Michael Armstrong, seated, in sled, gives his mother, Sylvia Jander, the unique Alaska experience of driving a sled-dog team in February 1989 in Anchorage, Alaska. (Photo by Jenny Stroyeck)

Fill out the squares of the Alaska Adventure Bingo Card

Moose, bears, sled dogs wolves, whales oh my: Alaska offers many adventures to check off.

 

Dog sick fungus, named for its resemblance to canine vomit, is neither vomit nor a fungus. It is a kind of slime mold common in tundra. (Photo by Matt Bowser/USFWS)

Refuge Notebook: Names of living things have much to say

As we at the Kenai National Wildlife Refuge seek to know about the living things that call this place home, we come across many interesting… Continue reading

 

Homer New reporter Sarah Knapp admires Alaska's beautiful landscape during a trip to Anchorage. (Photo by Ashlyn O'Hara/Peninsula Clarion)

Out of the Office: Sticking to New Year’s resolution

I’m still trying to find out where I belong in Homer. You’d think after nine months on the peninsula that I’d have some idea of… Continue reading

 

Ed Bangs in 1984  with the first female brown bear radio-collared on the Kenai. (Photo courtesy USFWS)

Refuge Notebook: Blessed to live the Alaska dream

Note: In celebration of the Refuge’s 80th year, the Refuge Notebook articles will periodically feature stories from past members of the refuge team reflecting back… Continue reading

Ed Bangs in 1984  with the first female brown bear radio-collared on the Kenai. (Photo courtesy USFWS)
The moon sits above Mount Redoubt on Tuesday, Dec. 21, 2021 near Kenai, Alaska. (Ashlyn O’Hara/Peninsula Clarion)

Out of Office: Chasing sunshine

The winter solstice fell on a beautiful Tuesday last month. I woke up to flickers of sunshine peeking through the gaps in the curtains and… Continue reading

The moon sits above Mount Redoubt on Tuesday, Dec. 21, 2021 near Kenai, Alaska. (Ashlyn O’Hara/Peninsula Clarion)
Ski trails. (Photo by Jeff Helminiak)

Out of the Office: Skiing doesn’t have to be perfect to be good

“You know,” he said, “we used to groom the ski trails by packing them down with snowshoes.”

Ski trails. (Photo by Jeff Helminiak)
Winter view of one of the Refuge’s many treasures, Skilak Lake, Credit FWS/L. Hupp
Winter view of one of the Refuge’s many treasures, Skilak Lake, Credit FWS/L. Hupp

80 years of conservation and counting

Just a few weeks ago, on Dec. 16, the Kenai National Wildlife Refuge turned 80.

Winter view of one of the Refuge’s many treasures, Skilak Lake, Credit FWS/L. Hupp
Winter view of one of the Refuge’s many treasures, Skilak Lake, Credit FWS/L. Hupp
Patrick Lewis hikes out of the Grand Canyon on a recent five-day trip to the National Park. (Photo by Kat Sorensen)

Tangled Up In Blue: We’ll meet again someday

Over the five years that I’ve written Tangled Up In Blue, a lot has happened that seems so insignificant now.

Patrick Lewis hikes out of the Grand Canyon on a recent five-day trip to the National Park. (Photo by Kat Sorensen)
A scud (Gammarus lacustris) collected from North Vogel Lake. Trout and other fish depend on invertebrates like this scud for food. (Photo by Matt Bowser/USFWS)

Refuge Notebook: Checking on the little things that fish need

Whether or not we care about these tiny animals themselves, fish depend on them as food.

A scud (Gammarus lacustris) collected from North Vogel Lake. Trout and other fish depend on invertebrates like this scud for food. (Photo by Matt Bowser/USFWS)
Drew Slegers, a fourth grader at Soldotna Elementary, snowshoes on Headquarters Lake just outside of Soldotna, Alaska, on Tuesday, Dec. 21, 2021. (Photo by Jeff Helminiak/Peninsula Clarion)

Solstice snowshoe

Celebrating 80 years of refuge

Drew Slegers, a fourth grader at Soldotna Elementary, snowshoes on Headquarters Lake just outside of Soldotna, Alaska, on Tuesday, Dec. 21, 2021. (Photo by Jeff Helminiak/Peninsula Clarion)
Skating on Jean Lake on Nov. 21, 2021. (Photo courtesy Sabine Poux on Ashlyn O’Hara’s camera)

Out of the Office: Solace in skating

I’m used to the cold, but Alaska’s darkness has proved difficult to get used to. In my hometown in Idaho temperatures used to drop below… Continue reading

Skating on Jean Lake on Nov. 21, 2021. (Photo courtesy Sabine Poux on Ashlyn O’Hara’s camera)
A flowering roundleaf orchid (Galearis rotundifolia). A splash of bright color on a green ground cover. (Photo by Samuel Artaiz/USFWS)

Refuge Notebook: A needle in a peatland haystack

Touching down, we could feel the widened skids sink, yet securely, on what was a soggy layer of peat. With a nod from the pilot,… Continue reading

A flowering roundleaf orchid (Galearis rotundifolia). A splash of bright color on a green ground cover. (Photo by Samuel Artaiz/USFWS)
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Tangled Up in Blue: Marathon training

I didn’t run any marathons this past month, despite three months of semiserious training. The Space Coast Marathon went off in Orlando the Saturday after… Continue reading

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A red fox sleeping by a plane near the Kavik River in Alaska. (Photo by Frannie Nelson, USFWS)

Refuge Notebook: Missing dog, Kenai Peninsula — Red and WILD!

This past summer, I was working on a project outside of Fairbanks. While I was there, I stayed with my cousin. Upon arriving, I could… Continue reading

A red fox sleeping by a plane near the Kavik River in Alaska. (Photo by Frannie Nelson, USFWS)
Cheryl Fellman checks her watch before attempting an Ice Mile. An Ice Mile is a type of endurance swim that tasks swimmers with covering a mile in water that is 41 degrees or colder. Fellman swam a mile in just under 35 minutes on Saturday at Auke Recreation Area. (Ben Hohenstatt / Juneau Empire)

Juneau woman completes a mile in near-freezing water

The 49-year-old mother of two and longtime Juneau resident swam Saturday for more than half an hour.

Cheryl Fellman checks her watch before attempting an Ice Mile. An Ice Mile is a type of endurance swim that tasks swimmers with covering a mile in water that is 41 degrees or colder. Fellman swam a mile in just under 35 minutes on Saturday at Auke Recreation Area. (Ben Hohenstatt / Juneau Empire)
Michael Armstrong and his dog Leia harvest a Christmas tree in December 2013 on his land on Diamond Ridge near Homer, Alaska. (Photo by Jenny Stroyeck)
Michael Armstrong and his dog Leia harvest a Christmas tree in December 2013 on his land on Diamond Ridge near Homer, Alaska. (Photo by Jenny Stroyeck)
Sun coming through snow-covered branches with cross-country ski tracks on trail. (Photo by Ashley Lutto/USFWS)

Refuge Notebook: It’s more fun than walking

I’m not sure which one of us was more excited about the fresh snow, my ski partner or me. We rushed out the front door… Continue reading

Sun coming through snow-covered branches with cross-country ski tracks on trail. (Photo by Ashley Lutto/USFWS)
The reward of cold weather are the displays of the aurora borealis, like this one taken this fall on the Kenai. (Photo by K. Inman/FWS)

Refuge Notebook: Thankful for winter’s natural wonders — A beautiful disorientation?

There’s a good chance I may be in the minority on this one, but I love winter. Most people I know prefer summer and shoulder… Continue reading

The reward of cold weather are the displays of the aurora borealis, like this one taken this fall on the Kenai. (Photo by K. Inman/FWS)
Michael proposes to Sarah at the Kenai National Wildlife Refuge on Sunday, Nov. 7, 2021. (Photo by Ashlyn O’Hara/Peninsula Clarion)

Out of the Office: Falling in love one snowflake at a time

Do you want to know what I’ve been looking forward to the most since moving to Alaska? Snow! I love snow. Driving in it? OK,… Continue reading

Michael proposes to Sarah at the Kenai National Wildlife Refuge on Sunday, Nov. 7, 2021. (Photo by Ashlyn O’Hara/Peninsula Clarion)
A brown bear feeds on a salmon. (Photo by C. Canterbury/USFWS)

Refuge Notebook: Bears, uniquely built to respond to winter

With the new snow and temperatures dipping into the single digits, you might find yourself hunkering down or replacing your summer outdoor gear for winter… Continue reading

A brown bear feeds on a salmon. (Photo by C. Canterbury/USFWS)