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kodiak island


An adult female bear peers through a dense thicket of cow parsnip. During the summer months, Kodiak turns a lush, vibrant green as thick vegetation carpets the island. Kodiak bears balance their diet with a variety of plants, including grass. Photo by Lisa Hupp. With 1.9-million acres to wander and no portion more than 15 miles from the Pacific, Kodiak National Wildlife Refuge includes some of the most diverse habitat on the planet, covering the southern two-thirds of Kodiak Island, all of Ban and Uganik islands, and a section of Afognak Island. Though notorious for its famed denizen, the Kodiak brown bear, a genetically distinct subspecies of browns/grizzlies, the refuge protects more than just big bruins. Consider that among the lush fjords, valleys, wetlands, and 4,000-foot peaks, more than 1,000 pairs of nesting bald eagles claim the area as their home, along with 250 species of migrating or breeding fish,…

Of Alaska’s 6,640 miles of coastline, some of the most ruggedly beautiful encircle Kodiak Island. Clusters of islands and rock outcroppings rise up from just beyond its jagged shoreline, while massive cliff faces with their craggy-ledged complexions share the island’s coarse coastline with long, narrow beaches of black sand and expansive tidal flats fanning out from the mouths of mountain-fed rivers that empty into the North Pacific.

A Taste of Wild Alaska by Vivian Wagner One July a few years ago, my husband and I sailed and hiked with friends around Kodiak Island, and everywhere we looked we saw them: bright red and orange salmonberries, hanging from bushes, just waiting to be plucked and eaten. It was the first time I’d ever had these berries, and I fell in love with them. We picked handfuls, eating as many as we could right where they grew, and carrying overflowing containers back to the boat. Salmonberries (Rubus spectabilis) are members of the rose family, and they’re related to raspberries, cloudberries, and other brambles. In Alaska they grow predominantly in damp coastal areas in the southeast, southcentral, and southwest regions. Prized as food by indigenous peoples, salmonberries can be eaten raw or used for pies, tarts, pancakes, jam, or syrup. They’re also high in antioxidants and vitamins A and C.…