Alaska Trip? Start Planning Now – 4 Tips to Know

Visit Alaska – Make a Plan

Travelers from all over the world come to Alaska to see this stunning display and take advantage of other winter experiences like snowmobiling, dog mushing, skiing, festivals and sporting events. Alaska Tourism Photo

A love of landscape is not new in Alaska. In a place so beautiful, with the strong cultural values of Alaska Native peoples, reducing our impact on the environment is only natural. We know that sustainable travel – considering environmental, social, cultural, and business practices as part of the travel process – is important to Alaska, our communities, and our future.

And it’s easier than you might think to tread more lightly when you visit.

These four steps are a fantastic way to get started:

1. Pack A Little Lighter

No one likes to carry around heavy suitcases, and Alaskans are pretty laid back when it comes to fashion, so bring just what you need when you’re filling your suitcase. It’s easy if you plan to dress in layers, re-wear items, and remove packaging from anything new you bought for the trip. Less weight in your suitcase means less energy – human or mechanical – is needed to move stuff around, reducing your transportation carbon footprint.
Wondering what you need to bring? There’s a packing list in The Alaska Vacation Planner.

2. Buy Local Eat Local

Buying goods and services locally – including hiring local guides – not only cuts down on shipping and transportation costs, it helps support local families and communities. You’ll also get to know more about local people and cultures by connecting one-on-one with Alaska residents. Is there something you’ve always wanted to know about living in Alaska? Here’s your chance to ask!  And, by eating local foods, you’ll get to try wild Alaska salmon and halibut, locally grown (giant!) veggies, and regional favorites while supporting Alaska fishermen, farmers, and craft food and beverage-makers. While shopping, look for the Alaska Grown, Made in Alaska, and Silver Hand labels to signify Alaska-produced items. 

Many adventures await visitors to Alaska. Alaska Tourism Instagram Photo Collection

3. Reduce, Reuse, Recycle

Get a free Alaska Travel Guide. Click picture

The “3Rs” is a common theme for promoting sustainability and they make sense (Did you know nearly half of all plastic produced is only designed to be used once?).  Reduce your footprint by bringing an extra reusable shopping bag to carry your locally produced purchases and using your own refillable water bottle or coffee mug for daily use.  Plus, those water bottles and coffee mugs are great places to put travel decals and stickers from all the great places you’re going to visit! 

4. Choose Sustainably Certified Tourism Businesses

Look for TravelAlaska.com’s advertising partners with the Adventure Green Alaska (AGA) logo. The AGA program certifies tourism businesses operating in Alaska based on economic, environmental, and social sustainability standards. AGA monitors compliance, and certified businesses must renew every two years to maintain certification. They’re the green team!

Are you Fishing?

The biggest problem with fishing in Alaska is making decisions-saltwater or fresh, salmon, trout or halibut, guided or unguided, remote lodge or road system, spring or fall, summer or winter, Southeast or Interior, Alaska Peninsula or Aleutians-the list of options is nearly endless. However, whether you’re a die-hard fly fishing purist or a visitor who’d just like to catch a couple salmon to take home for friends and family, you can fulfill your fishing fantasies in Alaska.

Northern Lights Trip?

This Far North phenomenon turns an average winter, fall or spring night into a widescreen extravaganza like nothing else. When you see the lights for the first time, there are no words, no description, to match their magnificence. You can only watch in wonder. Such beauty is a rare and oft-admired thing.

Much More.

 

 

New Year 2018, Venue for Outdoor Review, Much Change and Much To Learn

  • Moms Take to the Woods and Streams with Their Kids
  • More Industry is heading to Preserves and Protected Areas
  • Global Warming, Invasive Species…More

By Forrest Fisher

A grandmother of six from New York State, Rose Barus says, “Alaska is beautiful, but if we talk with folks that have lived there for generations, they acknowledge that change is taking place. Let’s all work to understand much more.”  Forrest Fisher Photo

In the lives of sportsmen and sportswomen, the outdoors is about fishing, hunting, hiking, camping, boating, safe shooting, all that and more. Today we know that many things are subject to change and are scientifically measurable. One of the largest trends (change) is that there are many more ladies than ever before taking hunter safety training, learning to fish and becoming certified all across the country to carry a handgun. Modern moms want their kids to eat organic, untainted food, like venison from deer and to be safe. More moms in the woods will take their kids with them.  More kids in the outdoors, a very good change.

If we talk to folks in Alaska, they acknowledge things are changing. There are fewer halibut to catch, Chinook (king) salmon are part of a variable up and down population swing more often and there are plans for new copper mines (at Bristol Bay) that may contaminate a myriad of pure water rivers with their process discharge effluents.

Is our increasing population to blame for many of the changes we read and hear about? Is world industry to blame? Is our world receding? Global warming, is it for real?

Many college-oriented experts say so, despite certain science that appears to still be quite uncertain to measure long term trends. Some experts say we do have measurable evidence of shrinking ice caps.  We all might agree that our weather is certainly changing, that’s for sure, but is it a natural cycle or man-caused?

Birds are a serious part of the storyteller tale of evidence about our planet ecosystem. There are more than 10,000 bird species in the world, but in the last 100 years, about 200 of those species have gone extinct. Should we be concerned? Yes, of course, but we should work to understand why these birds have disappeared. Those reasons might include poaching, polluted waterways, contaminated air currents, inadequate garbage disposal and a long list of manageable people issues that until now, were not considered important.

Birds, fish, seals, beluga whales, walruses, polar bears, many other animals, arctic ice and people like you and me, all seem affected.  So, believe it, we are certainly in the process of change. To the untrained among us (like me), we accept that most people are not climate scientists, biologists or environmental science engineers, but we do need to rely on the science and studies, and understanding, of these experts who do know.

With communication e-networks on the increase, it you live your life at work and at home from your smartphone and laptop, like a majority of working people today, where do we draw the line on false facts and untruths that can seem to affect lives? We can only combat the fold between falsity and truth by asking questions and trying to get involved so we can all understand more about our changing environment and actual reality.

The fact about all that is, for the bulk of us, the outdoors is something we do for recreation. It’s not our life. Maybe we need to make the outdoors and understanding it a larger part of our lives. Ecosystems worldwide are changing. Ships, planes and global industry are a big part of the management issue for world eco-health. Invasive species have come to us from these sources and more.

We have killer bees in much of America, Burmese pythons in the two million acres of the Everglades, snakehead fish that can breathe air or water in the Potomac River, and many more invasive critters that most of us sportsmen have little or no concern about. We should. These invasives are changing things, many have NO predators. Get involved.

Overall, we read there are something like 50,000 invasive plants and animal species in America alone. In Lake Erie, there are 186 invasive species at last count. There are non-native fish and mussels in that mix, too. These things affect you and me, and us all.  America offers many great places to enjoy the outdoors in all its splendor, but yes, it is changing.

As sportsmen, let’s help our neighbors all around America by keeping an eye on things that can change our ecosystem. Let’s keep our national parks and monument trails intact. Let’s prevent industry from moving to capture minerals, oil and precious ore from areas that are now protected. They have been protected for a reason: to prevent change.

Many industries want to mine copper in the border waters of Minnesota, or drill for oil and mine in the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge in the name of new energy development. I think these and many other areas should consider continued protection from industrial exploitation well into the future.

It’s important to let your legislators know how you feel about such change. Please join me in one resolution for the new year, to get more involved in these issues that affect our future.

It’s a Happy New Year for learning and sharing.

 

 

 

Planning to Visit Alaska? FREE Fairbanks Visitors Guide

  • Learn WHEN TO SEE the Aurora Borealis and the Midnight Sun
  • Learn About WHERE TO STAY 
  • Learn WHEN TO VISIT Denali National Park
Click on the picture to obtain your free visitors guide.

Fairbanks, Alaska (AK) – The Explore Fairbanks 2018 Official Visitors Guide, a 78-page, full-color booklet that describes Fairbanks’ year-round opportunities, is now available for free. The annual publication is designed to capture the features and attractions specific to life in the region. Fairbanks is defined by the midnight sun, the Aurora Borealis, the centrally located Chena and Yukon Rivers and many miles of wilderness.

Fairbanks delineates the Aurora Season as August 21 through April 21, when visitors have the opportunity of seeing the Aurora Borealis. Fairbanks’ location is ideal for northern lights viewing because it is under the “Auroral Oval,” a ring-shaped zone where aurora activity is concentrated. Additionally, Fairbanks’ low precipitation and distance from coastal areas contributes to consistently clear nights. All combined, these conditions make the Fairbanks Region an outstanding destination for Aurora viewing. Conversely, the Midnight Sun Season runs from April 22 through August 20. The midnight sun shines brightly for the whole summer with the most sunlight occurring between May 17 and July 27, when Fairbanks experiences 70 straight days of light.

Known as the “Golden Heart of Alaska,” Fairbanks is located in the center of Alaska and serves as the basecamp for Alaska’s vast Interior and Arctic. Places situated nearby are Denali National Park and Preserve, the Arctic Circle, Chena Hot Springs, North Pole and a myriad of villages, refuges and parks. The Arctic is featured prominently as Fairbanks is the hub for travel, research, supplies and transportation to the area. The guide highlights year-round activities available in the frontier community that include fishing, wildlife viewing, birdwatching, hiking, visiting museums and floating the Chena River. Additional activities take place during the winter months, such as dog mushing, ice sculpting, snowmobiling and skiing. The guide also features exhibitions, attractions and performances focused on Alaska Native heritage, contemporary arts and gold rush history.

The calendar section details significant events including the World Eskimo-Indian Olympics, the Yukon Quest International Sled Dog Race and the Midnight Sun Festival. The guide also lists a wide variety of seasonal and year-round accommodations, services, restaurants, shopping and attractions.

For a free copy of the 2018 Fairbanks Visitors Guide and the companion piece, the 2017-2018 Fairbanks Winter Guide, contact Explore Fairbanks at 1-800-327-5774 or (907) 456-5774 or write to Explore Fairbanks, 101 Dunkel St, Suite 111, Fairbanks, AK 99701-4806. View both guides online at explorefairbanks.com.

About Explore Fairbanks: Explore Fairbanks is a non-profit marketing and management organization whose mission is to be an economic driver in the Fairbanks region by marketing to potential visitors and optimizing the visitor experience. Explore Fairbanks markets Fairbanks as a year-round destination by promoting local events, attractions and activities to independent travelers, group tour operators, travel agents, meeting planners and the media as well as by developing public policy and infrastructure to achieve marketing objectives. Find out more at explorefairbanks.com.

 

 

 

 

Sportsmen Urge Senate to Reject Plan to Drill Arctic Refuge

  • Backcountry Hunters & Anglers – The Sportsmen’s Voice for Our Wild Public Lands, Waters and Wildlife

As Senate considers opening energy development in Arctic National Wildlife Refuge,
hunting/fishing opportunities in America’s ‘last frontier’ showcased in new film from BHA

MISSOULA, Mont., Nov. 14, 2017 – As Senate members prepare to advance legislation that would open the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge in Alaska to oil and gas development, public lands sportsmen and women are amplifying calls to reject the measure.

On Wednesday, the Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee will hold a markup of the bill, introduced by Sen. Lisa Murkowski of Alaska and touted as an economic booster. In a short film released today, Backcountry Hunters & Anglers members visit the Arctic Refuge for an epic, once-in-a-lifetime caribou hunt, fishing trip and exploration of the region’s awe-inspiring terrain. The film ends with a call to action: urging public lands advocates to contact their senators to oppose drilling the refuge.

“This is the crown jewel that every backcountry hunter and angler should have the opportunity to fulfill in their lifetime,” said BHA member Barry Whitehill, of Fairbanks, Alaska, who appears in the film and traveled to Washington, D.C., recently to meet with members of Congress in support of the region’s conservation. “It’s the dream for anybody that’s passionate about hunting and fishing.”

“You can’t be seen as a public lands champion if you’re on the wrong side of history,” said BHA Conservation Director John Gale. “Sportsmen and women are looking to our elected officials to take action at this crucial moment in support of this unique place, its irreplaceable fish and wildlife habitat and hunting and fishing opportunities it provides. Strong, sound Senate leadership is needed now more than ever to ensure that the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge remains wild and free from energy development that belongs in more appropriate and productive places.”

BHA has emerged as a leading voice in support of conserving the Arctic Refuge. BHA supports responsible energy development in places where we can achieve balance and limit impacts to fish and wildlife, but polls commissioned over the summer in Arizona and Colorado show strong public opposition to energy development in the refuge. In Arizona, 61 percent of voters opposed the proposal, along with 58 percent of Colorado voters.

Established in 1960 by President Eisenhower “for the purpose of preserving unique wildlife, wilderness and recreational values,” the refuge’s 19.5 million acres, including 8 million acres of wilderness, provide habitat to iconic game species including grizzlies, Dall sheep and caribou.

Said Whitehill in the BHA video, “Last frontier…you know, you take this out of the equation we have no more frontier. I don’t know if that’s a world I’d want to spend much time in.”

The Senate last month rejected a budget amendment that would have prevented oil and gas development within the refuge.

Watch the BHA film on the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge – and take action.

What would Theodore Roosevelt do?

Contact: Katie McKalip, 406-240-9262, mckalip@backcountryhunters.org

 

Nautilus Reels to Offer Customized “No Pebble Mine” Reel to Support Bristol Bay

  • Nautilus Reels Supports NO PEBBLE MINE Conservation
  • NEW Nautilus Reel Features Artwork symbol NO PEBBLE MINE
The Nautilus family will offer a one-of-a-kind CCF-X2 reel that features artwork and customized colors that center around opposition to the proposed Pebble Mine. The multiple award winning dual action CCF-X2 drag system features twice the drag strength (20lbs+), twice the smoothness and half the startup inertia as the former CCF. Nautilus Photo

MIAMI (March 17, 2017) — Recognizing the enduring challenge of defending watersheds and resources, Nautilus Reels is pleased to support the efforts of Trout Unlimited’s Alaska Program and their work to protect Bristol Bay and the related ecosystems of the region with a unique customized reel.

Nautilus has created a one-of-a-kind CCF-X2 reel that features artwork and customized colors that center around opposition to the proposed Pebble Mine.

The CCF-X2 Disc Braking System is an upgraded, stronger, lighter version of the Cork and Carbon Fiber brake of its predecessor. It features twice the drag surface in a dual-action brake configuration. Coupled with hybrid ceramic bearings, the reel delivers less than 1% startup inertia at all drag settings. This brake unit is feather light and can be easily switched from RH to LH retrieve. The Brembo® brakes of fly fishing.

Nautilus Reels aims to make a statement against Pebble Mine with the custom reel while also gathering more support for No Pebble Mine efforts. With this in mind, this unique reel will be given away to one lucky winner who signs up for Trout Unlimited’s email list at savebristolbay.org/nautilus-sign-up between now and June 15, 2017.

Nautilus Reels is eager to help defeat the proposed mine. “The threat to Bristol Bay that Pebble Mine brings is a threat to the heart of fly fishing for salmon,” says Nautilus owner Kristen Mustad. “Nautilus Reels recognizes the need of the fly fishing community to come together to protect this area.”

With more anglers behind the cause of saving Bristol Bay, Nautilus believes we can defeat this threat to one of the most treasured ecosystems in the world fly fishing community.

About Nautilus Reels:

Founded by Kristen Mustad, Nautilus Reels produces an award-winning line of reels from its headquarters in Miami, Florida. Nautilus is on the forefront of reel innovation and maintains a tradition of experience and excellence while continuously redefining performance. For more information about Nautilus Reels, please visit their website and follow Nautilus on Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter.