Andrew Marley, the 2021 Homer Winter King Salmon Tournament winner, at left, holds his prize winning 25.62-pound white king salmon on Saturday, April 17, 2021, on the Homer Spit in Homer, Alaska. Helping him are his father, Jay Marley, center, and older brother Weston Marley, right. The family team included Erica Marley, not shown, all fishing on the Fly Dough. (Photo by Michael Armstrong/Homer News)

Andrew Marley, 10, wins Homer Winter King Tournament

‘Quite a bit of that is going to go to college tuition,’ dad says of son’s $87,000 earnings

 

Michael Armstrong is properly outfitted for an Arctic summer hiking trip in this photo taken in 1989 along the Wulik River in northeastern Alaska. (Photo by Charles Barnwell.)

Out of the Office: Living in Alaska is a lifetime in learning

From boots to parkas, there’s lots to figure out about surviving in the Last Frontier

 

The author works at her former desk at the Peninsula Clarion in 2017 in Kenai, Alaska. (Photo by Ben Boettger)

Out of the Office: For good, for now

“Five hundred twenty-five thousand six hundred minutes.” If that figure immediately transports you to the famous number from the musical “Rent,” you’ve caught my drift.… Continue reading

 

A snowmachine at rest in front of the Snag Lake public use cabin. (Photo provided by USFWS)

Preparedness is key to staying safe in the backcountry

If you spend any time in the backcountry it’s bound to happen: an ankle sprain halfway into a day hike, the afternoon blowup that unexpectedly… Continue reading

A snowmachine at rest in front of the Snag Lake public use cabin. (Photo provided by USFWS)
Photo provided by USFWS 
Kenai National Wildlife Refuge staff groom Marsh Lake Trail for snowshoeing and cross-country skiing.

Refuge Notebook: When life gives you lemons, make a trail

The cross-country ski trails adjacent to the Kenai National Wildlife Refuge Headquarters and Visitor Center at the top of Ski Hill Road in Soldotna are… Continue reading

Photo provided by USFWS 
Kenai National Wildlife Refuge staff groom Marsh Lake Trail for snowshoeing and cross-country skiing.
Photo by Jeff Helminiak/Peninsula Clarion 
The author gets warm with a mask at Alaska’s Matanuska Glacier on Sunday, March 7, 20201.

Out of the Office: Warming up to masks

A March 3 lead paragraph in a news story in The New York Times asked, “When can I throw away my mask?” For me, the… Continue reading

Photo by Jeff Helminiak/Peninsula Clarion 
The author gets warm with a mask at Alaska’s Matanuska Glacier on Sunday, March 7, 20201.
Photos courtesy of Mandy Lindeberg, NOAA, and Brenda Konar, University of Alaska Fairbanks 
Blood stars (top left) and leather stars (top right) were less impacted by the disease and are more likely to be seen today. Sunflower sea stars (bottom left), mottled sea stars (lower center, this one showing symptoms of disease) and ochre sea stars (lower right) used to be common, but were most affected by the disease and have become more rare.

Refuge Notebook: The fall of sea stars

Sea stars are a keystone species. As a top predator, they can restructure intertidal communities. For example, by feeding on mussels, they open up limited… Continue reading

Photos courtesy of Mandy Lindeberg, NOAA, and Brenda Konar, University of Alaska Fairbanks 
Blood stars (top left) and leather stars (top right) were less impacted by the disease and are more likely to be seen today. Sunflower sea stars (bottom left), mottled sea stars (lower center, this one showing symptoms of disease) and ochre sea stars (lower right) used to be common, but were most affected by the disease and have become more rare.
Kenya Pace looks for beluga whales on March 3, 2021, along the Kenai River near Kenai, Alaska. (Photo by Teresa Becher)

Beluga whale monitoring efforts looking for winter sightings in Kenai, Kasilof rivers and in lower Cook Inlet

About 10 beluga whales sighted south of Ninilchik

Kenya Pace looks for beluga whales on March 3, 2021, along the Kenai River near Kenai, Alaska. (Photo by Teresa Becher)
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Out of the Office: Glacial musings

After living in Alaska for a certain amount of time, one can start to feel like a regular, like one has the measure of the… Continue reading

Teaser photo
A young beaver enjoys a willow branch snack on a pond in the Skilak Wildlife Recreation Area. (Photo by Colin Canterbury, Kenai National Wildlife Refuge)

Refuge Notebook: Leave it to beavers

I was skiing along a lake in the canoe system on a clear, cold winter day, enjoying the crisp fresh air and the shushing sound… Continue reading

A young beaver enjoys a willow branch snack on a pond in the Skilak Wildlife Recreation Area. (Photo by Colin Canterbury, Kenai National Wildlife Refuge)
Photo by Colin Canterbury/USFWS 
A great gray owl perches in an aspen tree on the Kenai National Wildlife Refuge.

Refuge notebook: Winter is the season for finding great gray owls

Winter can be a fantastic time to observe owls. Owls can be very secretive, sitting quietly in trees with color patterns that provide effective camouflage.… Continue reading

  • Feb 24, 2021
  • By DAWN ROBIN MAGNESS Kenai National Wildlife Refuge
  • SportsOutdoors
Photo by Colin Canterbury/USFWS 
A great gray owl perches in an aspen tree on the Kenai National Wildlife Refuge.
A day on Kachemak Bay. (Ashlyn O’Hara/Peninsula Clarion)

Out of the Office: Water taxi talking

Reporters spend a lot of time talking to people: people they don’t know, people they do know, people who really don’t want to talk to… Continue reading

A day on Kachemak Bay. (Ashlyn O’Hara/Peninsula Clarion)
Salt marshes are important food sources for brown bears. As we see an earlier start to the growing season or increased plant growth, bears will likely benefit from them even more. (Photo by Michael Hannam/NPS)

Refuge Notebook: Could bears benefit from changing coastal marshes?

Flying over the Cook Inlet coast, you can look down and see expansive salt marshes where mountain rivers meet the sea in lush green meadows.… Continue reading

Salt marshes are important food sources for brown bears. As we see an earlier start to the growing season or increased plant growth, bears will likely benefit from them even more. (Photo by Michael Hannam/NPS)
A red-breasted nuthatch looks over its shoulder between bites of suet in a hanging-cage style feeder. (Photo by Todd Eskelin/USFWS)

Refuge Notebook: Social distancing is not just for humans

Salmonella is a type of bacteria that hits our news feeds often. Infections in human foods cause illness across the country and often result in… Continue reading

A red-breasted nuthatch looks over its shoulder between bites of suet in a hanging-cage style feeder. (Photo by Todd Eskelin/USFWS)
Phil Basargin 5-year-old Maxim Basargin around the ice Saturday, Feb. 6, 2021 during the Skate the Lake event on Beluga Lake in Homer, Alaska. The free skating event was hosted for the community by the Homer Hockey Association. (Photo by Megan Pacer/Homer News)

Homerites take to the lake in skate event

Homer Hockey Association hosted Skate the Lake for the community

Phil Basargin 5-year-old Maxim Basargin around the ice Saturday, Feb. 6, 2021 during the Skate the Lake event on Beluga Lake in Homer, Alaska. The free skating event was hosted for the community by the Homer Hockey Association. (Photo by Megan Pacer/Homer News)
Photo by Colin Canterbury/USFWS 
A rare photograph of a shrew during winter. This shrew was observed above the snow where it had been sneaking out of the subnivean zone for short periods of time, possibly to exploit seeds or suet that had fallen on top of the snow beneath a bird feeder in Soldotna.

Refuge notebook: The hidden subnivean

Alaska summers are fast paced with people, wildlife and plants all in apparent frenzy trying to capitalize on warm temperatures and sunlight. And with good… Continue reading

Photo by Colin Canterbury/USFWS 
A rare photograph of a shrew during winter. This shrew was observed above the snow where it had been sneaking out of the subnivean zone for short periods of time, possibly to exploit seeds or suet that had fallen on top of the snow beneath a bird feeder in Soldotna.
Predaceous flatworms hide under leaves by day in a spring near Soldotna Airport on Dec. 21, 2017. At night they hunt for other invertebrates. (Photo by Matt Bowser/USFWS)

Refuge Notebook: Life in Kenai Peninsula freshwater springs

I like winter. I really do. The cold and the dark don’t wear on me too much as long as I can get out and… Continue reading

Predaceous flatworms hide under leaves by day in a spring near Soldotna Airport on Dec. 21, 2017. At night they hunt for other invertebrates. (Photo by Matt Bowser/USFWS)
Photo by Katrina Liebich/USFWS 
A fish friendly culvert in Alaska.

Refuge Notebook: What’s your number? Mine is 5

Have you ever considered how many salmon streams you cross on your daily drive to work, school or another location you frequent? My number is… Continue reading

Photo by Katrina Liebich/USFWS 
A fish friendly culvert in Alaska.
Photo by Matt Bowser/USFWS 
Biological intern Annaleese Rasanen surveys severely burned alpine shrub tundra within the Swan Lake Fire burn July 27, 2020.

Refuge Notebook: A refuge manager’s perspective on 2020

A friend and colleague recently sent me a list of “things to consider” as 2020 drew to a close (all credit to the unidentified source… Continue reading

Photo by Matt Bowser/USFWS 
Biological intern Annaleese Rasanen surveys severely burned alpine shrub tundra within the Swan Lake Fire burn July 27, 2020.
Fletcher runs through the snow on Saturday, Jan. 2, 2021, on Diamond Ridge near Homer, Alaska. (Photo by Michael Armstrong/Homer News)

Out of the Office: How all the dogs in my life have kept me sane and happy

I have written before about the virtues of big, rowdy dogs in developing an exercise plan. In my more than 40 years in Alaska, I… Continue reading

Fletcher runs through the snow on Saturday, Jan. 2, 2021, on Diamond Ridge near Homer, Alaska. (Photo by Michael Armstrong/Homer News)
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