Annual precipitation varies in alpine habitats above 1500 feet on the Kenai Peninsula due to the effects of rain shadows. Precipitation amounts in millimeters and extrapolated from weather stations by AdaptWest (https://adaptwest.databasin.org/).

Refuge Notebook: Rain Shadows Create Diverse (and Changing) Alpine Habitats

The Kenai National Wildlife Refuge is often described as “Alaska in miniature” because of the variety of habitats that occur here. On the Kenai Peninsula,… Continue reading

Annual precipitation varies in alpine habitats above 1500 feet on the Kenai Peninsula due to the effects of rain shadows. Precipitation amounts in millimeters and extrapolated from weather stations by AdaptWest (https://adaptwest.databasin.org/).
In this Jan. 22, 2017, photo a mountain grouse track crosses a snowshoe hare track at Mount Spokane State Park in Washington. (Rich Landers/The Spokesman-Review via AP)

Critter tracks read like a story in the snow

By RICH LANDERS The (Spokane) Spokesman-Review SPOKANE, Wash. (AP) — Early Sunday morning while reading the newspaper, I contemplated several options for making the best… Continue reading

In this Jan. 22, 2017, photo a mountain grouse track crosses a snowshoe hare track at Mount Spokane State Park in Washington. (Rich Landers/The Spokesman-Review via AP)
In this August 2016 picture, people walk along the main historic downtown street of Hope, Alaska. Hope, a small unincorporated town along the Turnagain Arm at the end of the 18-mile Hope Highway, is a popular tourist destination in the summer months for its hiking and boating opportunities and for its historical value. (Elizabeth Earl/Peninsula Clarion)

New trail in the works for Hope

Residents of Hope have wanted a separated trail off their highway for a long time. The narrow, winding highway, which stretches 18 miles along a… Continue reading

In this August 2016 picture, people walk along the main historic downtown street of Hope, Alaska. Hope, a small unincorporated town along the Turnagain Arm at the end of the 18-mile Hope Highway, is a popular tourist destination in the summer months for its hiking and boating opportunities and for its historical value. (Elizabeth Earl/Peninsula Clarion)
Mike Crawford of Kenai leads a group of fat tire bikers up a climb in the Caribou Hills in January. A fat tire race and ride is planned for Sunday starting at Freddie’s Road House on Oil Well Road near Ninilchik. (Clarion file photo)

Fat tire bike event hits Caribou Hills

By JOEY KLECKA Peninsula Clarion Call them back country backcountry beasts, call them wilderness warriors, call them beach bums. But just don’t call them fat.… Continue reading

Mike Crawford of Kenai leads a group of fat tire bikers up a climb in the Caribou Hills in January. A fat tire race and ride is planned for Sunday starting at Freddie’s Road House on Oil Well Road near Ninilchik. (Clarion file photo)

An Outdoor View: McPhee on catch-and-release

Author’s note: This column first appeared in the Clarion on Nov. 29, 2002. I’ve edited it slightly for brevity. “The Founding Fish” is fascinating book… Continue reading

Dom Watts fits a cow moose with a GPS radio-collar for a study of moose reproduction and calf survival on the Alaska Peninsula. (Photo courtesy Kenai National Wildlife Refuge)

Refuge Notebook: New wildlife biologist lands in Kenai Refuge

As I navigated the icy roads through Turnagain Pass a couple weeks ago in a borrowed car filled with totes and duffle bags, I couldn’t… Continue reading

Dom Watts fits a cow moose with a GPS radio-collar for a study of moose reproduction and calf survival on the Alaska Peninsula. (Photo courtesy Kenai National Wildlife Refuge)
The Beginning Fly Fishing Class at Kenai Peninsula College, tying some flies in preparation for their field trip. (Photo courtesy Dave Atcheson)

Tight Lines: A variety of fish-related activities to carry us through the winter

Ice fishing may be at its peak right now, and there are always a handful of hardy fly fishers hitting the unfrozen sections of Kenai… Continue reading

The Beginning Fly Fishing Class at Kenai Peninsula College, tying some flies in preparation for their field trip. (Photo courtesy Dave Atcheson)
In this July 2016 photo, a kayak floats on the surface of Kenai Lake in Cooper Landing, Alaska. (Elizabeth Earl/Peninsula Clarion)

Prepare for safety before heading out on small boats

  Not everyone on the Kenai Peninsula’s rivers and lakes is out with a big boat. In recent years, more people have been heading onto… Continue reading

In this July 2016 photo, a kayak floats on the surface of Kenai Lake in Cooper Landing, Alaska. (Elizabeth Earl/Peninsula Clarion)
Why biodiversity matters: A food web showing 110 relationships among 98 species found on the Kenai Peninsula. Browns are fungi, reds are animals, and greens are plants. Note how humans (Homo sapiens) are part of our web.

Refuge Notebook: 2,000 species on the Kenai National Wildlife Refuge

In 2016, the Kenai National Wildlife Refuge passed a milestone of sorts. Over 2,000 species are now documented on the 2 million-acre refuge including 207… Continue reading

Why biodiversity matters: A food web showing 110 relationships among 98 species found on the Kenai Peninsula. Browns are fungi, reds are animals, and greens are plants. Note how humans (Homo sapiens) are part of our web.
FILE - In this Feb. 6, 2014, file photo, Mark Morical carves through the heavy powder snow at the top of Vista Butte west of Bend, Ore. Some backcountry areas in Central Oregon are so accessible that it is hard to even consider them backcountry and Vista Butte is certainly one of those places. (Joe Kline/The Bulletin via AP, File)

Backcountry enthusiasts must be prepared for danger

By MARK MORICAL The (Bend) Bulletin VISTA BUTTE SNO-PARK, Ore. — Some backcountry areas in Central Oregon are so accessible that it is hard to… Continue reading

FILE - In this Feb. 6, 2014, file photo, Mark Morical carves through the heavy powder snow at the top of Vista Butte west of Bend, Ore. Some backcountry areas in Central Oregon are so accessible that it is hard to even consider them backcountry and Vista Butte is certainly one of those places. (Joe Kline/The Bulletin via AP, File)

An Outdoor View: The Ultimate Fish Taco

Fish tacos are one of the finest systems ever thunk up for the delivery of fish to mouth. You can make ‘em either plain or… Continue reading

Ski coach Darin Markwart (far right) leads a group of Tsalteshi Youth skiers, Jan. 28 at the Kenai Golf Course. (Photo by Joey Klecka/Peninsula Clarion)

Youth skiing returns to local trails en masse

  As an outlet for spending energy and learning a great sport, the Tsalteshi Trails Youth Ski Program has served the local ski community well… Continue reading

Ski coach Darin Markwart (far right) leads a group of Tsalteshi Youth skiers, Jan. 28 at the Kenai Golf Course. (Photo by Joey Klecka/Peninsula Clarion)

An Outdoor View: The little red boat

Like the Kenai Peninsula, the place where I was born and raised in Western Washington is a place where people either own a boat or… Continue reading

Despite two feet of ice, a big spider hole formed on Headquarters Lake from the weight of recent snow. (Photo courtesy Kenai National Wildlife Refuge)

Refuge Notebook: Oh no, overflow!

Right next to the headquarters of the Kenai National Wildlife Refuge is a lake, cleverly named Headquarters Lake. With excellent views of the Kenai Mountains,… Continue reading

Despite two feet of ice, a big spider hole formed on Headquarters Lake from the weight of recent snow. (Photo courtesy Kenai National Wildlife Refuge)
The northern line of the Sterling fuel break before (left) and after (right) treatment. (Photo courtesy Kenai National Wildlife Refuge)

Refuge Notebook: Sterling gets a break with wildfire risk

Trivia question: What does the 2014 Funny River fire and 2015 Card Street fire have in common? If you guessed both were human-caused and spotted… Continue reading

The northern line of the Sterling fuel break before (left) and after (right) treatment. (Photo courtesy Kenai National Wildlife Refuge)

An Outdoor View: On cutting regulations

At a Monday meeting with the heads of some of the nation’s largest corporations, President Trump said, “We think we can try to cut regulations… Continue reading

ADVANCE FOR USE SATURDAY, JAN. 21 - In this Sunday, Jan. 15, 2017, Marisa Paine skis with her daughter Carys Paine, 5, near the base of Sunshine Accelerator ski lift at Mount Bachelor in Bend, Ore. (Ryan Brennecke/The Bulletin via AP)

Teaching kids snow sports can take patience, persistence

MOUNT BACHELOR, Ore. (AP) — Mason needed a nudge, so I did what parents often do and resorted to bribery. “Mason, if you come ski… Continue reading

ADVANCE FOR USE SATURDAY, JAN. 21 - In this Sunday, Jan. 15, 2017, Marisa Paine skis with her daughter Carys Paine, 5, near the base of Sunshine Accelerator ski lift at Mount Bachelor in Bend, Ore. (Ryan Brennecke/The Bulletin via AP)
The sun rises over Engineer Lake on the Kenai National Wildlife Refuge. Reserving one of the refuge’s public use cabins can be a fun, Alaskan way to celebrate the holidays. (Photos courtesy Rebecca Uta)

Refuge Notebook: A Christmas Adventure

Every person has a bucket list to be marked off when they come to this beautiful land. Our list has always been simple: something Alaskan.… Continue reading

The sun rises over Engineer Lake on the Kenai National Wildlife Refuge. Reserving one of the refuge’s public use cabins can be a fun, Alaskan way to celebrate the holidays. (Photos courtesy Rebecca Uta)

An Outdoor View: On being a puker

Hi. My name is Les, and I’m a puker. Being predisposed to seasickness, I have on many occasions observed while in an under-the-weather, over-the-railing position… Continue reading

Angie Brennan picks up speed on a downhill section on trail in the Caribou Hills near Ninilchik on Jan. 8, 2017. (Photo by Will Morrow/Peninsula Clarion)

Head for the hills: Fat-tire bikers discover Caribou Hills

By Will Morrow Peninsula Clarion It started with a text message from a friend — “Want to go up to the Caribou Hills Sunday morning?”… Continue reading

Angie Brennan picks up speed on a downhill section on trail in the Caribou Hills near Ninilchik on Jan. 8, 2017. (Photo by Will Morrow/Peninsula Clarion)