Humans have unprecedented power to change our environment. That also gives us a staggering responsibility to be good stewards of the environment. Here’s one take on what hangs in the balance. It focuses on the Tongass National Forest and features one of Alaska magazine’s regular editors and writers, Bjorn Dihle (also a bear viewing guide and book author), as well as wilderness instructor Forest Wagner. Take action! Let your voice be heard and leave a comment for USDA Forest Service Secretary Sonny Perdue regarding the Roadless Rule by completing the form at https://salmonstate.org/tongass-take-action/

After more trips around Alaska than I can count, I had yet to see bubble-feeding whales until this summer. I filled in for a photo instructor aboard the National Geographic Quest on a Lindblad/NatGeo cruise of the InsidePassage, with my eye on this ultimate bucket-list reward. Most humpback whales feed independently or with their calves, except when they do the coordinated dance of bubble-netting. As a group, multiple humpbacks descend below the surface of the water, sounding off and cueing one another, creating a circle of bubbles that “trap” herring inside the confusion. Then, all the whales rise at once, mouths gaping like the Hungry Hippo game our son once played, their hair-like baleen straining out water to keep nutrient-rich fish. Staring into the mouth of a whale topped my adventures at sea this July and made the 16-hour days pass like the gulp of a giant humpback

I just landed in Sitka after leaving Haines, where I spent two lovely weeks in the Valley of Eagles. While bald eagles are everywhere in Haines, they’re also everywhere in Southeast, including Sitka. Still, there’s a difference between them: we’ll call it the lazy factor. Haines eagles are spoiled. I visit them in November during the end of the chum run. The chubby birds wait for a salmon to flop close to shore, and then they drag it up onto the rocks and feast on it. Or, they steal a fish from another eagle already dining on one. Their young also have easy access to meals, and don’t need to rely on mom and dad to bring food back to the nest as they mature. The eaglets don’t have to learn to dive into the water to fly off with a struggling fish in their talons. They just have to…

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,…