The distinctive clarion call of sandhill cranes will soon echo around the skies of Homer as we welcome their arrival to begin another breeding season. Some cranes begin nesting shortly after arrival, while others may display elaborate pair bonding rituals and dances waiting up to a month to begin nesting.
Kachemak Crane Watch and the International Crane Foundation will be completing the final year of their three-year sandhill crane nesting ecology study.
What do fatbikes, bonfires and a three-foot squid have in common?
Unless, of course, you were part of Homer Cycling Club’s Big Fat Bike Festival over the weekend.
Pumped full of nearly 60 riders from across the state, the 2013 version of Homer’s low-pressure weekend came complete with perfect weather, incredible beach-riding, a wicked beach obstacle course, plenty of brew — and a mascot.
Hearing about invasive terrestrial plants is, unfortunately, getting to be routine on the central Kenai Peninsula, as residents are asked year after year to do their part to prevent invasives, such as dandelions, bird vetch and purple loosestrife, from spreading across the land.
Now a newly discovered invader — the first submerged aquatic — has upped the alarm in necessity of response. It’s one that can cause so much damage, so quickly, biologists are asking for everyone’s help to immediately start combating its spread.
Recently, the seventh grade class at Homer Middle School went down to Bishop’s Beach on a field trip to collect marine debris.
Armed with blue plastic gloves and garbage bags, they hiked down Ocean Shores Road to the rocky waterfront.
Divided into groups of three and four, the students spread out along the beach, half going east, half going west. They collected for two hours, combing the beach for styrofoam, plastic and other garbage that was stuck under rocks or in between logs.
A few of the more interesting items found were a baby Nike shoe, a tire rim, canisters of CO2 and an NFL fly-swatter.
Walking back to the trailhead, the groups met and showed off their findings. One group got a measly amount of seven items of trash in total, while others found over 2,000.
What kind of trash was most common? Styrofoam.
With nearly 600 people participating in a fall brown bear registration hunt — the first in several years on the Kenai Peninsula — it may be an understatement to say those looking to bag a bruin were eager to take to the woods in something other than a drawing hunt.
“I knew we’d issue more than the last one, since it’s been a number of years, but 569 is a little higher than anticipated,” said Jeff Selinger, area biologist with the Alaska Department of Fish and Game.
As of Monday morning, Selinger said that 569 was the number of registered hunters, with the vast majority being peninsula residents. Only 95 hunters were from other parts of the state, and only two were nonresidents, from Nebraska and New York.
Helly Hanson and Mountain Safety Research’s Cascade Designs teamed up to bring writers from six magazines on a week-long Alaska outing to demonstrate and publicize the gear they produce. They arrived in Homer Wednesday and were treated to a variety of outdoor experiences during their three-day stay.
Representatives from both companies and the public relations firm who arranged the tour traveled with the writers from Esquire, Popular Science, Wired, Backpacker, Outside and Gear Junkie magazines.
They camped three days and two nights at Charlie Anderson’s CampHomer on Diamond Ridge, a perfect remote setting for their purposes.
“It was Monte’s (Chamber of Commerce Director Monte Davis) and my vision,” Anderson said. “We cater to people who want to get off the beaten track.”
The camp is down a trail below Diamond Ridge Road at such a distance that even the traffic (if there was any) on the road could not be heard. The only hint of an amenity is a classic Alaska outhouse. Ten, two-person Mountain Safety Research tents were secluded in small cleared patches in tall fireweed that insured privacy for each camper. A wall tent for gear, halved-log tables for food and a few folding chairs at a campfire provided a gathering place for the campers.
JACKPOT LEADER • 219.6 pounds caught by Pam Seward of LaMirada, Calif. on June 15. Seward was fishing with Manns Charter Service with Captain Mike Manns aboard the F/V Arctic Addition.
Ten years ago, Mark Junge developed what he thought was the flu. When antibiotics and steroids didn’t improve his shortness of breath and other symptoms, he visited a pulmonologist. There, he was diagnosed with blood clots in his lungs and diminished lung capacity.
“I pretty much figured my life was over,” the 69-year-old adventurer, cyclist and Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease awareness advocate said of his diagnosis. “You feel like you are constantly tethered to a 10-foot plastic tube.”
COPD refers to a group of diseases that cause airflow blockage and breathing-related problems. According to the National Institutes of Health, COPD is the third-leading cause of death in the United States, impacting more than 12 million people. There is no cure for it, but it can be managed with positive-pressure oxygen.
While all fishing for kings on the Kenai River is officially over, that doesn’t mean your summer angling adventures are finished. Reports trickling in from the Kenai indicate sockeyes have finally returned to the river, and counts are looking pretty good.
The Kasilof, lower rivers of the Peninsula and the offshore fishery north of Bluff Point are also closed to kings, so keep your hands off.
Any king salmon caught accidently must not even be brought to the surface before being immediately released. Yes, even catch and release is illegal at this point.
But take heed. Anglers have reported promising results downstream from the outlet of Skilak Lake, as well as the middle and lower Kenai, with a few 10-pound sockeyes pulled from the river this weekend. Fishing is reportedly improving, with bigger fish showing up in the late runs.
• Snow levels remain around 1,500-1,800 feet, and snowshoes are still recommended for higher elevations. Crews continue clearing trails, but expect numerous downed trees on most trails, as well as wet, muddy conditions. • Trails are still rough. Consider adding 1/3 to your average hiking time. • Practice “Leave no Trace” etiquette, and pack out […]