An Outdoor View: Fishing buddies

You rarely find “fishing buddy” listed as a necessity in a how-to article about fishing, but a buddy is every bit as necessary as tackle… Continue reading

The author along the Swanson River and Swan Lake canoe system on the Kenai National Wildlife Refuge. The canoe system is accessed via Swanson River Road in Sterling. (Photo courtesy Dave Atcheson)

Tight Lines: The quiet alternative

It’s not unusual in Alaska (at least anywhere on the road system) to round the corner and be struck by a scene that looks more… Continue reading

The author along the Swanson River and Swan Lake canoe system on the Kenai National Wildlife Refuge. The canoe system is accessed via Swanson River Road in Sterling. (Photo courtesy Dave Atcheson)
The Lords of the Chunk, a team from Purdue University College of Technology, send a pumpkin down the firing line at the Harvest Homecoming Pumpkin Chunk on Tuesday, Oct. 7, 2014 in New Albany, Ind. Six teams built trebuchets for the first-ever event.  (AP Photo/News and Tribune, Staff, Jerod Clapp)

Pumpkin chunk a smashing success

NEW ALBANY, Ind. (AP) — Each stood about 15 feet tall or so, carefully engineered and built specifically for a singular purpose: launching pumpkins about… Continue reading

The Lords of the Chunk, a team from Purdue University College of Technology, send a pumpkin down the firing line at the Harvest Homecoming Pumpkin Chunk on Tuesday, Oct. 7, 2014 in New Albany, Ind. Six teams built trebuchets for the first-ever event.  (AP Photo/News and Tribune, Staff, Jerod Clapp)

Refuge Notebook: Special regulations for furbearer trapping on the refuge

As the days get shorter, morning temperatures dip below freezing and termination dust starts to appear on the mountains, it’s evident that fall is in… Continue reading

An Outdoor View: On being a foodie

After years of thinking that fishing was my favorite pastime, I now realize that I was mistaken. My favorite pastime actually is eating.Who knows where… Continue reading

Research links the forests of the Kenai Peninsula and Amazon

Research links the forests of the Kenai Peninsula and Amazon

Recently, I and other researchers from the University of Arizona, Michigan State University, and the University of Washington visited the Kenai Peninsula to collaborate with… Continue reading

Research links the forests of the Kenai Peninsula and Amazon
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)