This is me standing in front of the Denali National Park and Preserve sign on Saturday, March 20, 2021. (Ashlyn O’Hara/Peninsula Clarion)

Out of the Office: The weekend

By the second week of March, I had pretty much forgotten about the dry cabin I’d booked for the next weekend. I’d made reservations from… Continue reading

 

Looking east towards the sun rising over Caribou Island. (Photo provided by refuge)

Refuge Notebook: Paddling Tustumena

By JOHN MORTON Alaska Wildlife Alliance

 

Photos courtesy John Schoen
Mary Beth Schoen admires a large-tree old-growth stand in Saook Bay on northeastern Baranof Island. Some individual trees were over 6 feet in diameter and many centuries old. This riparian area was adjacent to a salmon stream and was full of bear trails. Large-tree old growth stands are rare on the Tongass.

‘Tongass Odyssey’ explores decades of research, politics and change

‘What we learned is that old growth forest is very important’

 

Friends of Alaska National Wildlife Refuge Vice President and Outreach Chair Poppy Benson collects litter from the side of the highway at the refuge in Soldotna, Alaska on Friday, April 30, 2021. (Camille Botello / Peninsula Clarion)

Spring cleaning

Volunteers turn out to remove refuse from the refuge

Friends of Alaska National Wildlife Refuge Vice President and Outreach Chair Poppy Benson collects litter from the side of the highway at the refuge in Soldotna, Alaska on Friday, April 30, 2021. (Camille Botello / Peninsula Clarion)
A group of skiers make their way along a trail behind Skyview High School, Saturday, Dec. 7, 2019, at the Black Stone Axe Ridge Warm Up Rally at the Tsalteshi Trails in Soldotna, Alaska. (Photo by Joey Klecka/Peninsula Clarion)

Soldotna lends support to Tsalteshi grant request

The trails association recently applied for a grant through the Alaska Department of Natural Resources.

A group of skiers make their way along a trail behind Skyview High School, Saturday, Dec. 7, 2019, at the Black Stone Axe Ridge Warm Up Rally at the Tsalteshi Trails in Soldotna, Alaska. (Photo by Joey Klecka/Peninsula Clarion)
Large flocks of Pacific brant depend on a few key areas, especially Izembek Lagoon. (Photo by Heather Wilson/USFWS)

Refuge Notebook: The outlook for Pacific brant

After a multiweek weather delay, Biologist/Pilot Heather Wilson and I took off from Kenai just before noon, Jan. 31, in a Cessna 206 on amphibious… Continue reading

Large flocks of Pacific brant depend on a few key areas, especially Izembek Lagoon. (Photo by Heather Wilson/USFWS)
This photo taken in October 2017 shows author Kat Sorensen with the first fish she ever caught using a fly rod! (Photo courtesy of Kat Sorensen)

Tangled Up in Blue: Throwbacks

There’s still a box of fancy heels and short, summer dresses wasting away in my parents’ basement right where I dumped them over four years… Continue reading

This photo taken in October 2017 shows author Kat Sorensen with the first fish she ever caught using a fly rod! (Photo courtesy of Kat Sorensen)
The Alaska Highway on July 15, 2020. (Photo by Camille Botello/Peninsula Clarion)

Out of the Office: Up the Alcan

Five days and nearly 2,500 miles: That’s how long I traveled to get to Alaska. I grew up in rural Idaho, 5,000 feet up in… Continue reading

The Alaska Highway on July 15, 2020. (Photo by Camille Botello/Peninsula Clarion)
The docile Pacific brant migrates thousands of miles between eelgrass beds in Alaska and Mexico. (Photo by Jeff Wasley/USGS)

Refuge Notebook: Meet our amazing Pacific brant

This is the first of a two-part series describing a charismatic but lesser known goose species, its past, present and future in the Pacific flyway,… Continue reading

The docile Pacific brant migrates thousands of miles between eelgrass beds in Alaska and Mexico. (Photo by Jeff Wasley/USGS)
Andrew Marley, the 2021 Homer Winter King Salmon Tournament winner, at left, holds his prize winning 25.62-pound white king salmon on Saturday, April 17, 2021, on the Homer Spit in Homer, Alaska. Helping him are his father, Jay Marley, center, and older brother Weston Marley, right. The family team included Erica Marley, not shown, all fishing on the Fly Dough. (Photo by Michael Armstrong/Homer News)

10-year-old takes home $87,000 for top fish in Homer tourney

‘Quite a bit of that is going to go to college tuition,’ dad says of son’s earnings

Andrew Marley, the 2021 Homer Winter King Salmon Tournament winner, at left, holds his prize winning 25.62-pound white king salmon on Saturday, April 17, 2021, on the Homer Spit in Homer, Alaska. Helping him are his father, Jay Marley, center, and older brother Weston Marley, right. The family team included Erica Marley, not shown, all fishing on the Fly Dough. (Photo by Michael Armstrong/Homer News)
StoryWalk along the Keen-Eye Trail. (Photo by Michelle Ostrowski/USFWS)

Refuge Notebook: Read a book, spend time in nature with StoryWalk

“The more that you read, the more things you will know. The more that you learn, the more places you’ll go.” — Dr. Seuss, “I… Continue reading

StoryWalk along the Keen-Eye Trail. (Photo by Michelle Ostrowski/USFWS)
Bleached, dying elodea in Sandpiper Lake on Aug. 28, 2020. (Photo by Mark Laker/USFWS)

Refuge Notebook: Update on non-native species in refuge

While some planned projects at the Kenai National Wildlife Refuge were put on hold in summer 2020 due the pandemic, we in the refuge’s biology… Continue reading

Bleached, dying elodea in Sandpiper Lake on Aug. 28, 2020. (Photo by Mark Laker/USFWS)
Michael Armstrong is properly outfitted for an Arctic summer hiking trip in this photo taken in 1989 along the Wulik River in northeastern Alaska. (Photo by Charles Barnwell.)

Out of the Office: Living in Alaska is a lifetime in learning

From boots to parkas, there’s lots to figure out about surviving in the Last Frontier

Michael Armstrong is properly outfitted for an Arctic summer hiking trip in this photo taken in 1989 along the Wulik River in northeastern Alaska. (Photo by Charles Barnwell.)
Morel species collected from the Kenai Peninsula. Clockwise from upper left: Norwegian morel, beautiful morel, excellent morel, sixth black morel, exuberant morel and gray morel. (Photos by Matt Bowser and Colin Canterbury/USFWS)

Refuge Notebook: A new perspective on Kenai morels

Years ago, a co-worker shared with me a place where morels appeared at the bases of cottonwood trees. I have found them at that same… Continue reading

Morel species collected from the Kenai Peninsula. Clockwise from upper left: Norwegian morel, beautiful morel, excellent morel, sixth black morel, exuberant morel and gray morel. (Photos by Matt Bowser and Colin Canterbury/USFWS)
Hannah Lafleur skis through Resurrection Pass on the Kenai Peninsula in Alaska on March 29, 2021. (Photo by Kat Sorensen)

Tangled Up in Blue: Passing through

I started writing this column 17 miles into a three-day, 38-mile ski. We had just reached the pass part of the Resurrection Pass trail, where… Continue reading

Hannah Lafleur skis through Resurrection Pass on the Kenai Peninsula in Alaska on March 29, 2021. (Photo by Kat Sorensen)
The author gets caught off guard while working at the Peninsula Clarion in 2016 in Kenai, Alaska. (Photo by Ben Boettger)

Out of the Office: For good, for now

“Five hundred twenty-five thousand six hundred minutes.” If that figure immediately transports you to the famous number from the musical “Rent,” you’ve caught my drift.… Continue reading

The author gets caught off guard while working at the Peninsula Clarion in 2016 in Kenai, Alaska. (Photo by Ben Boettger)
Melting ice patch in Lake Clark National Park and Preserve. (Photo provided by National Park Service)

Refuge Notebook: Ice patch archaeology

Alaska’s mountains and glaciers are beautiful to observe, and many of us enjoy summertime hikes and backpacking among the peaks. Some hardy individuals even undertake… Continue reading

Melting ice patch in Lake Clark National Park and Preserve. (Photo provided by National Park Service)
Till Lauer

Tangled Up in Blue: Marathon Training

I want to brag for a second, although my self-deprecating side would argue this whole column is just a biweekly boast. After ignoring incessant calls… Continue reading

Till Lauer
A snowmachine at rest in front of the Snag Lake public use cabin. (Photo provided by USFWS)

Preparedness is key to staying safe in the backcountry

If you spend any time in the backcountry it’s bound to happen: an ankle sprain halfway into a day hike, the afternoon blowup that unexpectedly… Continue reading

A snowmachine at rest in front of the Snag Lake public use cabin. (Photo provided by USFWS)
The author gets warm with a mask at Alaska’s Matanuska Glacier on Sunday, March 7, 20201. (Photo by Jeff Helminiak/Peninsula Clarion)

Out of the Office: Warming up to masks

A March 3 lead paragraph in a news story in The New York Times asked, “When can I throw away my mask?” For me, the… Continue reading

The author gets warm with a mask at Alaska’s Matanuska Glacier on Sunday, March 7, 20201. (Photo by Jeff Helminiak/Peninsula Clarion)