A hairy woodpecker on the Hagerman National Wildlife Refuge in Texas. Notice the bill is as long as the head? (Photo by Laurie Sheppard, USFWS National Digital Library)

Refuge Notebook: Woodpecker doppelgangers

I was listening to the distinct sound of a woodpecker drumming a few days ago and caught a flash of a black and white bird.… Continue reading

A hairy woodpecker on the Hagerman National Wildlife Refuge in Texas. Notice the bill is as long as the head? (Photo by Laurie Sheppard, USFWS National Digital Library)
The Kenai National Wildlife Refuge, Nov. 3, 2021. (Photo by Jeff Helminiak/Peninsula Clarion)

Out of the Office: Best ski of the year

Memory is strongly tied to place. That’s why I can never take the ski from Arc Lake to Slikok Lake without thinking of Alan Boraas,… Continue reading

The Kenai National Wildlife Refuge, Nov. 3, 2021. (Photo by Jeff Helminiak/Peninsula Clarion)
Moose, the impetus, for David Spencerճ start on the Kenai National Moose Range. (Photo by C. Canterbury/FWS)

Refuge Notebook: Introduction to David Spencer, 1st manager of Kenai National Moose Range

In 1941, President Franklin D. Roosevelt established the Kenai National Moose Range. Today this nearly 2-million-acre tract of public land is known as the Kenai… Continue reading

Moose, the impetus, for David Spencerճ start on the Kenai National Moose Range. (Photo by C. Canterbury/FWS)
Camille Botello and Benito hike in Denali National Park on Sept. 18, 2021. (Ashlyn O’Hara)

Out of the Office: Furry friend

Adventuring in Alaska has been much better with my fur buddy. Moving to the Kenai Peninsula from the Lower 48 is a pretty large feat… Continue reading

Camille Botello and Benito hike in Denali National Park on Sept. 18, 2021. (Ashlyn O’Hara)
The Kenai National Moose Range's three LeTourneau crushers off of Mystery Creek Road, March 14, 1978. (Photo provided by USFWS)

Refuge Notebook: Forest regeneration efforts benefit moose on wildlife refuge

From time to time, we reshare past Refuge Notebook articles. We selected this article as part of our efforts to commemorate the Kenai National Wildlife… Continue reading

The Kenai National Moose Range's three LeTourneau crushers off of Mystery Creek Road, March 14, 1978. (Photo provided by USFWS)
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.

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)
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

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)
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

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