries, not yet found.
The old annual reports (1949-1978) are great reading, by the way, and all digitized.
Amos Burg was often described as a shy man – no wonder his name is never mentioned once in the old reports, only his accomplishments. Reading through these reports, it is evident that the early years of the Department were marked by great creativity and production, while dedicated staff like Amos Burg implemented their vision of a Department with a vast mission to the people of Alaska. Central to that mission and the motivation for these films was to educate the Department’s constituents, the Alaskan public.
To keep the public informed about the new Department, Amos Burg established the Information and Education Section of the Territorial Department of Fisheries, which became ADF&G after statehood. All initiated during Burg’s tenure, the Department produced a weekly TV program in nine communities statewide in the 1970s, wrote a monthly column for Alaska Sportsman magazine in the 1960s, produced a monthly glossy magazine for 25 years, and created these incredible film productions. The 1958 annual report crows that 7,000 people in 45 audiences watched these films during the Department’s public programs. The legacy of Amos Burg lives to this day through the Department’s educational programs and through these great films.
To read more about this remarkable man whose reach extended way beyond Alaska, see the 1986 article by Mark Kissel in Alaska Fish and Game Magazine which even talks about his time as a “secret agent!”
For more on ARLIS and the ARLIS collection of skulls, mounted fish, and other objects:
Celia Rozen is The ADF&G librarian and part of the ARLIS Management Team.
Subscribe to be notified about new issues
Receive a monthly notice about new issues and articles.