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Outdoors

Michael Penn | Juneau Empire
A Pacific harbor seal looks back at observers during its release at the Auke Recreation Beach on Wednesday. The abandoned eight-day-old pup was found on May 23 and was taken to the Alaska SeaLife Center in Seward for rehabilitation.

Harbor seal pup returns to wild

The male Pacific harbor seal pup found just eight days old beneath a boat in Auke Bay swam off into the waters of Auke Recreation Area yesterday, cheered by around 75 well-wishers from Juneau and beyond - some of whom were there at the beginning.

by MARY CATHARINE MARTIN

Column: Blob-squatch reign of terror

Hark, dear reader, and listen well. 'Tis a tale of a blob-shaped blob, a sunlit rock. 'Tis a tale of the shadow that was … or wasn't.
MARY CATHARINE MARTIN

What to do if you find a stranded, baby animal

NOAA Fisheries and the Alaska SeaLife Center first recommend leaving an animal - even a small, helpless one - alone if you happen to find it without a mother. Some mothers swim far away to gather food, leaving their young for hours at a...
MARY CATHARINE MARTIN

On the Trails: Marmots, gentians

As I slowly meandered up the Gold Ridge trail above the tram, a grouse stepped out of the brush and strode calmly up the trail ahead of me. We walked together but apart for many yards.
Mary Willson

Predicting seal behavior

The Alaska Department of Fish and Game knows environmental factors like tide, temperature, and boat activity affect harbor seals, says Gail Blundell, ADF&G's principle investigator for the statewide research program on harbor seals.
MARY CATHARINE MARTIN

What's in Bloom: Mystic Wonder

Surprisingly, the most photographed plant at the Arboretum this year has been Dahlia "Mystic Wonder." Since we planted them in mid-spring, visitors have been drawn to the almost black foliage and showy, dark red flowers.
MERRILL JENSEN

Bird Bits: The larger, local cousin: Northern goshawk

The Sharp-shinned Hawk I described in the Aug. 15 edition of the Juneau Empire is a jay-sized accipiter (a genus that describes some birds of prey.) It has a larger, local cousin, the Northern Goshawk.
PATRICIA WHERRY

Juneau Gun Club to host Waterfowl hunters league

For the next three Sundays, the Juneau Gun Club will be hosting a Waterfowl hunters and Trap shooters shot gunner league. The league event is one round (25 shots each) of handicap and wobbles trap shooting as a pre-waterfowl hand-eye-...

Initial Over-the-Counter state land sale now open

The State of Alaska is offering 171 parcels covering over 1,700 acres statewide for sale to the public in the Initial Over-the-Counter (IOTC) land sale.

Rotary Bulbs are now on sale

Beautiful flowering bulbs are now available for purchase from Juneau-Gastineau Rotarians.

Tongass Advisory Committee second meeting scheduled

The second meeting of the Tongass Advisory Committee will be held Sept. 10 through Sept. 12 at the Travelodge Hotel Conference Room, 9200 Glacier Highway, Juneau, Alaska.

Wild Shots

The Empire Outdoors page is looking for superb images of Alaska's wildlife, scenery or plant life. Send your photos to outdoors@juneauempire.com.

Articles from the Outdoors section archive

Friday, Aug 29, 2014

Bird Bits: The larger, local cousin: Northern goshawk

The Sharp-shinned Hawk I described in the Aug. 15 edition of the Juneau Empire is a jay-sized accipiter (a genus that describes some birds of prey.) It has a larger, local cousin, the Northern ...
By PATRICIA WHERRY

Tongass Advisory Committee second meeting scheduled

The second meeting of the Tongass Advisory Committee will be held Sept. 10 through Sept. 12 at the Travelodge Hotel Conference Room, 9200 Glacier Highway, Juneau, Alaska.

Initial Over-the-Counter state land sale now open

The State of Alaska is offering 171 parcels covering over 1,700 acres statewide for sale to the public in the Initial Over-the-Counter (IOTC) land sale.

Rotary Bulbs are now on sale

Beautiful flowering bulbs are now available for purchase from Juneau-Gastineau Rotarians.

Wild Shots

The Empire Outdoors page is looking for superb images of Alaska's wildlife, scenery or plant life. Send your photos to outdoors@juneauempire.com.

Column: Blob-squatch reign of terror

Hark, dear reader, and listen well. 'Tis a tale of a blob-shaped blob, a sunlit rock. 'Tis a tale of the shadow that was … or wasn't.
By MARY CATHARINE MARTIN

What to do if you find a stranded, baby animal

NOAA Fisheries and the Alaska SeaLife Center first recommend leaving an animal - even a small, helpless one - alone if you happen to find it without a mother. Some mothers swim far away to gather ...
By MARY CATHARINE MARTIN

Harbor seal pup returns to wild

The male Pacific harbor seal pup found just eight days old beneath a boat in Auke Bay swam off into the waters of Auke Recreation Area yesterday, cheered by around 75 well-wishers from Juneau and ...
By MARY CATHARINE MARTIN

What's in Bloom: Mystic Wonder

Surprisingly, the most photographed plant at the Arboretum this year has been Dahlia "Mystic Wonder." Since we planted them in mid-spring, visitors have been drawn to the almost black foliage and ...
By MERRILL JENSEN

Predicting seal behavior

The Alaska Department of Fish and Game knows environmental factors like tide, temperature, and boat activity affect harbor seals, says Gail Blundell, ADF&G's principle investigator for the ...
By MARY CATHARINE MARTIN

On the Trails: Marmots, gentians

As I slowly meandered up the Gold Ridge trail above the tram, a grouse stepped out of the brush and strode calmly up the trail ahead of me. We walked together but apart for many yards.
By Mary Willson

Friday, Aug 22, 2014

Off the Beaten Path: Berrymania

From bars and auto shops, to the governor's mansion and or the beauty parlors, everyone is talking about it - it's shaping up to be an exceptional berry year.
By BJORN DIHLE

Deer outlook, reports positive

A little more than three weeks into Southeast Alaska's Sitka black-tailed deer season, hunters and biologists report a healthy deer population and a positive outlook. Juneau-based hunter Darrel ...
By MARY CATHARINE MARTIN

Researcher: Some rivers' salmon at risk

A Juneau-based scientist recently published a study that found climate change poses a serious threat to the Tongass National Forest's snow-fed salmon streams. On the other hand, watersheds too ...
By MARY CATHARINE MARTIN

What's in Bloom: Monkshood

Monkshood (Aconitum sp.), also known as wolf's bane, is a large genus of late, summer-blooming perennials native to the northern hemisphere.
By MERRILL JENSEN

On the Trails: Dredge Islands

Gastineau Channel rounds the north end of Douglas Island with a short stretch that runs roughly east-west.
By Mary Willson

Waterfowl regulations for 2014 include good news for goose hunters

Alaska goose hunters will be allowed larger bag limits this season, depending upon where in the state they hunt and what goose species they pursue, thanks to changes in the 2014-2015 migratory ...

SEACC hosting educational hike on new Canadian mining efforts near Herbert Glacier

The Southeast Alaska Conservation Council is leading a free walk to the Herbert Glacier from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. tomorrow, Aug. 23. The walk will highlight two Canadian mining companies' current ...

Candidates for Alaska Governor 'talk fish' at Kodiak forum

KODIAK - Candidates for Alaska governor will be in Kodiak on Aug. 28 to take part in a unique debate that focuses on a single topic: Alaska's seafood industry.

Registration open for the Health and Wellness Institute

The 9th Annual School Health and Wellness Institute will be held Oct. 15-17 in Anchorage. Online registration is open at http://www.akshwi.com.

Embry-Riddle offers free Aviation 101 course

For high-school and middle-school students, or anyone who dreams of becoming a pilot, Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University is now offering a free online course, Aviation 101.

Friday, Aug 15, 2014

On the Trails: The scourge of scurvy

Sometimes when friends and I stroll the beaches we find the little plant called scurvy grass. It is not a grass; it belongs to the mustard family (common names can be very misleading).
By Mary Willson

Peterson Lake Trail sees continued improvements

Phase one of work on Peterson Lake Trail is complete, meaning the path is more easily walkable for the first ¾ mile, up to the scenic waterfall overlook. Trail Mix Inc. crews have also maintained ...
By MARY CATHARINE MARTIN

First downhill mountain bike trail planned in Juneau

Eaglecrest Ski Area's board of directors recently approved the creation or renovation of eight trails at the ski area, among them Juneau's first dedicated downhill mountain biking trail.
By MARY CATHARINE MARTIN

Off the Beaten Path: Camp-food for thought

Most folks take their bellies pretty seriously, especially when they're in the woods, far from a grocery store. I know several who even have nicknames for their bellies - The Incinerator, Lil' ...
By BJORN DIHLE

JIRPers present research

Thirty-two students from the Juneau Icefield Research Program will discuss the 10 projects on which they've been working this summer during a presentation at 8 p.m. on Saturday, Aug. 16 at the ...

Bird Bits: Bullet of a hawk

Bursting out of leaf cover, a bird launched itself at a passing warbler. The bird of prey, a small hawk the size of a Stellar jay, missed the warbler and throttled up its speed in acrobatic pursuit.
By PATRICIA WHERRY

Wild Shots

The Empire Outdoors page is looking for superb images of Alaska's wildlife, scenery or plant life. Send your photos to outdoors@juneauempire.com.

What's in Bloom: Black Out Lily

One of August's stunning flowers is Lilium "Black Out," an Asiatic hybrid lily. Asiatic lilies generally have large, non-fragrant flowers, unlike their cousins, the Oriental lilies, whose flowers ...
By MERRILL JENSEN

Friday, Aug 8, 2014

What's in Bloom: Volunteers!

Flowers highlighted in this column over the last few months are blooming and thriving, due in great measure, to the conscientious efforts of the Jensen-Olson Arboretum's seasonal gardeners.
By MERRILL JENSEN

AK Experience Camp organizers looking for deer

Organizers of this year's AK Experience Camp: Alaskan Outdoor Skills and Adventure are finding themselves deer-less. The camp, coming up next week (running Aug. 11-15) needs a deer to teach the ...

Still room in Juneau Explorers Camp

The Juneau-Douglas Museum's Juneau Explorers Camp, for children ages 8 to 11, kicks off on Monday and will run from Aug. 11-15. This summer's theme is "Critters".

Upcoming hikes with Alpine Club include Grandchild Peaks, bouldering at Fred's

The local hiking club, the Juneau Alpine Club, will be hosting two events this week - one for advanced hikers and one for bouldering enthusiasts. The first hike will tackle Grandchild Peaks on ...

On the Trails: Hiking to Granite Basin

There are two principal ways to get to Granite Basin, and on a wonderfully warm and sunny day in early August, the Parks and Recreation Hiking Group used both of them.
By MARY F. WILLSON

Southeast Adventure: Observation Loop

Some Juneauites swear by their love of the rain. I've come to love it in many ways, too, as loving the rain is part of loving the rainforest.
By MARY CATHARINE MARTIN

Alaska Science Forum: Late summer arrives in the boreal forest

It's early August, 118 miles from the Arctic Circle. Time for a walk to work. The last time I wrote about hiking through the North Campus of the University of Alaska Fairbanks, summer was a puppy ...
By NED ROZELL

Friday, Aug 1, 2014

A Southeast Adventure: Kayaking Tracy Arm

I have a not-so-secret plan to get my younger brother, Chip, and his girlfriend, Carrie, to move here. Usually, my strategy consists of dropping not-so-subtle hints ("Wow, Chip, Alaska's so ...
By MARY CATHARINE MARTIN

On the Trails: Lupine puzzles

Lupine plants are common around here, and perhaps you've noticed that the uppermost petal (the so-called banner petal) is sometimes white and sometimes dark pink or almost purple, while the side ...
By Mary Willson

What's in Bloom: The Rocket

Ligularia stenocephala, commonly called "The Rocket," is a wonderful summer-blooming perennial that seems to have been designed exclusively for Juneau's cool, wet climate.
By MERRILL JENSEN

Bird Bits: Yellow marks the drop zone

The barn swallow chicks in the photo have a "runway lighted strip" for a mouth to guide home the food being delivered by parents. The Mendenhall Glacier Visitor Center is home to one colony of ...
By PATRICIA WHERRY

Sport fish report for the week of July 28

King salmon Marine boat anglers and shore-based anglers reported catching fewer adult king salmon and more feeder kings this past week compared to previous months.

Wild Shots

The Empire Outdoors page is looking for superb images of Alaska's wildlife, scenery or plant life. Send your photos to outdoors@juneauempire.com.

Salmon return, US Forest Service closes backside of Steep Creek Trail

Spawning sockeye salmon returned to Steep Creek, near the Mendenhall Glacier Visitor Center, on Saturday, July 26. Each year returning salmon attract wild black bears and many bear watchers. To ...

Alaskans celebrate National Farmers Market Week, Aug. 3-9

Alaskans are encouraged to visit the 37 farmers markets located throughout the state during National Farmers Market Week, Aug. 3 to 9, and throughout the remainder of the growing season.

Friday, July 25, 2014

Bird Bits: Who is that masked bird?

The bandit-marked male common yellowthroat, along with family members feathered with pale yellow bellies and olive-colored backs, skulk low in dense tangles of wet vegetation and underbrush. These ...
By PATRICIA WHERRY

Wild Shots

The Empire Outdoors page is looking for superb images of Alaska's wildlife, scenery or plant life. Send your photos to outdoors@juneauempire.com.

How to survive in the (Southeast Alaska) wilderness

You're returning from a walk in the woods, but you're running behind schedule. It's getting dark. The temperature is dropping. One member of your group is not used to hiking and is extremely tired.
By MARY CATHARINE MARTIN

Gustavus meadows

I recently visited Gustavus for a few days, so I had a chance to do a little exploring on a landscape very different from that of Juneau.

What's in Bloom: Bighead Knapweed

Bighead Knapweed, centaurea macrocephala, is one of the most asked-about plants at the Jensen-Olson Arboretum when it's in bloom. While many knapweeds are listed as highly invasive, C. ...
By MERRILL JENSEN

Thursday, July 24, 2014

Public comment period opens for KSM mine

Canadian officials this week announced the start of a new 30-day public comment period on the Canadian federal government's environmental assessment of the controversial Kerr Sulphurets Mitchell ...

Friday, July 18, 2014

Forest Service reopens Nugget Falls trail

The Nugget Falls trail at the Mendenhall Glacier Visitor Center has reopened for hikers.

Wrangell Bearfest opens next week

The fifth annual Wrangell Bearfest will take place July 23-27. The festival is a five-day celebration of the natural and cultural resources around Wrangell, with an emphasis on bears.

This week's Southeast sportfish report

Marine boat anglers and shore-based anglers continue to catch hatchery king salmon in Auke Bay, North Douglas, DIPAC, and Fish Creek pond.

Albino robin shows up at raptor center

On May 28, an all-white bird with pink eyes was delivered to a Juneau Raptor Center volunteer's home. The person that delivered the bird said there were adult robins close to where this bird was ...

Exploring the shores of Lincoln Island

After arriving on Lincoln Island, friends and I tucked our tents into the forest above a broad beach, stretched a kitchen rainfly in a sheltered spot in case of storm, and were free to start ...

Whales may impact herring stocks' recovery

While whales are not to blame for the decline of herring in places like Lynn Canal and Prince William Sound, they may be keeping depleted stocks down.
By MARY CATHARINE MARTIN

SHI aims to rebuild stocks to culturally, archaeologically indicated levels at historical locations

Archaeological records and cultural memory indicate that in addition to being more abundant in Southeast Alaska, herring spawning locations were once more consistent.
By MARY CATHARINE MARTIN

Underwater salmon cam operating again

A famed underwater camera is again providing the perspective of salmon and other fish in Steep Creek, near the Mendenhall Glacier. Sockeye, in their full spawning colors, arrived a few days ago.
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