Outdoors

Elizabeth Earl / KDLL

Jason Oles knows a lot about bears. He’s worked among Kodiak brown bears, Rocky Mountain grizzlies, North Slope polar bears, and Kenai Peninsula black bears, on various national parks and wildlife refuges. Now a ranger at the Kenai National Wildlife Refuge, he says there are definitely a few tricks to living, working, and recreating among bears.

Sabine Poux/KDLL

Money for a 500-mile Alaska Long Trail will likely be included in the Alaska Legislature’s budget this year.

The nonprofit Alaska Trails Initiative came up with the idea for a multi-use trail between Seward and Fairbanks last year and has been trying to find money for it since. 

On Wednesday, Sitka Republican Sen. Bert Stedman and Anchorage Democratic Sen. Bill Wielechowski sponsored an amendment to the Senate’s version of the budget to set aside $13 million for the project.

The Alaska Long Trail is a proposal to create a continuous, 500-mile hiking route from Seward to Fairbanks, linking together existing trails and creating  new ones. This project would also link together grassroots efforts and organizations, namely, Alaska Trails, and land managers, including the Alaska Division of Parks and Outdoor Recreation. On this week’s Kenai Conversation, we hear about what it would take to create the Alaska Long Trail and to create partnerships to maintain existing trails throughout the state.

Kenai Watershed Forum

 The Kenai Watershed Forum’s annual 5K race series is kicking off this week, but don’t look for it on Tsalteshi Trails—this year, it’ll be in town.

The annual run series came from a Caring for the Kenai project by Kenai runner Ali Ostrander and has grown to draw more than a hundred runners of all skills and ages every Wednesday in July and early August. The Kenai Watershed Forum runs the event as a fundraiser. It’s always been on the trails, but this year, Watershed Forum development director Tami Murray said the outhouse at the trails wasn’t going to work for sanitation purposes, so they’re trying it out in town.

A staple central Kenai Peninsula family winter festival needs a new organizer. The Soldotna Chamber of Commerce announced that it would no longer put on the Peninsula Winter Games.

“Our capacity here at the chamber has just been maxed out. We need somebody who has the time to give it the love that it needs. Sometimes you have to pull back and say, ‘Is this really what we should be doing for our members and our community or would there be somebody better to take this on?’ It’s wasn’t an easy decision at all,” said Shanon Davis, executive director of the chamber.

This year’s games, held the third weekend in January, was the 44th event. 

Join Elizabeth Appleby for a discussion on backcountry ice skating — where to go, when to go, what gear to use, safety and more.

KDLL's Adventure Talks program took over the Kenai Conversation this week. Local chiropractor/paddling instructor/adventurer Matt Pyhala stopped by to discuss the how/where/when/why of biking the Hebridean Way, which he and his wife, Sarah, did in June. The 200-plus-mile cycling route took them through the Outer Hebrides Islands off the northwest coast of Scotland.
 
 Join Matt and Sarah for photos, stories and video of the trip at 6:30 p.m. Oct. 17 at the Kenai Visitors and Cultural Center. Admission is free for KDLL members and $5 for nonmembers.

KDLL's Jenny Neyman speaks with Lisa Maloney, author of "Day Hiking Southcentral Alaska," about becoming a guide book author and writing her new book. This show aired at 10 a.m. May 22. On May 23, Maloney gave an Adventure Talks presentation at the Kenai Visitors and Cultural Center, showing pictures and talking about trails in the region, as well as hiking safety, gear and more.

Host Jenny Neyman interviews noted Alaska mountaineer Dave Hart about getting started climbing 30+ years ago, staying safe and what he's learned along the way.

Tag along with Dave up Redoubt, Iliamna, Torbert and Truuli peaks during a live photo presentation at 7 p.m. May 10 at the Kenai Visitors and Cultural Center. Admission is $5, or free for KDLL members.

Doug Armstrong, Jim Bennett, Wally Hufford and Julie Stephens spent 11 days paddling down the Alatna River in Gates of the Arctic National Park in July, and they join KDLL Adventure Talks for an hour talk about planning and packing for the packraft trip.
 

They'll share photos and stories from the trip during a live presentation at 7 p.m. Thursday, Oct. 19, at the Kenai Visitors and Cultural Center. Come ask questions, check out their gear and maybe get an idea for an adventure of your own.