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Outdoors calendar

Bob Hallinen/Anchorage Daily NewsA ruffed grouse drums on a log in the Mat-Su Valley area recently. Ruffed grouse are native to the Yukon, Porcupine, Tanana, Kuskokwim and upper Copper Rivers and in the Taku and Stikine River drainages in Southeast. The birds were introduced to the Southcentral region. Males begin the drumming in April at the start of the breeding season. The drumming sound is made by beating its wings while it leans back on its spread tail feathers. 040512
Bob Hallinen
FILE - Pioneer Peak dominates the view during a trail ride with Kim's Scenic Trail Rides on the Butte on Thursday, August 8. (Stephen Nowers/Anchorage Daily News) 020808
Stephen Nowers

Statewide Trails Conference to begin

The Alaska Trails Statewide Trails Conference will be held at Alaska Pacific University beginning Thursday and continuing through Saturday. Keynote speakers: Troy Duffin, president, Alpine Trails Inc. of Utah, who helped turn Park City into a trail mecca by highlighting the economic benefits of trails; Christine Byl, author of "Dirt Work: An Education in the Woods" and co-owner of Interior Trails; and Holly Brooks, two-time Olympian, who will speak on "Why Trails Matter" at 7 p.m. Friday in the Grant Hall Theatre.

The conference includes nearly fifty breakout sessions on topics such as trail maintenance, mini-mechanized equipment, funding for trails, youth trail projects, trail crews, the health and economic benefits of trails, easements, mountain bike flow trails and more. For more conference details and complete agenda, go to www.alaska-trails.org.

Stikine River Birding Festival starts Thurs.

The Stikine River Birding Festival celebrates the spring arrival of hundreds of thousands of shorebirds to the Stikine River Delta. The Wrangell festival takes place Thursday-Sunday. Activities for birders and non-birders are offered during the four-day celebration. This year's highlights include a featured artist, guest speakers, photo competition, arts and crafts fair, bird walks, family activities and a banquet. The festival is sponsored by the Tongass National Forest in partnership with the City and Borough of Wrangell, the Wrangell Convention and Visitors Bureau, the James and Elsie Nolan Center and Wrangell Public Schools. The schedule is online at stikinebirding.org.

THURSDAY

Alaska Outdoors Weekly Hiking, 6:30-8 p.m., Ray E. Storck Homestead Park, Clarks Road and Rabbit Creek Road. Alaska Outdoors hosts year-round outing events every Monday and Thursday throughout the Anchorage area. Monday outings are for beginners and families. Thursday outings are more challenging. Meeting location changes every week. $1 for nonmembers. (770-0440, www.alaska-outdoors.org)

SATURDAY

KPRCD Ag Forum, 9 a.m., Land's End Resort, 4786 Homer Spit Road, Homer. The Kenai Peninsula Resource Conservation and Development District hosts its fourth annual Ag Forum. Learn about composting with fish waste and building healthy soils, hear from beekeepers, learn about growing cut flowers and get questions answered on filing your farm taxes. (252-5064)

Alaska Heart Run, 9:30 a.m., UAA Fine Arts Building, 3640 Alumni Drive. Choose between the 5-K timed/untimed event or the 3-K event. For 36 years the Heart Run has inspired Alaskans to stay on a heart-healthy path by keeping physically active. Proceeds benefit the local American Heart Association. Presenting sponsor: Alaska Heart & Vascular Institute. $5-$25. (865-5300, www.AlaskaHeartRun.org)

MONDAY

A Conversation Between Alaskan Landscapes and Poetry, 6 p.m., Loussac Library Innovation Lab, Level 4, 3600 Denali St. The public is invited to help discover nominees for the Poems in Place Project, which places poems by Alaska writers in two Alaska state parks every year. Wendy Erd and Claire LeClair will present imagery from Lake Aleknagik/Wood Tikchik State Park and the Independence Mine State Historical Park. They will then dive into a selection of anthologies and poetry books featuring Alaska poets to find a relationship between place and poem. Bring your own books to share. Tea and cookies will be provided. Free. (www.alaskacenterforthebook.org)

Alaska Outdoors Weekly Hiking, 6:30 p.m., Bicentennial Park, Smoke Jumper Trailhead, BLM Road. Monday outings are for beginners and families. Meeting location changes every week. $1 for nonmembers. (770-0440, www.alaska-outdoors.org)

coming up

Alaska Dirt Divas Wednesday Ride, 6:30-8:30 p.m. April 30, Chugiak High School, 16525 Birchwood Loop Road. Pre-ride the Bike for Women course. This ride is on paved roads with limited shoulders. Wear bright colors; expect windy conditions and plenty of hills. Helmet and teacup are required. The Alaska Dirt Divas is a mountain biking group for women that's dedicated to teaching mountain biking skills to women, building and sustaining local trails, and fostering friendships and a love of the outdoors. They ride every Wednesday evening, May-September. (alaskadirtdivas.blogspot.com)

45th Annual Walk and Roll for Hope, 8:30 a.m. May 3, Delaney Park Strip. Many people who grew up in Anchorage still remember the 31-mile course from one end of Anchorage to the other. The route may have changed but the spirit of supporting friends and neighbors who experience a disability lives on. This event raises funds and awareness for Alaskans who experience intellectual and developmental disabilities and is a benefit for Hope Community Resources. (433-4914, www.hopealaska.org)

Alaska Airmen's Association Great Alaska Aviation Gathering, 9 a.m.- 5 p.m. May 3, FedEx Maintenance Hangar, 5800 Lockheed Ave. Nearly 300 exhibitors as well as indoor and outdoor static displays will showcase state-of-the-art aviation technology, products and innovations, complemented by expert speakers on aviation advocacy, search and rescue, safety and more. A special kids' section and many interactive displays will help guarantee even the youngest members of the family will enjoy this aircraft extravaganza. Free. (800-464-7030, www.greatalaskaaviationgathering.org)

Race Judicata, 10 a.m. May 4, Westchester Lagoon, U Street and West 15th Avenue. This annual 5-K run/walk is a fundraiser for the Anchorage Youth Court. Runners, joggers, walkers, and dogs are welcome. Register today for $20 and receive a performance fabric race shirt featuring custom artwork. You can even register your dog in the special dog division for $20 -- there will be prizes for top dog. (www.active.com/anchorage-ak/running/races/race-judicata-2014)

Mat Su Rotary 5-K (formerly the Menard Run), 3 p.m., Colony High Theatre, East Colony Schools Drive. This year there will be prizes for the largest family, the largest corporate team, the best bling baby stroller and the most colorful.

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