Refuge Notebook

In addition to hiking trails, the Kenai National Wildlife trail crew maintains canoe trails in the Swanson and Swan canoe trail routes as well as the Swanson River. (Photo by Kasey Renfro/Kenai National Wildlife Refuge)

Refuge Notebook: Rains, rocks and trail work on the Swanson River

Rain pounded against the windshield, encouraging a creeping melancholy as I drove myself and a volunteer north on the Sterling Highway toward Swanson River Road.… Continue reading

 

Yearling brown bear cubs near the Russian River Ferry recently. (Photo by Matt Conner/Kenai National Wildlife Refuge)

Refuge Notebook: 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

 

A finished portion of the Sterling Fuel Break completed by a masticator machine. (Photo provided by Kenai National Wildlife Refuge)

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)
Photo courtesy of Max Kaufman, Alaska Volcano Observatory 
                                Sugarloaf Peak on Semisopochnoi Island, in the Eastern Hemisphere.

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

Photo courtesy of Max Kaufman, Alaska Volcano Observatory 
                                Sugarloaf Peak on Semisopochnoi Island, in the Eastern Hemisphere.
Archaeology students participate in a dig near Delta Junction, Alaska, conducted by Dr. Kate Krazinski and Dr. Brian Wygal of Adelphi University in summer 2019. (Photo provided by Kenai National Wildlife Refuge)

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

Archaeology students participate in a dig near Delta Junction, Alaska, conducted by Dr. Kate Krazinski and Dr. Brian Wygal of Adelphi University in summer 2019. (Photo provided by Kenai National Wildlife Refuge)
Dan Rapp and Sarah Youngren of Soldotna have spent the last five summers on Aiktak Island in the eastern Aleutians and hope to return in 2020. (Photo by Sarah Youngren)

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

Dan Rapp and Sarah Youngren of Soldotna have spent the last five summers on Aiktak Island in the eastern Aleutians and hope to return in 2020. (Photo by Sarah Youngren)
Photo provided by USFWS 
                                A morel mushroom grows in disturbed gravel on the Kenai National Wildlife Refuge.

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

Photo provided by USFWS 
                                A morel mushroom grows in disturbed gravel on the Kenai National Wildlife Refuge.

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

Skyline Trail has damaged tread as well as hazard trees from the Swan Lake Fire. (Photo by Christa Kennedy/Kenai National Wildlife Refuge)

Refuge Notebook: Swan Lake Fire trails update

Last fall the Kenai National Wildlife Refuge was forced to close eight trails due to Swan Lake Fire activity. Through the fall, all eight trails… Continue reading

Skyline Trail has damaged tread as well as hazard trees from the Swan Lake Fire. (Photo by Christa Kennedy/Kenai National Wildlife Refuge)
Photo by Ronan Dugan/USFWS 
                                Kittiwakes build their sturdy nests on cliff sides, and they prefer to live in crowded neighborhoods for additional safety from predators.

Refuge Notebook: Keeping an eye on birds

Around this time of year I start to include a pair of binoculars in my checklist of essentials for heading out the door on a… Continue reading

Photo by Ronan Dugan/USFWS 
                                Kittiwakes build their sturdy nests on cliff sides, and they prefer to live in crowded neighborhoods for additional safety from predators.

Refuge Notebook: Migration is not canceled

A friend told me recently that March is her favorite month. What? Not May when our birds of summer come home to nest? Nor June… Continue reading

Refuge Notebook: Introducing Alaska Maritime National Wildlife Refuge

We’ve probably already met, but you didn’t realize it. We’re the other national wildlife refuge headquartered on the Kenai Peninsula. If you’ve taken a Kenai… Continue reading

A sign marks one of the groomed ski trails on the Kenai National Wildlife Refuge. (Photo by Matt Bowser/Kenai National Wildlife Refuge)

Refuge Notebook: I Think I Can Ski

Let us start with a riddle. There are 11 frogs sitting on a log. Five of the frogs decide to jump off the log. How… Continue reading

A sign marks one of the groomed ski trails on the Kenai National Wildlife Refuge. (Photo by Matt Bowser/Kenai National Wildlife Refuge)
Photo by Mark Laker/USFWS 
                                Mosaic of burned and unburned rocky tundra in the Mystery Hills off of the Skyline Trail on Sept. 12, 2019.

Refuge Notebook: Wildfire in Kenai Mountains tundra

Late last summer, as I waited in a line of traffic on the Sterling Highway to get through the Swan Lake Fire, smoke rose from… Continue reading

Photo by Mark Laker/USFWS 
                                Mosaic of burned and unburned rocky tundra in the Mystery Hills off of the Skyline Trail on Sept. 12, 2019.
Photo by Jamie Lyons 
                                A migrating dark-eyed junco in fall.

Refuge notebook: Wintering sparrows find their way to Kenai

A recent study published in the journal Nature Climate Change highlighted some work by Dr. Kyle Horton and his colleagues, who figured out how to… Continue reading

Photo by Jamie Lyons 
                                A migrating dark-eyed junco in fall.
Photo provided by Kenai National Wildlife Refuge 
                                Permanent and seasonal staff from the Kenai National Wildlife Refuge who helped estimate the Kenai brown bear population in 2010.

Refuge Notebook: Tales of a wildlife biologist

In 1975, as a freshman in Wildlife Ecology at the University of Wisconsin, I was required to take a weekly no-credit orientation seminar during my… Continue reading

Photo provided by Kenai National Wildlife Refuge 
                                Permanent and seasonal staff from the Kenai National Wildlife Refuge who helped estimate the Kenai brown bear population in 2010.

Refuge Notebook: The Refuge Notebook passes millennium milestone

“Welcome to Refuge Notebook. This is day one, page one of a new weekly column devoted to life and happenings on the Kenai National Wildlife… Continue reading

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