Tag Archives: featured content

Here’s Your 2019 Iditarod Winner

We had a correspondent for the ceremonial start of the 2019 Iditarod on March 2 and we’ll have a report in our April issue. Almost 10 days later, in the wee hours of the evening in Nome, Peter Kaiser brought his team into the finish line in nine days, 12 hours, 39 minutes and six seconds. Here’s KTUU with a little more about Kaiser’s win (see above video as well). He’s the first Yup’ik winner of the “Last Great Race On Earth”:

According to Iditarod officials, Kaiser had eight dogs in harness when he crossed the finish line to win the Iditarod XLVII title. He will be awarded his prize money as well as a new 2019 Ram truck on March 17.

Kaiser came in 12 minutes ahead of defending champion Joar Leifseth Ulsom, who made a late surge, but ultimately took second place at 3:51 a.m.

“It was nerve-wracking,” said Kaiser, who explained that he didn’t feel confident he had won until he drove his team down Front Street.

 

 

Save Bristol Bay Fires Back After Pebble CEO Comments

The following press release is courtesy of Save Bristol Bay: 

Last week Pebble Partnership CEO Tom Collier said we are taking a stand for Bristol Bay “because they don’t have to suffer the backlash from the economic impact of the project being killed because no one gives a rat’s ass what happens in Alaska.”

 

This says an awful lot more about Tom Collier than it does about anyone fighting for Bristol Bay. Mr. Collier is in this for one reason: if Pebble gets a permit he gets a $12.5 million bonus, according to Pebble’s own SEC filings. That’s it. Then he goes back to DC and never gives another thought to Bristol Bay, or Alaska, or its people.

 

The thing is, we’ve been here longer than Tom Collier. This coalition includes tribes who have lived in Bristol Bay longer than humans have been recording history. It includes fishermen, lodge owners, guides, and pilots who have made a life and living in Bristol Bay. It includes the 80%+ of Bristol Bay residents who oppose a reckless mine in their home’s headwaters. And it includes people across the country who care deeply about wild salmon and the communities who depend on them.

Ultimately, Tom Collier is lying about you. He’s putting words in your mouth. If you don’t like that, do something about it:

Tell the Army Corps their draft EIS is inadequate and needs to be thrown out.

Tom Collier can toss around all the loose talk he wants, but it doesn’t change the facts. This EIS has huge scientific gaps, and you get to speak up about them. The DEIS fails to address dam failure, doesn’t include an economic analysis, doesn’t examine the viability of the supposedly “small” footprint, and fails to examine impacts outside the physical footprint of the mine. You can speak up about all of that, and you should because Tom Collier is wrong: we care about Alaska and always have.

-Save Bristol Bay

P.S. If you can spare a few bucks to keep us in the fight, it helps. Don’t worry, we won’t spend it on $12.5 million bonuses.

 

 

Save Bristol Bay On The Impact Of A Pebble Mine Dam Failure

The following press release is courtesy of Save Bristol Bay: 

 

Dear ,

The Army Corps of Engineers didn’t do its job, so the fishermen of Bristol Bay had to pay to do it for them. The results are frightening: if Pebble Mine’s tailings dam fails, it could kill a pristine river.

                                                       

The single-greatest risk involved in an open-pit mine is the tailings dam holding Billions of tons of mine waste. Tailings dams are not stout concrete structures like water dams. They are mounds of earth and too often, they fail. In its EIS the Army Corps examined only a tiny discharge from the tailings storage facility. Independent expert analysis suggests a realistic dam failure scenario would involve 10,000 times more material flowing downstream than the Army Corps studied.

This is yet another example of how incoherent and incomplete this permitting process has been. Studying one ten-thousandth of the danger just doesn’t cut it for a place as special as Bristol Bay. In this fatally-flawed document, the Army Corps is cutting corners in ways that seem calculated to get the Pebble permitted as quickly as possible and get executives their million-dollar bonuses. Science is supposed to drive this process, not lies of omission and political motivations.

Because the Army Corps didn’t do their job, Bristol Bay fishermen had to hire a scientist to take a hard look at a catastrophic tailings dam failure in Bristol Bay like those that have recently occurred in British Columbia and Brazil. Dr. Cam Wobus is an MIT-educated earth scientist specializing in hydrology and geomorphology. He is a peer-reviewed expert on this subject. What he found was horrifying. If the Pebble tailings dam fails, the Nushagak River basin downstream of the mine is going to be coated with a layer of mine waste. Summer or winter, wet or frozen, it doesn’t matter: nothing will stop the flood of debris.

What happens once all that waste is on the landscape? It will stay there for decades, leaching heavy metals and acid into the watershed every time it rains, every breakup flood. Salmon eggs will be coated in a layer of sediment, killing a generation of salmon. These are not transitory effects. This is a decades-long disaster.

In addition to the magnitude of the consequences, Dr. Wobus concluded the likelihood of a dam failure is significant. According to his analysis, the probability of failure is 20% or greater over the expected life of Pebble.  

The only reasonable option is to tell the Army Corps no. Tell them their EIS is incomplete and the process needs to be halted now. No credible permitting process would ignore this kind of lurking nightmare. Tell the Army Corps to stop and put this deadly mine back on the shelf where it belongs.

-Save Bristol Bay

PS. Can you throw in $15 to help us employ a team of leading scientists to help us stop Pebble?

Popular Hunter Killed In Minnesota Had Alaska Connections

A tragic accident that killed a Minnesota hunting guide was felt all the way to Alaska. Travis Pineur,  33, died while attempting to drive his truck out of a ditch near Fairbault, Minnesota. Pineur owned a guiding service in Minnesota, Nomad Adventures, and according to this report in the Minneapolis Star-Tribune, was about to begin guiding in Alaska, where he’d hunted multiple times.  Here’s more from the story:

Pineur had just passed his guide’s test in Alaska, where big-game hunting attracts marksmen from around the world. Pineur was to pursue moose, bear and sheep, Reed said.

“He was ready to start his own business within a month,” Reed said. “Then he could start booking and guiding his own hunts,” rather than assisting a licensed guide.

Alaska’s H&H outfitters paid tribute to Pineur on Facebook and provided a GoFundMe link to help his family:


Concerned about closures in your area? Book the world’s best salmon and halibut fishing in Haida Gwaii (Queen Charlotte Islands), Canada. Click HERE to learn more.

Here’s is the obituary for Travis. Condolences to his loved ones.

Naked And Afraid Goes Frozen And Frigid In Alaska

PHOTOS BY DISCOVERY CHANNEL

The following appears in the March issue of Alaska Sporting Journal:

Let’s play a quick game of word association, Naked and Afraid-style.

Rainforest, jungle, bugs, sunburn, alligators, lions, and heatstroke quickly come to mind when dissecting Discovery Channel’s survival challenge with the sexy premise of men and women meeting up in usually tropical ecosystems, stripping down to complete nudity, then being left to fend for themselves for 21 or sometimes 40 days. 

They’ll carry a handful of tools and have access to limited resources with which to sustain themselves, get along with each other and overcome the thought of exposing their private parts to a total stranger and expect to be physically and mentally engaged throughout what sounds like more of an ordeal than adventure. 


Concerned about closures in your area? Book the world’s best salmon and halibut fishing in Haida Gwaii (Queen Charlotte Islands), Canada. Click HERE to learn more.

Now think about what would happen with the same plotline but being dropped from a helicopter into 3,800-foot-elevation boreal tundra at the base of the Alaska Range. Your first task: Walk naked and barefoot down through the still snow-covered – even in summer – hillsides, then subject potentially frostbitten and cut feet to sharp alders.   

As well as god only knows what else is in or behind those trees.

It’s certainly a whole new set of challenges for this series, which has intrigued viewers for what enters a new season this month. Usually it’s oppressively hot weather – though in many environments temperature swings do test survivalists’ cold-weather skills – that defines many of the locales. Alaska’s own LeeAnn Duncan bared all in a previous episode in hurricane-damaged Nicaragua (Alaska Sporting Journal, April 2018) and endured graphic sunburn and struggled to find water in a desolate, crocodile-infested wasteland. 

But finding water wasn’t going to be a problem for Steven Lee Hall Jr. and Laura Zerra, both seasoned outdoor warriors who had succeeded in past Naked and Afraid adventures. In fact, as they traversed through the snow down towards the forested valley below, the duo found delicious and refreshing snowmelt to drink even before reaching the frigid river that would become one of many enemies they encountered along the way (their episode is set to air on March 3).

“There’s a reason why people don’t live there. It’s not for humans to live. It is untamed and truly nature,” Hall says of the Alaskan environment he and Zerra faced together. “And that’s what makes it so special. There are so many different factors that all kind of come together that make it one of the most beautiful places on the planet – and one of the most dangerous and unpredictable as well.”

Laura and Steven wearing their hides.

MOST OF US MUST be thinking: “No way I could do that,” believing that it’s daunting enough to take on the Alaska wilderness fully clothed and with multiple survival gadgets at your disposal. But then again, most of us aren’t Steven Lee Hall Jr. and Laura Zerra. 

They’re both considered Naked and Afraid “All Stars” who have successfully competed multiple past challenges. Hall made it through 21 days in an Alabama swamp and a deserted beach in the Bahamas and 40 days in South Africa on a super-sized edition of the show, Naked and Afraid XL. Zerra has conquered the wild in the buff in both Panama and the Peruvian Amazon and had her 40-day Naked and Afraid XL test in the savanna of Colombia. 

And these kinds of holy sh*t events are part of their soul. Zerra grew up in Massachusetts, but from an early age sought out nearby coyotes in the woods – as a kid she loved animals so much she briefly lived a vegan lifestyle (see sidebar). Zerra had a hunger for survival training. She would soon embark on a nomadic journey that’s taken her around the globe, landing everywhere from Montana to Mexico and Australia. 

Hall, an accomplished artist (see sidebar) is a tumbleweed-tough native west Texan – in Naked and Afraid scuttlebutt he’s known as the King of the Forest – who learned to love the outdoors tagging along with his grandfather and uncle on hunting and fishing expeditions in the Rocky Mountains.

They might have been miserable, cold and hungry at times as the days went on in Alaska, but this was who they are and what gets their competitive juices churning.

“Totally different. (Among) Africa, the Bahamas and Alabama,” Hall says comparing his other Naked and Afraid destinations to Alaska, “it’s a totally different environment and a totally different set of dangers between the environments and the animals. And especially the weather; that’s probably one of the biggest dangers we had up there. That was the hardest animal that we had to compete with up there.”

“But it was incredible. It’s literally the Last Frontier, so to be able to go up there and take it on was a blessing. And it was a huge challenge.”

That started right from the get-go as they were helicoptered into the Alaska Range for a bird’s-eye view of what they were about to confront. Hall, sounding like an excited child on the last day of school before summer vacation, was a passenger in a chopper for the first time. 

“You’re surrounded by monumental mountains, these never-ending rivers and these so-dense forests that you can’t see 2 feet in front of you,” he says. “So to be up above it and see the grandness of the entire thing and to know that helicopter is going to land and you’ll be right there in the middle of it, it’s exciting and intimidating all at the same time. It was an experience for sure.”

Unlike most Naked and Afraid meets and greets, where the man and woman have never met, Hall and Zerra already knew each other and were both relieved that they were each other’s partner in this project.

Of course, this being Alaska and all, they had to struggle through at least knee-deep snow on either side of them to exchange salutations. One of the critical variables of the challenges is how the teams work together. 

Conflict does not enhance your chances to get through the number of days required to finish (because of the extreme weather conditions, Zerra and Hall were required to last 14 days in Alaska). So in this instance, the partners’ chemistry with each other would at least give them a puncher’s chance. 

“I’m kind of a loner by trade. I’ve done a lot of my survival challenges by myself. But in Naked and Afraid, you have a goal for both of you to make it,” Zerra says. “And if you’re out there with someone who’s not into it and who’s tentative, it just really affects your core skills.”

Admittedly, Zerra says she “grew up in the cold and what I learned is that I don’t like it.” So being naked in near-freezing temperatures meant sharing body warmth while huddled for the night could make the difference between carrying on or “tagging out” to end the challenge. And while such intimacy and potential uncomfortable awkwardness is a hallmark of Naked and Afraid, when they would sack out for the night in the frigid Alaskan air, they could count on each other without it getting weird (and Naked and Afraid has likely produced plenty of such weird interactions during its run). 

“Every day, trying to keep up is actually physically draining. So to be out there with someone who wanted to make the best out of a crazy situation, who was willing to do what it takes, who was positive about it, and who was, to be honest, not a creepy cuddler (made it easier),” Zerra says. “I was terrified about the cuddling. I am not a cuddler, and to be with someone who was respectful and wasn’t crazy – just that alone was important (for me) to be with a gentleman.”

IN TRUE NAKED AND AFRAID fashion, Hall and Zerra didn’t start out with many luxuries. With temperatures mostly topping off in the 40s and wind chill readings falling well below freezing, they were given valuable beaver and moose hides to sleep with at night, and also a firestarter. 

Hall brought a pot and much-needed fishing line, while Zerra carried her own hand-forged knife and a map to help them devise a game plan to forage and find some semblance of shelter. The map depicted some of the fauna they’d share the landscape with: Trout and grayling in a nearby river and large critters living adjacent to the water source in the form of grizzly bears and wolves, plus moose, which the show’s narrator reminds us that harm more humans in Alaska than any other animal. Sounds like a divine time right?

“There were a lot of times when walking through the snowdrift and we’re cutting up our feet, you had to laugh. Because it’s so absurd and so crazy, I thought a lot about my life and said, ‘What’s wrong with me? Why on earth are we doing this?’” Zerra, 33, says.

“But I absolutely love it. I love that challenge when we’re pushing through something and you don’t know how you’re going to get through it. You just know that you’re going to do whatever it takes to make it.”

The 35-year-old Hall concurred that even in this most surreal situation, there’s no place this adrenaline junkie would rather be and pushing the limit to the brink of insanity. 

“The thing is, whenever you do these challenges, you never know what to expect,” he says. “Tomorrow can bring anything, and when you’re in Alaska tomorrow can bring snow; it can bring grizzly bears; it can bring wind, rain; it can bring all sorts of crazy different elements and dangers. It’s its own world up there.”

“And that’s what makes it so special. There are so many different factors that all kind of come together that make it one of the most beautiful places on the planet, and one of the most dangerous and unpredictable as well.”

That said, there were times when Hall – at least for a brief moment – regretted that he brought that fishing line with him. While the protein would be much needed for them to put back some of the calories the cold was taking out of their bodies, it meant wading out in the 35-degree water in short spurts to cast a makeshift tree-branch fishing rod and check his fishing line for bites. 

It is cringeworthy television to envision how cold he must have been in a river just a few degrees above freezing. When the fish weren’t biting, it felt like a cruel tease from the resident trout and grayling.

“I’d go down there every day and I’d wade out about crotch-deep, which is by itself terribly cold. And the only thing that you can do is make a few casts, and then I’d have to get out of the water and start a fire and heat up. Every time I’d get out of the water my legs would be, like, purple,” Hall says. “So it’s one of those things where I’m trying to accomplish this goal – the main thing that you need to do and that’s get nutrients and sustenance and protein. But you also have to put in the back of your head that OK, I’ve been in the water long enough; I need to get out or I can put myself in real hypothermic danger.”

Desperate for food and hungry, they finally break through and Hall carefully pulls in a modest but perfect eating-sized grayling in one of those triumph-of-the-human-spirit moments. 

“You look at it that your body is trying to maintain a core temperature, so you’re burning so many more calories just to begin with that aspect of the challenge,” Hall says. “There are no ifs, ands or buts about it. And the thing is you can’t stop; you can’t stop working no matter how hard it is; no matter how cold it is; no matter how tired you are or how bad your feet hurt. There is no quit, and if you quit you die.”

SO DID THEY MAKE it for all 14 days? You’ll have to tune in yourself on March 3, but you can bet that through the hungry days, the flirting with developing frostbite and hypothermia and the getting-terrified-to-death experience when what sounded like a bear wandered dangerously close to camp, Alaska had a lasting impression on both Hall and Zerra. 

Hall had been to the Last Frontier once before, as he and a classmate spent a week in the Kenai just after graduating high school. 

“Ever since when I went when I was 18 – almost 20 years ago – I’ve been dying to go back. To be able to have this opportunity with Discovery was great,” Hall says. “But I want a cabin someday. I want a place to go. I want to go back where Laura and me explored. To be able to look and see what we conquered and accomplished up there.

Zerra remarkably had previously booked three flights to Alaska but had to cancel each trip. And she’s already booked another trip for this summer, when she’ll look for caribou and moose antlers and get another taste of Alaskan adventure. 

And for everyone who’s participated in Naked and Afraid – whether they were successful until the end or tagged out along the way – it’s the lure of pushing yourself to the limit. Common sense suggests you have no business being this uncomfortable, famished and beaten down, all while having to face this misery in your birthday suit. 

“I’ve been a nomad for about 15 years now. And whenever I do something that makes me feel uncomfortable and have a new challenge, my limits and my comfort zone get pushed out a little bit more,” Zerra says. “I always want to push my boundaries and my comfort zone. And as they get bigger, it’s more and more difficult to find more grandiose adventures – things that are going to push me a little further. I can live to be 150 and I would never do a fraction of the things that I want to do. But at the same time I can die tomorrow, because I know I’ll have no regrets.” ASJ

Editor’s note: New episodes of Naked and Afraid air on Sunday nights on the Discovery Channel (check local listings). And check out the season premiere from Alaska this Sunday, March 3. Go discovery.com/tv-shows/naked-and-afraid for more. For more on Steven Lee Hall Jr., go to nevetskilljoy.com. Laura Zerra’s personal website is laurazerra.com.

Steven is an artist who paints under the professional name Nevets Killjoy. (STEVEN LEE HALL JR.)

Sidebar: THE ARTIST IN ALL OF US

The King of the Jungle might also someday earn the similarly noble title of Count of the Canvas. 

Naked and Afraid veteran Steven Lee Hall Jr. is an accomplished survivalist, hunter and adventurer, but his big passion might be art. The 35-year-old Texan now based in Orlando, Florida, sells prints of his work through his website, nevetskilljoy.com. 

Who is Nevets Killjoy, you might ask? That’s Hall’s alter ego. 

“When I was a kid growing up in Amarillo, Texas, probably like from 5 to 9 years old, me and my buddies would go and hunt coyotes, run around and do all kinds of crazy stuff. And whenever we’d do stuff that’s super cool, we’d call it ‘killjoy cool,’” Hall says of how came up with his professional nom de plume (or however you say paintbrush in French). 

And of course Nevets is Steven spelled backwards, so there you go.

When he worked as a bartender in Orlando, many friends in the business asked if they could display some of his work, and as he pondered how to sign his name and had a bit of an epiphany. 

“I wanted to get people’s real opinion of it, because I knew if I put my name on it, my friends would just say it looks awesome, but I really wanted a real opinion on it,” he says. “So when I would sign it NL, or Nevets Killjoy, and say, ‘What do you think of that?’ I could get an honest opinion. So it was more like a pen name so I could get a real opinion of what people really thought of my artwork. It’s crazy how something evolves that way.” 

Hall’s always been interested in art, and for about 10 years he painted more for enjoyment than for profit. But that changed when a friend had a special request to create a portrait for his wedding. 

“I took it to the reception and everybody was like, ‘This is great. Can we get one of those?’ So I thought, maybe there’s something to this.’ So once I found out that maybe I can pay my bills doing something else that I love, I dove right into it,” Hall says. “So that’s my life: I run around naked on TV and I paint cool pictures. So I’m not complaining.” 

 The galleries on his website depict an eclectic mix of portraits and themes. And of course, he’s inspired from many of his adventures in the outdoors, including his Naked and Afraid challenge in Alaska. 

“I’ve been loving to do this wildlife realism sketch work,” Hall says. “It’s amazing how life gives you this inspiration to do these things.” CC

“I started hunting because I wanted to have a relationship with the animal I was going to kill. I wanted to understand the sacrifice that was going on to keep me alive,” (LAURA ZERRA)

Sidebar: MEAT AND GREET

There’s a moment in Laura Zerra’s Naked and Afraid appearance when she and her partner in Alaska, Steven Lee Hall Jr., are looking over a porcupine they successfully hunted. It was an animal that provided the cold, hungry survivalists some desperately needed protein, something Zerra takes very seriously. 

“I’ve hunted a lot of things in my life, but it’s a little bit different when you’re hunting (an animal) that’s covered in quills and you’re naked,” she deadpans. 

But there’s more to Zerra than just eating meat she harvested. As a kid, she was so enthralled with the animal kingdom as she bonded with nature that eating meat was not an option. 

“In my childhood I always tried to get close to animals out in the woods. I learned about factory farming and was horrified,” Zerra says. “(But) I realized that by eating strawberries and tofu in Massachusetts in wintertime, I was probably causing more of an impact on animals for habitat loss and for what it took for the tofu truck to get to me. So I started eating roadkill because it was the most responsible decision I could make. And then I realized how good I felt when I ate meat.”

In one of her earlier challenges on Naked and Afraid in Peru, Zerra clashed with her partner about his lack of reverence and respect for an eel they were about to kill for a food source. She wanted no part of that attitude. 

“I started hunting because I wanted to have a relationship with the animal I was going to kill. I wanted to understand the sacrifice that was going on to keep me alive,” she says. “It’s part of what makes me feel like a human and not just someone going through the motions.”

Zerra keeps busy throughout the year with her thirst for travel and seeking adventure. One bucket list item she absolutely wants to cross off is experiencing the nomadic horse culture in Mongolia (she has a background working with horses as a farrier). 

Last year, she made another memorable TV appearance when she won a car on The Price is Right and advanced to the Showcase Showdown. Of course, this outdoorswoman had a shot to win a perfect showdown prize: an SUV Jeep with a trailer. Alas, she came up short in her bid, but no big deal. 

“(Host) Drew Carey laughed at me after the show, asking, ‘Man, you’re a survivalist? That would have really been perfect for you to win!’ Thanks, Drew,” Zerra joked. “But (by winning the Jeep) I would have been far too comfortable to be comfortable, so it’s probably for the best.” 

Zerra has no shortage of opportunities to pursue her zest for the extreme. And with as much physical and mental punishment she puts herself through in survivalist situations, this one-time vegan has earned some opportunities to treat herself to a carnivore’s feast once back in civilization. 

“I’ll find the biggest, most rare, juicy cheeseburger that I can find and I want to eat five of them,” she says with a laugh. “I’ll close my eyes when I go to bed at night and just imagine what it feels like to have that bloody juice running down my face.” CC

 

Alaska Native Community Fights For Its Way Of Life In New Documentary

Photo by Chris Cocoles

SEATTLE – An overflow crowd filled a room at Seattle’s flagship REI store to watch the premiere of a short but significant film on one Alaska Native community’s fight against drilling at Arctic National Wildlife RefugeWelcome to Gwichyaa Zhee tells the story of the Gwich’in people of the tiny and isolated town of Fort Yukon, Alaska. Fort Yukon is a short distance away from Arctic NWR, a massive public land ecosystem that’s home of the Porcupine Herd caribou and countless natural resources the Gwich’in depend on for their subsistence way of life.

Here’s a trailer:

This is an important project for everyone who’s involved, including sponsors like Patagonia and the Wilderness Society, co-directors Len Necefer, himself a Navajo Nation member in his home state of Arizona, and Greg Balkin, and local resident Bernadette Demientieff, executive director of Gwich’in steering community.

Bernadette Demientlieff, one of the community leaders in the Gwich’in community in Fort Yukon, speaks to the audience during a screening of Welcome to Gwichyaa Zhee. (CHRIS COCOLES)

“We very much still live off or our land, and we honor our tradition and our way of life,” Demientieff said on Wednesday. “It’s been a really tough fight and a battle, because I feel like I’m trying to convince people that we matter. We’re real people with jobs. We have families. We have children. Our ways of life matter.”

As the film depicts, life is anything but simple in Fort Yukon, where a gallon of milk costs $15. The people there rely on hunting abundant moose and caribou and fishing local waters.

 

Co-directors Len Necefer (left) and Greg Balkin. (CHRIS COCOLES)

Necefer was inspired by his own people’s fight in the Southwest in the making of his and Balkin’s documentary. In 2017 President Donald Trump and his appointed Secretary of the Interior Ryan Zinke – since removed from that position – announced Bear Ears National Monument in Utah would be reduced by about 85 percent (1.3 million acres). Bears Ear is a very sacred piece of land to  Necefer’s Navajo people and many other Native American tribes, so needless to say the decision turned out to be a lightning rod of controversy, bitterness and betrayal.

“For us, as Navajo, if we look at places like Bears Ears, we lose access to things like ceremonial sites, we lose access to places where some of our ancestors are buried, but that also affects our history,” Necefer said. “For the Gwich’in, this is very much the same.”

Necefer referred to the Gwich’in language for the phrase, “the sacred place where life begins.”

“This place holds its sacred history. The impacts and the similarities are very overlapping in how they affect our people.”

We’ll have a full feature on the making of the film in our April issue, and the movie will be screened this month in various Lower 48 locations, listed here:

Sun, March 3 Mountain Sports Flagstaff, AZ

Tues, March 5 Patagonia Palo Alto, CA

Weds, March 6 Patagonia Salt Lake City, UT

Thurs, March 7 Patagonia Denver, CO

Fri, March 8 Patagonia Austin, TX (SXSW Festival)

Mon, March 11 Patagonia St Paul, MN

Tues, March 12 Patagonia Chicago, IL

Wed, March 13 Patagonia Pittsburgh, PA

Thurs, March 14 Patagonia Washington, DC

Fri, March 15 Patagonia Freeport, ME

**more tour dates to be announced, for the latest information please check: https://www.gwichyaazhee.us

. And text Arctic to 40649 to get a link to make public comments to oppose drilling at Arctic NWR.

Text Arctic to 40649 to be provided with a link to make public comments about drilling at ANWR.

 

 

Annual King Salmon Limits in Effect for Lower Cook Inlet Streams and Marine Waters

The following press releases are courtesy of the Alaska Department of Fish and Game:

(Homer) – In favor of protecting returning king salmon and ensuring fishing opportunities in the future, the Alaska Department of Fish and Game (ADF&G) is implementing the following sport fishing regulation restriction in the Anchor River, Deep Creek, and Ninilchik River drainages and marine waters south of the Ninilchik River to Bluff Point effective 12:01 a.m. Monday, April 1 through 11:59 p.m. Monday, July 1, 2019. A combined annual limit has been established to two king salmon 20 inches or greater in length for fish harvested in the Anchor River, Deep Creek, Ninilchik River, and all marine waters south of the latitude of the mouth of the Ninilchik River (60° 03.99′ N. lat.) to the latitude of Bluff Point (59° 40.00′ N. lat.).

“It is necessary to combine the annual limit in all three streams and marine waters south of the Ninilchik River to Bluff Point in anticipation of increased angler efforts due to conservation efforts implemented on other Cook Inlet king salmon sport fisheries,” stated Area Management Biologist Carol Kerkvliet. “By combining the annual limits for these waters, we hope to increase the chance of mature king salmon making their way to their spawning grounds.”

In conjunction with this closure, sport fishing Emergency Order Number 2-KS-7-11-19, closed the Anchor River to king salmon fishing on the first and fifth opening weekend and the five-Wednesday openings in May and June 2019. The closure dates are May 18-20, May 22, May 29, June 5, June 12, June 15-17, and June 19. Anglers may still fish the Anchor River during the following days; May 25-27, June 1-3, and June 8-10. In addition, sport fishing Emergency Order Number 2-KS-7-12-19, restricted sport fishing gear in the Anchor River, Deep Creek, and Ninilchik River drainages to only one unbaited, single-hook, artificial lure. Lastly, sport fishing Emergency Order Number 2-KS-7-13-19, restricted the bag and possession limit in the Ninilchik River to one hatchery king salmon and implemented restrictions on the Ninilchik River Youth-Only Fishery.

For additional information, please contact Area Management Biologist Carol Kerkvliet at (907) 235-8191.

 

Start of Fishing Season Limited on the Anchor River

(Homer) – In favor of protecting returning king salmon and ensuring fishing opportunities in the future, the Alaska Department of Fish and Game (ADF&G) is implementing the following sport fishing regulation closures in the Anchor River drainage effective 12:01 a.m. Monday, April 1 through 11:59 p.m. Monday, July 15, 2019. This closure prohibits sport fishing in the Anchor River on the first and fifth opening weekend and the five-Wednesday openings in May and June 2019. The closure dates are:

  • May 18-20
  • May 22
  • May 29
  • June 5
  • June 12
  • June 15-17
  • June 19

Anglers may still fish the Anchor River during the following days:

  • May 25-27
  • June 1-3
  • June 8-10

A combined annual limit has been established to two king salmon 20 inches or greater in length for fish harvested in the Anchor River, Deep Creek, Ninilchik River, and all marine waters south of the latitude of the mouth of the Ninilchik River (60° 03.99′ N. lat.) to the latitude of Bluff Point (59° 40.00′ N. lat.) from April 1 through July 15, 2019.

“In response to the weak 2018 king salmon run and 2019 forecasts for poor king salmon performance throughout Cook Inlet, the Anchor River king salmon sport fishery is being managed conservatively to provide the greatest return of spawning king salmon,” stated Area Management Biologist Carol Kerkvliet. “However, we still want to provide anglers some fishing opportunities on the Anchor River.”

In conjunction with this closure, sport fishing Emergency Order Number 2-KS-7-12-19, restricted sport fishing gear in the Anchor River, Deep Creek, and Ninilchik River drainages to only one unbaited, single-hook, artificial lure. In addition, sport fishing Emergency Order Number 2-KS-7-13-19, restricted the bag and possession limit in the Ninilchik River to one hatchery king salmon and implemented restrictions on the Ninilchik River Youth-Only Fishery. Lastly, sport fishing Emergency Order Number 2-KS-7-14-19, established a combined annual limit of two king salmon 20 inches or greater in length for fish harvested in the Anchor River, Deep Creek, Ninilchik River, and all marine waters south of the latitude of the mouth of the Ninilchik River (60° 03.99′ N. lat.) to the latitude of Bluff Point (59° 40.00′ N. lat.).

Beginning in May, ADF&G staff will closely monitor king salmon escapements in the Anchor River, Deep Creek, and Ninilchik River by using sonar and underwater video. As the run progresses, run strength will be evaluated to determine future management actions.

For additional information, please contact Area Management Biologist Carol Kerkvliet at (907) 235-8191.

Annual King Salmon Limits in Effect for Lower Cook Inlet Streams and Marine Waters

(Homer) – In favor of protecting returning king salmon and ensuring fishing opportunities in the future, the Alaska Department of Fish and Game (ADF&G) is implementing the following sport fishing regulation restriction in the Anchor River, Deep Creek, and Ninilchik River drainages and marine waters south of the Ninilchik River to Bluff Point effective 12:01 a.m. Monday, April 1 through 11:59 p.m. Monday, July 1, 2019. A combined annual limit has been established to two king salmon 20 inches or greater in length for fish harvested in the Anchor River, Deep Creek, Ninilchik River, and all marine waters south of the latitude of the mouth of the Ninilchik River (60° 03.99′ N. lat.) to the latitude of Bluff Point (59° 40.00′ N. lat.).

“It is necessary to combine the annual limit in all three streams and marine waters south of the Ninilchik River to Bluff Point in anticipation of increased angler efforts due to conservation efforts implemented on other Cook Inlet king salmon sport fisheries,” stated Area Management Biologist Carol Kerkvliet. “By combining the annual limits for these waters, we hope to increase the chance of mature king salmon making their way to their spawning grounds.”

In conjunction with this closure, sport fishing Emergency Order Number 2-KS-7-11-19, closed the Anchor River to king salmon fishing on the first and fifth opening weekend and the five-Wednesday openings in May and June 2019. The closure dates are May 18-20, May 22, May 29, June 5, June 12, June 15-17, and June 19. Anglers may still fish the Anchor River during the following days; May 25-27, June 1-3, and June 8-10. In addition, sport fishing Emergency Order Number 2-KS-7-12-19, restricted sport fishing gear in the Anchor River, Deep Creek, and Ninilchik River drainages to only one unbaited, single-hook, artificial lure. Lastly, sport fishing Emergency Order Number 2-KS-7-13-19, restricted the bag and possession limit in the Ninilchik River to one hatchery king salmon and implemented restrictions on the Ninilchik River Youth-Only Fishery.

Fishing Gear Restrictions for Lower Cook Inlet Streams

(Homer) – In favor of protecting returning king salmon and ensuring fishing opportunities in the future, the Alaska Department of Fish and Game (ADF&G) is implementing the following sport fishing regulation restrictions in the Anchor River, Deep Creek, and Ninilchik River drainages effective 12:01 a.m. Monday, April 1 through 11:59 p.m. Monday, July 15, 2019. Sport fishing gear is restricted to only one unbaited, single-hook, artificial lure in these three drainages.

A combined annual limit has been established to two king salmon 20 inches or greater in length for fish harvested in the Anchor River, Deep Creek, Ninilchik River, and all marine waters south of the latitude of the mouth of the Ninilchik River (60° 03.99′ N. lat.) to the latitude of Bluff Point (59° 40.00′ N. lat.) from April 1 through July 15, 2019.

“With low returns of king salmon expected this season throughout Cook Inlet, these streams are being managed conservatively in response to the projected 2019 forecast, ”stated Area Management Biologist Carol Kerkvliet. “One way to protect migrating fish is implementing gear restrictions on these streams in times of projected poor king salmon returns.”

In conjunction with this closure, sport fishing Emergency Order Number 2-KS-7-11-19, closed the Anchor River to king salmon fishing on the first and fifth opening weekend and the five-Wednesday openings in May and June 2019. The closure dates are May 18-20, May 22, May 29, June 5, June 12, June 15-17, and June 19. Anglers may still fish the Anchor River during the following days; May 25-27, June 1-3, and June 8-10. In addition, sport fishing Emergency Order Number 2-KS-7-13-19, restricted the bag and possession limit in the Ninilchik River to one hatchery king salmon and implemented restrictions on the Ninilchik River Youth-Only Fishery. Lastly, sport fishing Emergency Order Number 2-KS-7-14-19, established a combined annual limit of two king salmon 20 inches or greater in length for fish harvested in the Anchor River, Deep Creek, Ninilchik River, and all marine waters south of the latitude of the mouth of the Ninilchik River (60° 03.99′ N. lat.) to the latitude of Bluff Point (59° 40.00′ N. lat.).

 

Wildlife Forever Issues Progress Report On Invasive Species Prevention

The following press release is courtesy of Wildlife Forever:
White Bear Lake, MN – In response to the growing threat to America’s natural resources, Wildlife Forever has released their latest Clean Drain Dry Initiative report in halting the spread of invasive species.

Since 2006, Wildlife Forever has formed and led a growing coalition of stakeholders, including federal, state and local agencies along with lake associations, universities, media outlets and outdoor recreation groups, to coordinate a national public awareness and prevention campaign. Over 1.9 Billion Americans have been educated through targeted multi-media marketing.  The result equates to reaching every USA citizen with an invasive species awareness message six times in the past thirteen years.

The new report highlights accomplishments and the partners who generously help fund outreach and education to America’s outdoor recreationists. 

“The evidence shows that when we invest in education and Clean Drain Dry public awareness, we’re influencing behavior and slowing the spread,” said Pat Conzemius, Executive Vice President for Wildlife Forever.  “But more needs to be done and we’re now urging additional outdoor industry partners to help us educate the public and defend our natural resources.  After all, it is the outdoor enthusiasts that so many businesses and communities depend upon,” explained Conzemius.

Detailed in the bi-Annual report are invasive species prevention actions and initiatives Wildlife Forever and its national campaign partners achieved by pooling together over $745,000.

Utilizing innovative marketing techniques and developed campaign materials, coalition partners directly benefit by saving valuable economic resources, time and avoiding duplication. Recent accomplishments include reaching 16 million contacts using television and radio public service announcements; 93 million impressions were reached using highway billboards and outdoor media.  An additional 12 million contacts were also reached through print, social media, and public events promoting a consistent Clean Drain Dry prevention message.

The Clean Drain Dry Initiative™ is the national campaign to educate outdoor recreational users on how to prevent the spread of invasive species. Strategic communications, marketing, outreach and educational services provide access to consistent messaging, and resources for implementing AIS prevention programs. To learn about services and partnership opportunities, contact Dane Huinker at DHuinker@Wildlifeforever.org or visit www.CleanDrainDry.org.

About Wildlife Forever (WF): Wildlife Forever’s mission is to conserve America’s wildlife heritage through conservation education, preservation of habitat and management of fish and wildlife.  Join Today and get involved.  Learn more about the award-winning programs, including work to engage America’s youth, at www.WildlifeForever.org

Almost One Month Countdown To Homer Winter King Tournament

Homer winter king 1
Charlie Edwards of Fritz Creek won the 2018 Homer Winter King Salmon Tournament with a 24-pound, 6-ounce fish. He won over $56,000 in prize money. The 2018 event takes place on March 23. (JIM LAVRAKAS/FAR NORTH PHOTOGRAPHY)

The following appears in the February issue of Alaska Sporting Journal: 

Mark your calendar, get your boat ready, buy your fishing license and new salmon tackle and prepare to fish in one of Alaska’s largest fishing competitions.

The Homer Chamber of Commerce and Visitor Center will host its 26th annual Winter King Salmon Tournament on March 23. 

This is considered the premier fishing tournament in the state and every year anglers take to the waters of Kachemak Bay in search of king salmon that could win them some great cash prizes. 

The one-day tournament awards tens of thousands of dollars in prize money for the largest kings caught. 

In 2018, Charlie Edwards of nearby Fritz Creek caught the tournament winner, a 24-pound, 6-ounce Chinook while fishing with Capt. Daniel Donich on his boat, the Optimist. 

Edwards (left) joins the other two anglers who finished in the top three for 2018. Jerry Huff finished second (20.95 pounds and caught on the Olyjohn) and Janet Donnell was third (20.75 caught on the Drag N Bait). (JIM LAVRAKAS/FAR NORTH PHOTOGRAPHY)

Edwards’ fish was also best in the white king salmon category as part of the overall competition. 

His total winnings, including the side bets that are a big tradition with this tournament, totaled $56,902.50. 

The total payouts in 2018 included $160,000 in cash and prizes

For this year’s derby there have been substantial efforts towards king salmon conservation. 

The tournament committee and Homer Chamber of Commerce directors are committed to the long-term sustainability of the winter king fishery, and the chamber would like to say a special thank you to the anglers this year who have supported the tournament’s conservation efforts by harvesting one fish.

Prizes will be offered every hour of the 2019 tournament. 

After the fishing lines are pulled from the water, join the festivities at the weigh-in located at Coal Point on the Homer Spit (4306 Homer Spit Road). 

For more information, contact Debbie Speakman, executive director for the Homer Chamber of Commerce (907-235-7740; exdir@homeralaska.org). 

You can also go to homeralaska.org/winter-king-salmon-tournament and facebook.com/HomerWinterKingSalmonTournamentASJ

Deadline Approaching To Apply For McNeil River Bear Viewing Slots

The following press release is courtesy of the Alaska Department of Fish and Game:

If you’re seeking a seat this summer at the best brown bear viewing site in the world, take note: The application deadline for lottery permits to visit Alaska’s McNeil River State Game Sanctuary is March 1.

Located 100 air miles west of Homer, McNeil River hosts the world’s largest gathering of brown bears. They come to feed on migrating salmon and as many as 80 bears have been observed at McNeil River at one time.

Online applications for this summer must be submitted by midnight on March 1. Hard copy applications submitted by mail must be received by the Alaska Department of Fish and Game by close of business on March 1.

A nonrefundable application fee of $30 per person is required. Applications are selected by lottery and, if drawn, Alaska residents pay a $225 permit fee and nonresidents $525.

Online applications and printable application forms are available at http://www.mcneilriver.adfg.alaska.gov through the “Permits” tab and “Viewing Permits” link.

For information on the McNeil River bear viewing program and application process, contact Lands and Refuges Coordinator Ed Weiss at 267-2189 or ed.weiss@alaska.gov.