8 Reasons to Visit Kenai Mountains-Turnagain Arm National Heritage Area by Robert Manning When President Ronald Reagan dedicated America’s first National Heritage Area in 1984, he announced that this and other NHAs to come would be “a new kind of national park.” The purpose: to preserve areas of the United States that reflect distinctive regions’ sense of place, including natural and cultural history, and offer outstanding visitor attractions, recreation, and educational opportunities. Kenai Mountains-Turnagain Arm National Heritage Area (Kenai Mountains) is the only national heritage area in Alaska, established in 2009, and is located on the Kenai Peninsula. Extending 150 miles, the peninsula is bordered on the west by Cook Inlet and on the east by Prince William Sound. While national parks are generally large areas of public lands managed by the National Park Service (NPS), NHAs are a mix of public and private lands, run by partnerships that usually…
By doing what they do best — eating — spruce beetles are modifying forests in Alaska. Scientists are tracking the changes and fighting back.
Follow Alaska’s fall colors south to Lost Lake
[by Mollie Foster]
As spectacular as they are, it’s surprisingly easy to miss fall colors in Alaska. Once the leaves start changing hues, they only stay on the trees for two to three weeks, with peak foliage lasting only 48 hours in some areas.
Calling all wildlife weekend warriors IF YOU WANT TO GET A QUINTESSENTIAL TASTE OF ALASKA, and you want to check a few items off your bucket list in a single weekend, point your car down the Seward Highway, a nationally designated scenic byway, and get your camera ready. The 127-mile trip from Anchorage to Seward can take over two hours (or four hours by train), but trust us, you’re going to want to stop along the way for the massive views, flora, fauna, glaciers, and waterfalls. That said, the drive is a mere appetizer plate for the main course of Seward. The first whets your appetite; the second sates you. POTTER MARSH Just as you’re leaving Anchorage (mile 117.4), park and explore the boardwalk over wetlands of Potter Marsh, a birder paradise that’s also rife with spawning salmon and marauding moose. Wooden paths stretch 1,550 feet along sedges and sloughs,…
How to live through Alaska’s seasonal salmon battle—and enjoy it.
[by Will Swagel]
In the wee hours of a May morning, Robert Hayes, a battle-hardened veteran, begins scouting the banks of Ship Creek. He spies a number of familiar faces waiting for the 6 a.m. opener and gathers some intelligence from his fellow anglers, many old warhorses like himself who venture here every year, addicted to the action combat fishing supplies.
Breaking away from the negativity
[by Kurt Jacobson]
Port Chatham, a bay on the southern tip of the Kenai and a former village of the same name, hardly seems like a setting for inexplicable terror and fright. But a series of mysterious disappearances and deaths where the Kenai Mountains narrow before plunging into the North Pacific gave birth to rumors that began in the 1930s and continue to this day. And the rumors all point the same thing: Something’s not right around Port Chatham. Take for instance Andrew Kamluck, who had gone out logging in 1931. He was found dead in the woods from a blow to the head; a piece of log-moving equipment nearby may have been used as a weapon. Around the same time, elder Simeon Kvasnikoff of nearby Port Graham (present-day Nanwalek), said that a gold miner headed out for the day and just disappeared. No sign of the prospector was ever found. Sometime later,…