Skip to main content

Posts

Featured Post

Pack Llamas Under Seige on Alaska's Public Lands

Pack llamas have historically played an important role on our public lands, whether they are used to pack equipment for trail maintenance or to haul out human waste as they do in Rocky Mountain National Park. However, over the years there have been scientifically unfounded proposals made by government agencies to ban llamas from our public lands.

History of Llama Bans in Alaska (Past and Current)
In January 2015 a ban on domesticated sheep, goats, alpacas and llamas in Alaska’s national parks was proposed in a National Park Service (NPS) compendium. After a public comment period ended in February 2015, domesticated sheep and goats were banned, but the pack camelids (llamas and alpacas) were still allowed in Alaska’s national parks with written permission from Alaska’s park superintendents and a current health certificate.Pack Llamas Get OK After Proposed Ban in Alaska National Parks.
In December 2016, the Bureau of Land Management (BLM) approved the Eastern Interior Resource Managemen…
Recent posts

Barbara Falls - Two Ways to Get There (November Featured Hike)

There are two ways to get to the spectacular 60 foot Barbara Falls (also called South Fork Falls) in Eagle River, Alaska. The easiest and shortest way is to drive to the gate at the bottom of Ken Logan Circle. The falls are about a half-mile walk on old roads from the end of Ken Logan Circle in a neighborhood off Hiland Road. No matter which route you take, be sure to bring some type of bear deterrent as this area is frequented by both black and grizzly bears in the warmer months. The noise from the falls is loud, so it's easy to surprise a bear. (See video below.)
Short Route: Take the Glenn Highway about 10 miles north to Eagle River Loop and exit toward the mountains. Turn right at the first light onto Hiland Road. Continue uphill about 3.3 miles and turn left onto River View Drive into a neighborhood. Veer left as it becomes Waterfall Drive, then follow until it dead-ends into River Park Drive. Continue right to Ken Logan Circle. Most of the circle is signed off-limits to park…

Precautionary Principle and Pack Llamas

The "precautionary principle" originated as a strategy to deal with possible risks where scientific understanding/study was not yet complete (i.e. nano technology and genetically modified foods.) However, the precautionary principle (precautionary approach) has also been used by policy makers to justify discretionary decisions in situations where there is a possibility of harm from making a certain decision when they deem there is inadequate scientific knowledge.

Why Should I Care?
The danger is that a precautionary (no risk) principle/approach fails to recognize there is no such thing as zero risk. For example, a scientific risk assessment recognizes the existence of "risk" and attempts to quantify it. The objective is to determine the likelihood of something happening and the consequences. Although science can provide a high level of confidence it can never provide absolute certainty. The precautionary principle places an impossible burden of proof on the user gr…

Chugach National Forest (CNF) is attempting to ban pack llamas

Chugach National Forest (CNF) "short circuited" the NEPA process by providing no pubic notice to eliminate commercial use of pack llamas based on a perceived disease threat to wild sheep and goats. Since CNF's ban identifies pack llamas as a disease threat, this opens the door to eliminate them for all uses (including recreational) in the future. The public process was "short circuited" because CNF did not include verbiage that banned llamas in their draft Chugach National Forest Land Management Plan that was open for public comment in 2018.  However, this pack llama ban was added to the Final Chugach National Forest Land Management Plan after the public comment period was over which effectively eliminated comment by the pack llama user group. Now the pack llama user group is faced with protesting the final CNF decision during the objection period. Your comments on past proposals to ban llamas on pubic lands has been very effective and we need your support agai…

Hike to the Perch, Heritage Falls (September Featured Hike)

The Historic Iditarod (aka Crow Pass) Trail which spans the Girdwood Valley to Eagle River is considered one of the best trails to hike in the Chugach mountain range and offers diverse scenic sights including glaciers, waterfalls, wildlife. It’s not only a great hiking/backpacking route, but it's also an historic portion of the Iditarod Trail that led from Seward to mines in the Interior. A bit of trivia not known by many is that this trail was rebuilt in the 1970s with girl scout labor.
One of my favorite hikes on the Historic Iditarod Trail is the section from the Eagle River Nature Center (ERNC) to Heritage Falls. It's about a 10.5 mile round trip (RT) from the ERNC and makes for a nice day hike. The trail from the ERNC to the Perch (mile 4) and then on to Heritage Falls (mile 5) can usually be hiked safely all times of the year including winter. It's especially beautiful in the fall due to the changing color. For driving directions to the ERNC, go to this link ERNC We…

Hike the Symphony Lake - Ship Creek Loop (August Featured Hike)

Do this hike in September and you will be rewarded with vibrant fall colors! The hike goes through the beautiful South Fork Valley and over the mountains into Ship Creek with stunning views of alpine lakes (Eagle and Symphony), tarns and valleys surrounded by rugged, glaciated mountains.

Download this free DNR South Fork Valley Trail Guide: SF Trail Guide & Map

To get there, take the trail to Eagle and Symphony Lakes from the South Fork trailhead parking lot where there is now a fee station. Alaska State Park Fees. Proceed to the west side of Symphony Lake where there are several camping spots if you decide to camp here for the night. Once on the southwest side of Symphony Lake, look to the mountains directly west for a broad mostly tundra slope with a saddle at the top. After a 1600 foot climb you will reach the saddle where you can see the North Fork of Ship Creek. At this point you can either drop about halfway down to Ship Creek to find an old horse trail. Follow the horse/an…

Hike Williwaw and Long Lakes (July Featured Hike)

The hike to Williwaw Lakes is one of my favorites in Alaska's Chugach State Park. This trek which is a short drive from downtown Anchorage, offers a variety of options including day hikes, overnight or multiday adventures, In the winter, it is also popular ski trail. The lakes are alpine jewels situated in a mountainous valley above Anchorage at the base of craggy Mount Williwaw (elev. 5,445 ft.). The trek to the lakes takes the hiker through alpine tundra amid a variety of alpine flowers, grassy meadows and scrub hemlock. The pristine lakes offer the hiker an alpine paradise with spectacular views of surrounding mountains with the added bonus of wildlife viewing of dall sheep, moose, coyotes, fox, and various waterfowl. There are plenty of camping opportunities around the Williwaw Lakes.


There are several ways to access the lakes. For the more gentle but longer route, take the Middle Fork Trail from the Prospect Heights Parking lot. For a shorter but more rugged trail, start fr…

"Get Your Hike On" with an Alaska Hiking Group

Looking for a hiking buddy or group? Here's a list of Alaska hiking groups compiled/copied from various Facebook posts and websites. The groups range from easy family-friendly to more challenging for experienced hikers. Some welcome anyone; others are women only and are geared for various ability levels. I included website and/or Facebook links if available. If you know of others, just send me a message and I will include. I hope this helps and that you find the group that is right for you. Get Your Hike On!
Anchorage Trail Walkers - https://www.meetup.com/Anchorage-Trail-Walkers/
Website says - We get out 2-3 times a week on Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays DURING THE
DAY, usually at 10am.

Women Who Hike Alaska - https://www.facebook.com/groups/284961021989141/

Hike Like A Woman Alaska: Typically women only, but may host “family style” events where everyone is welcome. All skill levels, though the hikes will vary in difficulty

Thick Chicks with Hiking Sticks (slower pace) https://ww…