Refuge Notebook

Refuge Notebook: New trail makes Ski Hill safer

Path welcomes all nonmotorized user groups

 

Refuge Notebook: Kenai birches came from Asia

Evidence still needed to show what Kenai birch conclusively is

 

Refuge Notebook: Landslides awakening in our glaciated mountains

In 2015, a slope above Taan Fiord — an arm of Icy Bay not too far from Yakutat — suddenly collapsed. It had been creeping… Continue reading

Refuge Notebook: Migrations of the Kenai Lowland caribou

Being a seasonal biology technician has its perks. Every summer is a new adventure full of incredible fieldwork, new friends and amazing locations. Much like… Continue reading

Refuge Notebook: What happened when the ocean warmed

The 2014 to 2016 marine heatwave, or “the blob,” in the Gulf of Alaska was connected to one of the largest known seabird die-offs globally.… Continue reading

It pays to Firewise. This structure survived the 2007 Caribou Hills Fire. (Photo provided by Kenai National Wildlife Refuge)

Refuge Notebook: Are you Firewise?

As a young Idaho firefighter, enthusiasm and an eagerness to get dropped off on a remote mountain hillside to “slay the dragon” came in no… Continue reading

It pays to Firewise. This structure survived the 2007 Caribou Hills Fire. (Photo provided by Kenai National Wildlife Refuge)

Refuge Notebook: Battered sallow moth caterpillars come and go

In early June, I received multiple accounts of abundant black caterpillars stripping trees and shrubs of foliage around the Marsh Lake Trail off of Skilak… Continue reading

Refuge Notebook: This land is your land, this land is my land

Bucket list! Once-in-a-lifetime! Saved up for years! Not enough time to see it all! Dream destination! I hear these exclamations at the refuge’s visitor center… Continue reading

Tales of a Federal Wildlife Officer: Brown bears at Russian River

The opening of this year’s sockeye fishery at the Kenai/Russian River confluence brought reports of two yearling brown bear cubs making regular appearances along the… Continue reading

Refuge Notebook: Kenai fuel break will extend protection of communities

It’s no secret that wildfires play a significant ecological role in Alaska’s boreal forests, including those here on the western Kenai Peninsula. Everyone who drives… Continue reading

Student Julia Merculief in St. Paul, Alaska, explores refuge islands using virtual reality headsets. (Photo by Kendra Bush/USFWS)

Refuge notebook: Visiting remote refuge wilderness from a classroom desk

As the education specialist for the Alaska Maritime National Wildlife Refuge, it is my job to bring the wonders of the refuge’s wildlife and awe-inspiring… Continue reading

Student Julia Merculief in St. Paul, Alaska, explores refuge islands using virtual reality headsets. (Photo by Kendra Bush/USFWS)

Refuge Notebook: Aleutian Islands oddities can win bets

Want to win a beer bet? Ask someone the location of the most southerly point in Alaska. The answer isn’t in Southeast, near Ketchikan. Rather,… Continue reading

Refuge Notebook: The roles of morels

While people have been taking advantage of the abundance of morels following last year’s Swan Lake Fire, I have been asked many questions about them.… Continue reading

Refuge Notebook: Spruce beetles 2020

Spruce beetles are at it again. I am sad to see large trees in Soldotna with patches of missing bark that indicate woodpeckers are finding… Continue reading

Refuge Notebook: One person’s trash is another’s artifact

Archaeology. OK, what was the first thing that came to your mind when you read that word? I hope it wasn’t Indiana Jones, or dinosaurs!… Continue reading

Refuge Notebook: Learning to love the ‘sweat and shiver’ diet

Have you ever spent a weekend camping, maybe a long weekend, when the rain never seemed to quit? Where on the last day, all you… Continue reading

Refuge Notebook: Forest morels: Year after fire brings rewards

2019 will be synonymous with wildland fire for most of the residents of the Kenai Peninsula, and as the details of date and time fade… Continue reading

Refuge Notebook: Recreational safety after the Swan Lake Fire

Residents of the Kenai Peninsula are all too familiar with wildfire after the summer of 2019. Not only did the Swan Lake Fire burn for… Continue reading