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Craig Medred

A giant hotspot in the North Pacific Ocean may help explain why a massive ocean sunfish was spotted in Prince William Sound this month and a skipjack tuna was caught in a gillnet weeks earlier near the mouth of the Copper River, scientists say.

Both species are unusual visitors to Alaska. Steve Moffitt, a research biologist with the Alaska Department of Fish and Game in Cordova, believes the tuna might be the northernmost ever recorded. "'Fishes of Alaska' (a 2002 book by Catherine Mecklenburg) has one confirmed documentation caught in a setnet in Yakutat Bay in 1981 and a personal communication that some were caught off southern southeastern Alaska,'' he noted in an email to colleagues...

Craig Medred

If he’d been on either of the big islands of the Kodiak Archipelago, Alaska fisheries biologist James Jackson would have been worrying a bit about the fabled Kodiak brown bears as he waded up a salmon stream, counting fish. But on comparatively tiny Shuyak Island -- a 47,000-acre forested chunk of rock at the north end of the island chain 200 miles south of Anchorage -- they weren't in his thoughts earlier this month.

"You don't see many bears on Shuyak," he said in a telephone interview this week...

Craig Medred

TWENTYMILE RIVER -- A half-mile or so below where the disappearing Winner Creek Trail stumbles out of the brush to meet the upper reaches of this Chugach Mountain stream, the water disappears too.

The flow bends right into the woods, narrows and is gone. A large, wide, riverbed of dry gravel remains to the left. A portage of a quarter-mile leads to where a thin trickle of water reappears along the far bank.

Thus the uninitiated are introduced to the vagaries of backcountry travel along Alaska's meandering and wildly fluctuating mountain rivers, and the bad habit backcountry routes have of sort of fading away...

Craig Medred

Down $150,000 in legal fees and looking to waste a couple weeks in a courtroom in Glennallen with his pocketbook hit daily to the tune of thousands of dollars, Jimmy West in August decided it was time to fold his hand in an unwanted wager with Alaska law enforcement.

The Anchorage businessman cut a deal, took a plea and ended what was shaping up as one of the state's more interesting trials, pitting the stars of one Alaska reality TV show, "Alaska State Troopers," against the star of another, "Wild West Alaska."...

Craig Medred

The Wilderness Act turned 50 this week in a state that has more wilderness today than it did 100 years ago. This strange dichotomy is cause for some contemplation.

I ran north from Minnesota in 1973, planning to escape into the wild. A summer of living largely on snowshoe hares and grayling quickly taught me life in the wilderness isn't an idyllic as it might look from the far-off perspective of comfortable civilization.

And so I spent a life on the edge of the wilderness, first in Fairbanks, then Juneau and finally Anchorage. Sometimes I still miss the Juneau years, spent on a sailboat that made wilderness unbelievably accessible...

Craig Medred

The director of the state Division of Wildlife Conservation is pushing back on National Park Service proposed rules to restrict hunting of coyotes, wolves and bears in about 20 million acres of preserves, arguing that federal officials are treating Alaska differently from states to the south.

For inexplicable reasons, "the NPS allows year-round coyote seasons in the Lower 48 but has determined that they are unethical in Alaska," according to Director Doug Vincent-Lang...

Craig Medred

A long-running disagreement between the state of Alaska and the National Park Service over how to manage wolves and bears is continuing with the federal agency moving to permanently block predator-control efforts on the millions of acres of land it controls in the state.

The park service said Thursday it is proposing a permanent ban on "three historically illegal predator hunting practices in Alaska’s national preserves.''...

Craig Medred

Sixty-five-year-old bicyclist Eldridge Griffith, a man who spent most of his life counseling kids who made errors of judgment, in January made an error of judgment that cost him his life on an Anchorage street.

Motorist Tj Justice, a man with a difficult and troubled past, happened to be in the wrong place at the wrong time driving a little too fast. He killed Griffith.

Now, after eight months of investigation and much poking and prodding of Justice's life, authorities have revealed that a surveillance camera caught every second of what happened, and based on the videotape they believe Griffith's death to have been the result of a tragic and complicated accident...

Craig Medred

Seventeen years ago, someone died high on a mountain south of the Alaska port city of Seward at the head of Resurrection Bay.

Alaska State Troopers report, however, they cannot say who they believe it was because of Department of Public Safety policies. Consequently, the man's name may never be known...

Craig Medred

The giant hot dog that’s now a moving landmark on the Susitna Flats west of Anchorage appears to have been the victim of not one, but two pranks.

Left tied beneath the Old Glenn Highway bridge over the Matanuska River a decade ago after being swiped from Little Miller's Ice Cream near Wasilla , it was discovered there by the Miller family...

Craig Medred

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