Photo courtesy Zachary Brown vie the Juneau Empire Zachary Brown arrives at the Hobbit Hole.

A trip north: Gustavus scentist kayaks to Alaska

A Gustavus-grown scientist recently completed a 2,000 mile journey by foot and kayak from Stanford, California to Southeast Alaska, aiming to raise money for a… Continue reading

Photo courtesy Zachary Brown vie the Juneau Empire Zachary Brown arrives at the Hobbit Hole.
The Funny River Fire burns high in the Andrew Simons Wilderness Unit on the Kenai National Wildlife Refuge this past summer.  This unit is the largest of three that make up the 1.3 million-acre Kenai Wilderness. (Kenai National Wildlife Refuge photo)

Refuge Notebook: Celebrating 50 years of Wilderness

Just a few weeks ago, the Wilderness Act celebrated its 50th anniversary. Signed into law by President Lyndon Baines Johnson on September 3, 1964, the… Continue reading

The Funny River Fire burns high in the Andrew Simons Wilderness Unit on the Kenai National Wildlife Refuge this past summer.  This unit is the largest of three that make up the 1.3 million-acre Kenai Wilderness. (Kenai National Wildlife Refuge photo)

An Outdoor View: Distractions

While waiting for a bite the other day, it dawned upon me that the main reason I don’t catch many fish is because of distractions.For… Continue reading

This May 9, 2010 photo provided by Marijn van den Brink shows Tulipa polychroma, a wild tulip, in a remote unforgiving native habitat in the Sahand Mountains of northwestern Iran. The fragrant blooms begin to emerge as soon as the snow melts. Bumblebees rely on the nectar from these low-lying flowers to survive in early spring.  (AP Photo/Marijn van den Brink)

Go wild: Plant species tulips for early color

Maybe it’s time to rethink the way we landscape using tulips.True, the familiar, large, goblet-shaped blooms make a colorful springtime splash grouped in beds and… Continue reading

This May 9, 2010 photo provided by Marijn van den Brink shows Tulipa polychroma, a wild tulip, in a remote unforgiving native habitat in the Sahand Mountains of northwestern Iran. The fragrant blooms begin to emerge as soon as the snow melts. Bumblebees rely on the nectar from these low-lying flowers to survive in early spring.  (AP Photo/Marijn van den Brink)
In an Aug. 28, 2014 photo, a GPS device is shown along the Missouri River near Fort Benton, Mont. The Upper Missouri Breaks Interpretive Center recently established an EarthCache trail along the Wild and Scenic Upper Missouri River.(AP Photo/Great Falls Tribune, Erin Madison)

EarthCache trail teaches geology of Missouri River

FORT BENTON, Mont. (AP) — Just down river from Fort Benton stands Signal Point.The knob along the Missouri River is made up of glacier till,… Continue reading

In an Aug. 28, 2014 photo, a GPS device is shown along the Missouri River near Fort Benton, Mont. The Upper Missouri Breaks Interpretive Center recently established an EarthCache trail along the Wild and Scenic Upper Missouri River.(AP Photo/Great Falls Tribune, Erin Madison)
A sound recorder stationed at Glacier Lake, a remote glacial lake in the Kenai Mountains.  This site is among the quietest locations in Kenai National Wildlife Refuge with 97 percent of recordings consisting of natural silence.

Refuge Notebook: Silence in the Kenai Peninsula’s soundscape

Winter is coming. That is probably one of my favorite phrases from the Game of Thrones’ character, Eddard Stark, Lord of Winterfell. As Alaskans, I… Continue reading

A sound recorder stationed at Glacier Lake, a remote glacial lake in the Kenai Mountains.  This site is among the quietest locations in Kenai National Wildlife Refuge with 97 percent of recordings consisting of natural silence.

Pirates and salmon

Arrr! Avast, matey! Pump yer bilge, weigh yer anchor, and batten down yer hatches. Sept. 19 be International Talk Like a Pirate Day.It be a… Continue reading

This undated photo shows sprinkling soybean meal on the hay within this compost pile is one way to add nitrogen for quicker composting, in New Paltz, New York. (AP Photo/Lee Reich)

Compost Happens: tips for making it happen right

As the bumper sticker on my truck reads, “Compost Happens.” Sometimes, however, it doesn’t happen fast enough.That problem usually can be traced to some limiting… Continue reading

This undated photo shows sprinkling soybean meal on the hay within this compost pile is one way to add nitrogen for quicker composting, in New Paltz, New York. (AP Photo/Lee Reich)
In this September 2013 photo, Ryan Freeman, left, and Andy Gonerka, right, enjoy the view from the summit of South Sister, Oregon's third tallest mountain, which looks out at Middle and North Sister immediately to the north. near Sisters, Ore.(AP Photo/The Statesman Journal, Zach Urness)

Summit inspires generation of climbers

SISTERS, Ore. (AP) — As first-time climber Adam Rosalez stood in the shadow of Oregon’s third-tallest mountain on a perfect September morning, he couldn’t help… Continue reading

In this September 2013 photo, Ryan Freeman, left, and Andy Gonerka, right, enjoy the view from the summit of South Sister, Oregon's third tallest mountain, which looks out at Middle and North Sister immediately to the north. near Sisters, Ore.(AP Photo/The Statesman Journal, Zach Urness)
In this July, 2013, photo, from left, Robin Hanley, Bjorn Dihle, Lynnette Dihle and Nils Dihle watch bears on the shore of Middle Creek on Admiralty Island near Windfall Harbor, Alaska.  The area around Pack Creek, a bear-viewing area on Admiralty Island, offers some amazing sights not too far from Juneau, Alaska.(AP Photo/Juneau Empire, Mary Catharine Martin)

Welcome to the bear show

Last summer, my boyfriend Bjorn and I went for a three-day sun-drenched kayak trip at Admiralty Island’s Windfall Harbor. We squinted into the merciless horizon… Continue reading

In this July, 2013, photo, from left, Robin Hanley, Bjorn Dihle, Lynnette Dihle and Nils Dihle watch bears on the shore of Middle Creek on Admiralty Island near Windfall Harbor, Alaska.  The area around Pack Creek, a bear-viewing area on Admiralty Island, offers some amazing sights not too far from Juneau, Alaska.(AP Photo/Juneau Empire, Mary Catharine Martin)
Aerial view of the Kenai Flats, where 187 bird species have been documented over the past five decades. (Photo courtesy Kenai National Wildlife Refuge)

Refuge Notebook: Bird checklist of the Kenai Flats – It’s about time

My favorite place to birdwatch, or “bird,” on the Kenai Peninsula is the Kenai Flats. “The Flats” are not merely the wetlands you see from… Continue reading

Aerial view of the Kenai Flats, where 187 bird species have been documented over the past five decades. (Photo courtesy Kenai National Wildlife Refuge)

An Outdoor View: Long Live the King

On Aug. 8, I attended the Wild and Scenic Film Festival in Kenai. One of the films really raised my hackles.“Long Live the King,” a… Continue reading

ADVANCE FOR WEEKEND EDITIONS SEPT. 6-7 - In this Aug. 23, 2014 photo, Brook and Lisa Swanson are in perfect synch as they paddle their racing canoe in the Spokane River Classic in Spokane, Wash. (AP Photo/The Spokesman-Review, Rich Landers)  COEUR D'ALENE PRESS OUT

Truly efficient paddling takes practice, patience

SPOKANE, Wash. (AP) — Anyone can move a canoe, kayak or stand-up paddleboard over the water, but precious few have savored the joy of paddling… Continue reading

ADVANCE FOR WEEKEND EDITIONS SEPT. 6-7 - In this Aug. 23, 2014 photo, Brook and Lisa Swanson are in perfect synch as they paddle their racing canoe in the Spokane River Classic in Spokane, Wash. (AP Photo/The Spokesman-Review, Rich Landers)  COEUR D'ALENE PRESS OUT
The Tiglax at the Chowiot Island field camp, on a spectacular Aleutian afternoon. (E. Bella/Refuge)

Refuge Notebook: A journey through botanical time

While understanding the ecological system of the place where you work and inhabit is an invaluable, lengthy process, the chance to occasionally visit new places… Continue reading

The Tiglax at the Chowiot Island field camp, on a spectacular Aleutian afternoon. (E. Bella/Refuge)
This March 24, 2014 photo shows a bumble bee searching for nectar from a Rosemary plant near Langley, Wash. Honeybees are irreplaceable as pollinators but you can somewhat offset their loss by attracting beetles, butterflies and moths, dragonflies, feral bees, bumblebees and wasps, among others. (AP Photo/By Dean Fosdick)

Bees aren’t the only pollinators you can attract

The dramatic loss of honeybees to changing land use, viruses and pesticides is alarming, and they are irreplaceable as pollinators. But you can somewhat offset… Continue reading

This March 24, 2014 photo shows a bumble bee searching for nectar from a Rosemary plant near Langley, Wash. Honeybees are irreplaceable as pollinators but you can somewhat offset their loss by attracting beetles, butterflies and moths, dragonflies, feral bees, bumblebees and wasps, among others. (AP Photo/By Dean Fosdick)
Mike Yochim, 47, a National Parks Service planner, left, helps his friend Eric Compas decide on the meals to carry for a canoe trip on Thursday, Aug. 20, 2014, in Gardiner, Mont. Yochim was diagnosed with Amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS) in September 2013 and will be joined by three of his closest friends for one last wilderness trip around Yellowstone Lake. (AP Photo/Bozeman Daily Chronicle, Adrian Sanchez-Gonzalez)

Once more into the wild

GARDINER, Mont. (AP) — Mike Yochim asked for help up from a blue chair in his living room with windows overlooking a cloud-covered Electric Peak.Using… Continue reading

Mike Yochim, 47, a National Parks Service planner, left, helps his friend Eric Compas decide on the meals to carry for a canoe trip on Thursday, Aug. 20, 2014, in Gardiner, Mont. Yochim was diagnosed with Amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS) in September 2013 and will be joined by three of his closest friends for one last wilderness trip around Yellowstone Lake. (AP Photo/Bozeman Daily Chronicle, Adrian Sanchez-Gonzalez)

Restoring snowmobile history

CASPER, Wyo. — One of the snowmobiles looks a little like a 1970s space-pod with tracks.A rider sits inside, like a car, and the roof… Continue reading

Scottish kids and their chaperones pose in front of a historical 4-ton steam boiler (once used in a lumber mill) that they moved from the shores of Tustumena Lake to higher ground with levers, pulleys and sweat this past summer.  (Photo courtesy Kenai National Wildlife Refuge)

Refuge Notebook: Scottish kids help restore cabins on the Kenai National Wildlife Refuge

In the summer of 2006 I was fortunate enough to meet Gary Titus and so began the story of this trans-Atlantic partnership between the Kenai… Continue reading

Scottish kids and their chaperones pose in front of a historical 4-ton steam boiler (once used in a lumber mill) that they moved from the shores of Tustumena Lake to higher ground with levers, pulleys and sweat this past summer.  (Photo courtesy Kenai National Wildlife Refuge)

An Outdoor View: Fast fishing

Author’s note: This week’s column first appeared Nov. 13, 1987, in “The Tides,” a Clarion supplement.By looking back, we can see how different people helped… Continue reading

Aerial view of the Bluff Point Landslide taken at a recent minus-5.3-foot low tide. The slide originally extended to the edge of the boulder field, but has eroded back 400-600 yards to the present beach bluff.  (Photo by Ian Reid of Eagle Eye Gallery)

Refuge Notebook: Geologists determine age of Bluff Point Landslide

Many Homerites remember when they first came down the Sterling Highway and stopped at the Baycrest Overlook. The view of Kachemak Bay, the mountains and… Continue reading

Aerial view of the Bluff Point Landslide taken at a recent minus-5.3-foot low tide. The slide originally extended to the edge of the boulder field, but has eroded back 400-600 yards to the present beach bluff.  (Photo by Ian Reid of Eagle Eye Gallery)