Species Spotlight Gray whales begin their return to Alaska each March. After wintering in their breeding grounds along Mexico’s Baja Peninsula, they swim alongside Alaska’s outer coast on their way to the Chukchi and Beaufort seas. In late March, they are often seen near coastal communities including Sitka and Seward. Gray whales roll onto their sides to stir up sediments on the ocean floor, which they then filter through their baleen to trap the small invertebrates that comprise the bulk of their diets. Each summer they eat enough to build fat reserves that last them through the winter months when they typically do not feed. Alaska’s gray whales were hunted nearly to extinction by 1900 but had recently rebounded to about 26,000 animals. However, since 2019 NOAA Fisheries has tracked an “unusual mortality event” involving the deaths of potentially thousands of gray whales. Surveys in 2022 showed low birth rates…
The Alaska SeaLife Center executes research, provides public education, and serves as a wildlife response center saving animals in crisis.
Senior Editor Michelle Theall shares her journey of buying a home in Alaska and photos of the places she considered.
The Yukon Bar, a local dive for Seward residents, is the start of many a memorable nights. If you’re in Seward, be sure to drop in.
Sailing in Alaska with her family is Melissa Bradley’s adventure of choice. The weekend warrior lives for a remote cove full of beauty and adventure.
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,…
Riding the rails in search of fresh hops.
[by Hudson Lindenberger]
Whale watching options in Southcentral Alaska
Two hundred years ago, ice covered most of Kenai Fjords National Park. Today, lush temperate rainforests emerge and along with them a habitat rife with black and brown bears, wolverines, moose, mountain goats, marmots, beavers, and snowshoe hares. Of course, the fjords remain rich with bird and marine life: tufted and horned puffins, oystercatchers, bald eagles, orcas, humpback and gray whales, porpoises, sea otters, and Steller sea lions. Tours heading through Kenai Fjords deliver those sightings and more, including calving glaciers cracking with white thunder, a lasting reminder that the only thing constant in this national park is change. Kenai Fjords was designated a national park in 1980 under the Alaska National Interest Lands Conservation Act. The park encompasses 669,983 acres and provides habitat for several threatened or endangered species including humpback, sei, and gray whales, as well as Steller sea lions. Steller sea lion populations are monitored from the Alaska…
Seward’s otherworldly stand up paddling.
[by Dave Shively]