Refuge Notebook: Kenai fuel break will extend protection of communities

It’s no secret that wildfires play a significant ecological role in Alaska’s boreal forests, including those here on the western Kenai Peninsula. Everyone who drives… Continue reading

Student Julia Merculief in St. Paul, Alaska, explores refuge islands using virtual reality headsets. (Photo by Kendra Bush/USFWS)

Refuge notebook: Visiting remote refuge wilderness from a classroom desk

As the education specialist for the Alaska Maritime National Wildlife Refuge, it is my job to bring the wonders of the refuge’s wildlife and awe-inspiring… Continue reading

Student Julia Merculief in St. Paul, Alaska, explores refuge islands using virtual reality headsets. (Photo by Kendra Bush/USFWS)
Views from the Bird to Gird bike path on a long-awaited trip taken Friday, June 5, 2020, near Bird, Alaska. (Photo by Kat Sorensen)

Tangled Up in Blue: Hope all is well

I was just on my way to the Seward Trail Running Club meetup at Bear Mountain when I got a text from the Clarion’s esteemed… Continue reading

Views from the Bird to Gird bike path on a long-awaited trip taken Friday, June 5, 2020, near Bird, Alaska. (Photo by Kat Sorensen)

Refuge Notebook: Aleutian Islands oddities can win bets

Want to win a beer bet? Ask someone the location of the most southerly point in Alaska. The answer isn’t in Southeast, near Ketchikan. Rather,… Continue reading

A wheelchair accessible path leads to the Russian River Falls on Sunday, May 24, 2020 in Cooper Landing, Alaska. (Photo by Megan Pacer/Homer News)

Out of the Office: Trails that wind, hearts that find

As with a lot of things, Alaska has been lucky to be far removed and largely untouched by the disastrous health effects of the novel… Continue reading

A wheelchair accessible path leads to the Russian River Falls on Sunday, May 24, 2020 in Cooper Landing, Alaska. (Photo by Megan Pacer/Homer News)
(Photo provided)

Tangled Up in Blue: Blunt cuts

I cut my own hair last night. After months of new coronavirus isolation and then a few too many, “Oh wow, Kat! Your hair is… Continue reading

(Photo provided)

Refuge Notebook: The roles of morels

While people have been taking advantage of the abundance of morels following last year’s Swan Lake Fire, I have been asked many questions about them.… Continue reading

A morel mushroom grows in disturbed gravel on the Kenai National Wildlife Refuge. (Photo credit: USFWS)

Out of the Office: Morels surge confidence

I’m writing this in the car on the drive to Anchorage. My boyfriend, Nate, and I are in the process of moving back to the… Continue reading

A morel mushroom grows in disturbed gravel on the Kenai National Wildlife Refuge. (Photo credit: USFWS)

Refuge Notebook: Spruce beetles 2020

Spruce beetles are at it again. I am sad to see large trees in Soldotna with patches of missing bark that indicate woodpeckers are finding… Continue reading

Tangled Up in Blue: In the long run

Someone asked me if time has been going by quickly or slowly these days. During the coronavirus pandemic, are my mornings flying by? And in… Continue reading

Out of the office: Summer arrives

What was I doing? I asked myself that as a struggled frantically to wiggle my telemark boots into the bindings and continue down the miners… Continue reading

Refuge Notebook: Learning to love the ‘sweat and shiver’ diet

Have you ever spent a weekend camping, maybe a long weekend, when the rain never seemed to quit? Where on the last day, all you… Continue reading

Tangled Up in Blue: AM/FM

I woke up to the sound of a stranger crying and decided to go directly back to bed. It was a pang of depressing abnormality… Continue reading

Refuge Notebook: Forest morels: Year after fire brings rewards

2019 will be synonymous with wildland fire for most of the residents of the Kenai Peninsula, and as the details of date and time fade… Continue reading

Refuge Notebook: Recreational safety after the Swan Lake Fire

Residents of the Kenai Peninsula are all too familiar with wildfire after the summer of 2019. Not only did the Swan Lake Fire burn for… Continue reading

Out of the office: Painted blue

I went to Homer a few weeks ago to find blue. For weeks I had wanted to paint nothing but blues and purples, but I… Continue reading

A mural depicting Joseph Maldonado-Passage, also known as as “Joe Exotic,” in Dallas, Friday, April 10, 2020. The Netflix series “Tiger King,” has become popular watching during the COVID-19 outbreak. Maldonado-Passage was convicted in an unsuccessful murder-for-hire plot. (AP Photo/LM Otero)

Tangled Up in Blue: Tangled Up in Dough

My coronavirus isolation started off strong. I was donning business casual for all my Zoom meetings and doing at least 20 pushups daily. I even… Continue reading

A mural depicting Joseph Maldonado-Passage, also known as as “Joe Exotic,” in Dallas, Friday, April 10, 2020. The Netflix series “Tiger King,” has become popular watching during the COVID-19 outbreak. Maldonado-Passage was convicted in an unsuccessful murder-for-hire plot. (AP Photo/LM Otero)

Swan Lake Fire trails update

Last fall the Kenai National Wildlife Refuge was forced to close eight trails due to Swan Lake Fire activity. Through the fall, all eight trails… Continue reading

The view of Turnagain Arm, as seen from Hope Point in September 2018. Hope, Alaska, would be a good meeting place for a date once restrictions caused by the new coronavirus are lifted. (Photo by Jeff Helminiak/Peninsula Clarion)

Out of the office: Love in the time of corona

How do you find “the one” if you can’t even leave your home?

The view of Turnagain Arm, as seen from Hope Point in September 2018. Hope, Alaska, would be a good meeting place for a date once restrictions caused by the new coronavirus are lifted. (Photo by Jeff Helminiak/Peninsula Clarion)

Refuge Notebook: A helicopter’s role in wildland firefighting

A HECM, or helicopter crewmember, performs an essential role in ensuring the safety and success of aviation operations during a wildland fire. To manage wildland… Continue reading