Outdoors Digest

Posted: Sunday, May 15, 2005

Summer changes at Mendenhall Glacier Visitor Center

The U.S. Forest Service has announced seasonal changes in operations at the Mendenhall Glacier.

With the return of summer, the agency's visitor center is open from 8 a.m. to 7:30 p.m. On Monday, the daily $3 visitor center admission fee resumed. The recreation area is open from 6 a.m. until midnight without charge.

Drivers should be aware of increased tour bus and pedestrian traffic near the visitor center, which may host more than 325,000 out-of-town visitors between May and September.

Migrating Arctic terns have returned to their sandy lakeshore breeding area in front of the visitor center and Photo Point. Arctic terns are some of the longest-distance migrators, flying 26,000 miles round trip from the tip of South America to build their nests on the ground exposed by the Mendenhall glacier's retreat.

Dogs need to be leashed when on pavement near the visitor center. Dog owners need to clean up after their pets; bags are available in dispensers at trailheads.

A new trail that will connect with the Moraine Ecology Trail is being constructed between the two parking lots that will afford elevated views of salmon habitat along Steep Creek when it is completed in midsummer.

On the Trail of Time, flooding is occurring because beaver dams are blocking the water flow to the Glacier Spur Road culverts. This has temporarily closed the lower footbridge. Repairs will be made the last week of May, necessitating trail closure until work is completed.

The visitor center's popular Kids Day programs resume this Saturday,. A different one-hour program for 4-7 year olds will be held each Saturday at 11 a.m. in the outdoor covered viewing area. Children must be accompanied by an adult.

For more information, call 789-0097.

May is the 49th National Bike Month

In celebration of the 49th annual National Bike Month, the Juneau Freewheelers have organized weekly rides and races to encourage people of all ages and abilities to get out on two wheels, culminating in the annual Bike to Work Day on Friday.

For more information on May biking events, contact Jim or Janice Sheufelt at 463-1237 or go to the Freewheelers' website, www.juneau.com/freewheel/

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