In this photo taken Sunday, March 30, 2014 and provided by Ed Plumb, unicyclist Elliott Wilson leaves a checkpoint during the White Mountains 100-mile ultra-marathon, north of Fairbanks, Alaska. When Wilson decided to ride a unicycle in the White Mountains 100 endurance race, he knew it was an off-the-wall idea. After all, most people wouldn't think about riding 100 miles on snowmachine and dog mushing trails in late March in Fairbanks on two wheels, much less one. Wilson succeeded, much to the surprise of himself, as well as some of Fairbanks' foremost two wheelers. (AP Photo/Ed Plumb)

Fairbanks unicyclist completes 100-mile race

FAIRBANKS, Alaska — When Elliot Wilson decided to ride a unicycle in the White Mountains 100 endurance race, he knew it was an off-the-wall idea.After… Continue reading

In this photo taken Sunday, March 30, 2014 and provided by Ed Plumb, unicyclist Elliott Wilson leaves a checkpoint during the White Mountains 100-mile ultra-marathon, north of Fairbanks, Alaska. When Wilson decided to ride a unicycle in the White Mountains 100 endurance race, he knew it was an off-the-wall idea. After all, most people wouldn't think about riding 100 miles on snowmachine and dog mushing trails in late March in Fairbanks on two wheels, much less one. Wilson succeeded, much to the surprise of himself, as well as some of Fairbanks' foremost two wheelers. (AP Photo/Ed Plumb)

Wetlands donated to Montana’s Outdoor Legacy Foundation

BIGFORK, Mont. (AP) — Thirty acres of land with 3,500 feet of Flathead River shoreline has been donated to Montana’s Outdoor Legacy Foundation. The Missoulian… Continue reading

Photo courtesy Kenai National Wildlife Refuge

Refuge Notebook: Defining Wilderness in a climate changing world

What is “wilderness”? It’s much easier to say what it isn’t than what it is.  It certainly isn’t Central Park. Sometimes it’s tough to acknowledge… Continue reading

Photo courtesy Kenai National Wildlife Refuge

Les Palmer: Remember the Exxon Valdez

Author’s note: The Clarion first published this column on Mar. 17, 2009, the 20th anniversary of Alaska’s worst environmental disaster to date. Lest we forget,… Continue reading

In this photo taken March 7, 2014, Brian Grossman, poses with his mountain bike near Shevlin Park in Bend, Ore.  Grossman is racing the Cape Epic, an eight-day, 445-mile mountain bike race in South Africa that includes more than 48,720 feet of vertical climbing in temperatures over 100 degrees. Grossman is racing to raise funds and awareness for Kids in the Game, a Bend nonprofit he co-founded that provides financial support for underprivileged youths to help them get active and participate in sports. (AP Photo/The Bulletin, Robb Kerr)

Mountain biker headed for epic Africa race

BEND, Ore. — It has been called the Tour de France of mountain bike stage races. The eight-day Cape Epic in South Africa spans nearly… Continue reading

In this photo taken March 7, 2014, Brian Grossman, poses with his mountain bike near Shevlin Park in Bend, Ore.  Grossman is racing the Cape Epic, an eight-day, 445-mile mountain bike race in South Africa that includes more than 48,720 feet of vertical climbing in temperatures over 100 degrees. Grossman is racing to raise funds and awareness for Kids in the Game, a Bend nonprofit he co-founded that provides financial support for underprivileged youths to help them get active and participate in sports. (AP Photo/The Bulletin, Robb Kerr)
In this photo taken March 7, 2014, a number of self healing targets are displayed including some that have taken hundreds of rounds from pistols and rifles in Emmett, Idaho. If you're a shooter, you know putting holes in paper can get boring. No matter how tight a group you can shoot, it can be just as satisfying to make an aluminum can dance with a .22 rifle. With the exploding popularity of AR-15 rifles, lots of folks have taken their plinking to a new level at longer distances and with different targets. (AP Photo/Idaho Statesman, Roger Phillips)

Spring plinking: a guide to safe target shooting

BOISE, Idaho — If you’re a shooter, you know putting holes in paper can get boring. No matter how tight a group you can shoot,… Continue reading

In this photo taken March 7, 2014, a number of self healing targets are displayed including some that have taken hundreds of rounds from pistols and rifles in Emmett, Idaho. If you're a shooter, you know putting holes in paper can get boring. No matter how tight a group you can shoot, it can be just as satisfying to make an aluminum can dance with a .22 rifle. With the exploding popularity of AR-15 rifles, lots of folks have taken their plinking to a new level at longer distances and with different targets. (AP Photo/Idaho Statesman, Roger Phillips)
Steller's Jay photo by Glenn Bartley/www.birds.audobon.org

Refuge Notebook: Two jays for two biomes

A couple weeks ago, a small flock of Steller’s Jays flew across the Sterling Highway as I drove past the Welcome to Soldotna sign. Their… Continue reading

Steller's Jay photo by Glenn Bartley/www.birds.audobon.org

Les Palmer: 50 years in Alaska

Fishing and writing have taken me on trips to the wild places I imagined as a kid while reading stories about British Columbia and Alaska.A… Continue reading

Art Bookstrom, 75, breaks trail on a cross-country skiing route he marked with orange triangles for the enjoyment of skiers who want an old-fashioned nordic skiing experience off the wide, groomed trails at Mount Spokane State Park. (AP Photo/The Spokesman-Review, Rich Landers)

Nordic skiing off groomed trails evokes old days

SPOKANE, Wash. (AP) — It’s the skinny skier’s version of venturing off-piste at Mount Spokane’s Cross-Country Ski Park.Unannounced by signs, a discrete series of orange… Continue reading

Art Bookstrom, 75, breaks trail on a cross-country skiing route he marked with orange triangles for the enjoyment of skiers who want an old-fashioned nordic skiing experience off the wide, groomed trails at Mount Spokane State Park. (AP Photo/The Spokesman-Review, Rich Landers)
In this November 2008  photo provided b TwoSticksAndABoard.com, Sean Busby stands at scenic site in Antarctica. By riding the highest mountain range in North Africa this year, Busby became the first person with Type 1 diabetes to snowboard on all seven continents. (AP Photo/TwoSticksAndABoard.com)

Diabetic snowboarder Sean Busby rides 7 continents

While a few of his former teammates were competing for gold, silver and bronze, Sean Busby was rounding out a set hardly any Olympian can… Continue reading

In this November 2008  photo provided b TwoSticksAndABoard.com, Sean Busby stands at scenic site in Antarctica. By riding the highest mountain range in North Africa this year, Busby became the first person with Type 1 diabetes to snowboard on all seven continents. (AP Photo/TwoSticksAndABoard.com)
Photo courtesy Kenai National Wildlife Refuge The Kenai National Wildlife Refuge Visitor Center is under construction on Ski Hill Road in Soldotna.

Refuge Notebook: New Visitor Center Becoming Reality

Up from the icy ground adjacent to the Kenai National Wildlife Refuge Headquarters in Soldotna, a building has grown. Through snow fall and rain, during… Continue reading

Photo courtesy Kenai National Wildlife Refuge The Kenai National Wildlife Refuge Visitor Center is under construction on Ski Hill Road in Soldotna.

Les Palmer: Blown off again

My wife and I and another couple were all cranked up and ready to go king salmon fishing out of Homer Monday morning, but an… Continue reading

Faster, safer avalanche rescue

Alaska Electric Light & Power Inc. has purchased a piece of equipment — a long-range receiver that mounts to a helicopter — that will make… Continue reading

Ice skating: an adventure in embarrassing the kids

SUNRIVER, Ore. (AP) — “What did you think about ice skating?” I asked my daughter Lucy.“Eh. It was OK,” she replied, distracted by her reading.We… Continue reading

Ted Bailey (left) stands by a tranquilized white rhinoceros in Umfolozi-Hluhlulwe Game Reserve in South Africa's KwaZulu-Natal Province in 1975.

Refuge Notebook: Kruger National Park, Kenai National Wildlife Refuge share common conservation issues

Before we moved to Alaska, my family and I lived two years in South Africa’s Kruger National Park (KNP), where I conducted research on African… Continue reading

Ted Bailey (left) stands by a tranquilized white rhinoceros in Umfolozi-Hluhlulwe Game Reserve in South Africa's KwaZulu-Natal Province in 1975.
Ed Yankowski, left, and Tommy Haines, rear left, chase the puck Sunday, Feb. 9, 2014 at what has been nicknamed Greedy's Pond in Coralville, Iowa.  Last winter, Coralville resident David Greedy began clearing the snow off this secluded pond at the bottom of a tree-lined ravine that runs through his neighborhood. Since then, it's been a winter meet-up spot for the small but growing group of pond hockey lovers.  (AP Photo/Iowa City Press-Citizen, Josh O'Leary)  NO SALES

Pond hockey: ‘As pure as it gets’

CORALVILLE, Iowa (AP) — It was the kind of day where beards sprouted icicles, wearing wool socks was an exercise in wishful thinking, and your… Continue reading

Ed Yankowski, left, and Tommy Haines, rear left, chase the puck Sunday, Feb. 9, 2014 at what has been nicknamed Greedy's Pond in Coralville, Iowa.  Last winter, Coralville resident David Greedy began clearing the snow off this secluded pond at the bottom of a tree-lined ravine that runs through his neighborhood. Since then, it's been a winter meet-up spot for the small but growing group of pond hockey lovers.  (AP Photo/Iowa City Press-Citizen, Josh O'Leary)  NO SALES

Les Palmer: All about the black spruce

If you live on the Kenai Peninsula, you live either in or near black spruce, Picea mariana.This is a tree that actually prefers acidic soil… Continue reading

Homer doctor, friends snowmachine to Nome

For the 22nd year, Paul Sayer, a Homer physician, is getting ready to take the same two-week, mid-winter vacation he has taken every year before:… Continue reading

Volunteers Mike Kesterson and Carlos Paez release a radio-tagged Bald Eagle captured on the Upper Kenai River during the winter of 1984-85.

Refuge Notebook: A demonstration of age and beauty

On a frosty morning in February 1985, biologists from the Kenai National Wildlife Refuge hunkered down in the bushes waiting for takers on their carefully… Continue reading

Volunteers Mike Kesterson and Carlos Paez release a radio-tagged Bald Eagle captured on the Upper Kenai River during the winter of 1984-85.
In this Feb. 9, 2014 photo, David Siemk of Morton Grove, Ill., uses hatchets and spiked shoes called "crampons" while ice climbing at the more than 100-foot-tall Wildcat Canyon icefall at Starved Rock State Park new Utica, Ill. The shoes are generally composed of 10 steel spikes pointing down for traction and two pointing forward to stab and hold in vertical ice. (AP Photo/NewsTribune, Scott Anderson)

Perfect conditions for perfect climbing

UTICA, Ill. (AP) — Year-round tourist attraction Starved Rock State Park does not attract mountaineers every year.But an extremely cold December, January and February, with… Continue reading

In this Feb. 9, 2014 photo, David Siemk of Morton Grove, Ill., uses hatchets and spiked shoes called "crampons" while ice climbing at the more than 100-foot-tall Wildcat Canyon icefall at Starved Rock State Park new Utica, Ill. The shoes are generally composed of 10 steel spikes pointing down for traction and two pointing forward to stab and hold in vertical ice. (AP Photo/NewsTribune, Scott Anderson)