Refuge Notebook

A snowshoe hare in its white winter coat. (Photo by Colin Canterbury/Kenai National Wildlife Refuge)

Refuge Notebook: The verge of winter

As the daylight hours seem to slip away, the temperatures are slowly getting lower and the silky flowing waters of rivers, lakes and streams begin… Continue reading

 

Basic Incident Command System organization chart. The ICS system has been used for many different types of incidents since its inception. (Chart from Federal Emergency Management Agency)

Refuge Notebook: Incident Command System adapts to record-setting wildfires

The August Complex Fire of 2020 on the Mendocino National Forest in northern California is officially the state’s largest wildfire in history. At over 1,000,000… Continue reading

 

The view looking north toward the pass from just above Juneau Lake. (Photo by Jack Carroll/Kenai National Wildlife Refuge)

Refuge Notebook: Finding refuge in the forest

As a park ranger for the Kenai National Wildlife Refuge, I get to spend a lot of time on the refuge’s trails and in the… Continue reading

 

Eivin Kilcher with his children and their flotsam treasures on Ushagat Island in August 2020. (Photo by Eve Kilcher)

Refuge Notebook: Flotsam ‘treasure’ harbors wealth of wildlife knowledge

This August, Eivin Kilcher was beachcombing on Ushagat Island when he saw something unusual. “I was thinking, whoa, that looks like a massive-something-important.” He and… Continue reading

Eivin Kilcher with his children and their flotsam treasures on Ushagat Island in August 2020. (Photo by Eve Kilcher)
Photo provided by Kenai National Wildlife Refuge 
Kasey Renfro and Seth Payment show off their tier rock wall on Skyline Trail.

Refuge Notebook: Skyline gets much-needed upgrades after the fire

Skyline Trail was the top priority for getting trail work done and getting the trail reopened for the public to enjoy. Skyline is arguably our… Continue reading

Photo provided by Kenai National Wildlife Refuge 
Kasey Renfro and Seth Payment show off their tier rock wall on Skyline Trail.
A long, white strip of soft, white feathers running down the back gives the downy woodpecker its name. (Photo by Colin Canterbury/USFWS.

Refuge Notebook: The smallest woodpecker

On a recent sortie looking for grouse in the spruce forest of the northern Kenai Peninsula, I heard what sounded to me like a squeaky… Continue reading

A long, white strip of soft, white feathers running down the back gives the downy woodpecker its name. (Photo by Colin Canterbury/USFWS.
Photo provided by Kenai National Wildlife RefugeAndrew Berg outside his ҈omesteadӠcabin, which stood originally on Tustumena Lake and now stands at the headquarters of Kenai National Wildlife Refuge.

Refuge Notebook: If these walls could talk

Big game guide Berg led remarkable life

Photo provided by Kenai National Wildlife RefugeAndrew Berg outside his ҈omesteadӠcabin, which stood originally on Tustumena Lake and now stands at the headquarters of Kenai National Wildlife Refuge.
Provided by Kenai National Wildlife Refuge                                 Snowshoe hare pellet counts.

Refuge Notebook: Snowshoe hare population is on rise

Hare cycle is key to boreal forest

Provided by Kenai National Wildlife Refuge                                 Snowshoe hare pellet counts.
Photo provided by Kenai National Wildlife Refuge                                 A promo screen for the app “Agents of Discovery.”

Refuge Notebook: Become a secret agent at refuge headquarters

I arrived in Alaska in February, when it was still dark, cold and snow-covered. As a Floridian, I knew this was going to be a… Continue reading

Photo provided by Kenai National Wildlife Refuge                                 A promo screen for the app “Agents of Discovery.”
Refuge Notebook: Kenai birches came from Asia

Refuge Notebook: Kenai birches came from Asia

Evidence still needed to show what Kenai birch conclusively is

Refuge Notebook: Kenai birches came from Asia
Refuge Notebook: Mosquito serves as unofficial Alaska state bird

Refuge Notebook: Mosquito serves as unofficial Alaska state bird

Insect makes life in backcountry tough

Refuge Notebook: Mosquito serves as unofficial Alaska state bird
Photo by Bretwood Higman                                 Deep fissures cross the summit of Alpine Ridge above Grewingk Lake.

Refuge Notebook: Landslides awakening in our glaciated mountains

‘Across Alaska, climate change is driving retreating glaciers’

Photo by Bretwood Higman                                 Deep fissures cross the summit of Alpine Ridge above Grewingk Lake.
Refuge Notebook: Migrations of the Kenai Lowland caribou

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: Migrations of the Kenai Lowland caribou
Refuge Notebook: What happened when the ocean warmed

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

Refuge Notebook: What happened when the ocean warmed
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

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: Battered sallow moth caterpillars come and go
Photo provided by Kenai National Wildlife Refuge                                 Huge sweeping vistas of inspiration are a guarantee for refuge visitors during these uncertain times.

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

Photo provided by Kenai National Wildlife Refuge                                 Huge sweeping vistas of inspiration are a guarantee for refuge visitors during these uncertain times.
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

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)
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

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

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