A snowshoe hare in its white winter coat. (Photo by Colin Canterbury/Kenai National Wildlife Refuge)

Refuge Notebook: The verge of winter

As the daylight hours seem to slip away, the temperatures are slowly getting lower and the silky flowing waters of rivers, lakes and streams begin… Continue reading

A snowshoe hare in its white winter coat. (Photo by Colin Canterbury/Kenai National Wildlife Refuge)
Moose are seen eating on the shoulder of Kenai Spur Highway on Wednesday, Oct. 21, 2020, outside of Soldotna, Alaska. (Ashlyn O’Hara/Peninsula Clarion)
Moose are seen eating on the shoulder of Kenai Spur Highway on Wednesday, Oct. 21, 2020, outside of Soldotna, Alaska. (Ashlyn O’Hara/Peninsula Clarion)
Basic Incident Command System organization chart. The ICS system has been used for many different types of incidents since its inception. (Chart from Federal Emergency Management Agency)

Refuge Notebook: Incident Command System adapts to record-setting wildfires

The August Complex Fire of 2020 on the Mendocino National Forest in northern California is officially the state’s largest wildfire in history. At over 1,000,000… Continue reading

Basic Incident Command System organization chart. The ICS system has been used for many different types of incidents since its inception. (Chart from Federal Emergency Management Agency)
The author is seen here skiing a little easier at Trail Lake near Seward. (Photo provided by Kat Sorensen)

Tangled Up in Blue: Grooming the trail

During my first winter spent cross-country skiing in Soldotna, I often found myself struggling to glide along the trails at Tsalteshi. I was learning, fumbling… Continue reading

The author is seen here skiing a little easier at Trail Lake near Seward. (Photo provided by Kat Sorensen)
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Out of the Office: Two weeks

I’ve been thinking a lot about the 1986 film “The Money Pit” lately. If you’re around my age, I’ve probably lost you already. But if… Continue reading

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The view looking north toward the pass from just above Juneau Lake. (Photo by Jack Carroll/Kenai National Wildlife Refuge)

Refuge Notebook: Finding refuge in the forest

As a park ranger for the Kenai National Wildlife Refuge, I get to spend a lot of time on the refuge’s trails and in the… Continue reading

The view looking north toward the pass from just above Juneau Lake. (Photo by Jack Carroll/Kenai National Wildlife Refuge)
Eivin Kilcher with his children and their flotsam treasures on Ushagat Island in August 2020. (Photo by Eve Kilcher)

Refuge Notebook: Flotsam ‘treasure’ harbors wealth of wildlife knowledge

This August, Eivin Kilcher was beachcombing on Ushagat Island when he saw something unusual. “I was thinking, whoa, that looks like a massive-something-important.” He and… Continue reading

Eivin Kilcher with his children and their flotsam treasures on Ushagat Island in August 2020. (Photo by Eve Kilcher)
The author and her voting sticker. (Photo by Kat Sorensen)

Tangled Up in Blue: I voted

I feel like I’ve been talking about voting for weeks, months … maybe more like 1,451 days, but I can’t stop talking about voting. I… Continue reading

The author and her voting sticker. (Photo by Kat Sorensen)
A section of the Diamond Creek beach has built up, with plants growing where 10 years ago there had been bare mud, as seen here on Sunday, Oct. 4, 2020, near Homer, Alaska. (Photo by Michael Armstrong/Homer News)

Out of the Office: Annual CoastWalk beach trek reveals changes, transformation

Volunteers in annual Center for Alaskan Coastal Studies program clean up, monitor beaches

A section of the Diamond Creek beach has built up, with plants growing where 10 years ago there had been bare mud, as seen here on Sunday, Oct. 4, 2020, near Homer, Alaska. (Photo by Michael Armstrong/Homer News)
The author is seen here, sharing the world at Lassen Volcanic National Park in California. (Photo courtesy of Patrick Lewis)

Tangled Up in Blue: Me, me, me

When I wait until the last minute to write Tangled Up in Blue, inspiration can be hard to come by. This morning, mere hours before… Continue reading

The author is seen here, sharing the world at Lassen Volcanic National Park in California. (Photo courtesy of Patrick Lewis)
A long, white strip of soft, white feathers running down the back gives the downy woodpecker its name. (Photo by Colin Canterbury/USFWS.

Refuge Notebook: The smallest woodpecker

On a recent sortie looking for grouse in the spruce forest of the northern Kenai Peninsula, I heard what sounded to me like a squeaky… Continue reading

A long, white strip of soft, white feathers running down the back gives the downy woodpecker its name. (Photo by Colin Canterbury/USFWS.
The climb up April Bowl provides expansive views, seen here Aug. 3, 2020 in Hatcher Pass, Alaska. (Photo by Megan Pacer/Homer News)
The climb up April Bowl provides expansive views, seen here Aug. 3, 2020 in Hatcher Pass, Alaska. (Photo by Megan Pacer/Homer News)
Andrew Berg outside his ҈omesteadӠcabin, which stood originally on Tustumena Lake and now stands at the headquarters of Kenai National Wildlife Refuge. (Photo provided by Kenai National Wildlife Refuge)
Andrew Berg outside his ҈omesteadӠcabin, which stood originally on Tustumena Lake and now stands at the headquarters of Kenai National Wildlife Refuge. (Photo provided by Kenai National Wildlife Refuge)
A photo of the author’s hands during a drier October full of blueberry picking. (Photo provided by Kat Sorensen)
A photo of the author’s hands during a drier October full of blueberry picking. (Photo provided by Kat Sorensen)
Refuge Notebook: Greater duckweed on Kenai Peninsula refuge
Refuge Notebook: Greater duckweed on Kenai Peninsula refuge
The Kenai River curls to Skilak Lake, as seen from the Hideout Trail on July 5, 2020. (Photo by Jeff Helminiak/Peninsula Clarion)

Out of the Office: Burn it all down

The plastic paradox and rockwork on Skyline Trail

The Kenai River curls to Skilak Lake, as seen from the Hideout Trail on July 5, 2020. (Photo by Jeff Helminiak/Peninsula Clarion)
Refuge Notebook: New trail makes Ski Hill safer
Refuge Notebook: New trail makes Ski Hill safer
A sign welcomes travelers to the Kenai Peninsula. (Photo by Ashlyn O’Hara/Peninsula Clarion)
A sign welcomes travelers to the Kenai Peninsula. (Photo by Ashlyn O’Hara/Peninsula Clarion)
A promo screen for the app “Agents of Discovery.” (Photo provided by Kenai National Wildlife Refuge)
A promo screen for the app “Agents of Discovery.” (Photo provided by Kenai National Wildlife Refuge)
Nick Varney

Reeling ‘Em In: Nick wraps up his summer fishing column

It was a short, strange, summer but it looks like the season for doubling the layers of my rain gear has finally arrived. Soon the… Continue reading

Nick Varney