Outsiders: Randy Wanamaker

Posted: Sunday, April 23, 2006

Age: 62

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Favorite outdoor activities: Hiking and fishing. Wanamaker does not go on standard hikes, but up and down beaches and hills in the Southeast Alaska, he said. "I don't stay on the beaten path," Wanamaker said. "Because of the geologist in me, I like to look at things."

Sites and sounds: Wanamaker is sometimes startled by bears, beavers and deer. In Hoonah 15 years ago Wanamaker pulled out his geology hammer and gave a large rock face a whack, he said. He then heard a growl next to him. "My head snapped around and it was a young brown bear," Wanamaker said.

Tips: Black bears are more dangerous than what people think, Wanamaker said. "When you see them and they disappear only to circle around behind you it is time to be concerned," he said.

Favorite place: Dall Island west of Ketchikan. He sometimes takes a boat or helicopter to do geology work, he said. He described the abundant bears, sheep, deer and wolves as huge due to the great vegetation in the area.

Work: Juneau Assembly member and executive director of BBC Human Resource Development Corp.

Inspiration: Growing up, Wanamaker spent time with family elders who shared their knowledge with him. He learned local history and culture, hunting, and fishing, he said.

Challenges: Wanamaker recalls working for Goldbelt one summer in 1980 at Hobart Bay, where he was scanning for suitable rock for building roads. He was dropped at the top by helicopter with the intention of working his way down to a beach where he would be picked up. "There were many bears circling and I tried to keep an eye out for them," Wanamaker said. "At one point I turned and lost my footing, falling off a 20-foot cliff. I had to make my way down injured, without my revolver and bears surrounding me."

• Outsiders is a weekly profile in the Juneau Empire's Outdoors section.

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