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Rick Sinnott

This is the first of a two-part series. You can read the second part here .

While many Alaskans are celebrating the demise of House Bill 77 , a far more audacious gambit to overturn state regulations is quietly coming to fruition...

Rick Sinnott

Watching a teenager roll and tumble down Mount Baldy in early February, Pete Panarese wondered how serious the young man’s injuries would be. Anticipation of deep gashes and blunt trauma gave way to another concern when he saw an object fly off the hiker’s pack partway down the 200-yard slope.

It was some sort of ice ax, with a combination pick and adze on one end and a spike on the other. The tool faithfully followed its owner to the bottom of the slope, offering multiple opportunities for impalement...

Rick Sinnott

There were premonitions. On Oct. 27, 1962, two months after moving back to Alaska, Alice felt the “sharpest” earthquake so far. Her husband, Bob, was working on the roof and her first thought was that he had fallen. Bob thought the house was shaking because Alice had done something wrong with the washing machine. But the house kept rocking. The quake was strong enough to knock a few items off shelves...

Rick Sinnott

EKLUTNA -- The two granite hills that Eklutna Village was named after were originally washed out of Eklutna Lake by a very large and angry fish. That’s according to an etiological myth told by the Dena’ina, the people who have inhabited upper Cook Inlet since before Vitus Bering “discovered” Alaska.

And that’s why, on a mythical plane of existence, it didn’t surprise me on a recent visit to Eklutna Lake to see what appeared to be the world’s largest ice-fishing setup perched on the ice about a half mile from shore. If there’s a big fish to be caught, someone is going to try to land it.

As it turned out, what looked like an ice-fishing rig was a platform for obtaining sediment cores, and the big fish being sought was scientific knowledge...

Rick Sinnott

Brace yourself for another excuse to give away Alaska wildlife. Rep. Lynn Gattis, R-Wasilla, and 12 other state representatives have sponsored a bill that will double the number of big game permits donated to organizations to auction or raffle off, often to wealthy nonresident hunters. This bill is unrelated to another bill that seeks to authorize qualified organizations to auction or raffle off “big bull moose derby” tickets ...

Rick Sinnott

Every once in a while someone calls an Alaska Department of Fish and Game office to ask a question about gambling. “Game” means different things to different people. Most Alaskans know game animals are those that can be legally hunted, and moose are at the top of the list for most of the state’s hunters...

Rick Sinnott

The mallards loitering in a midtown Anchorage park pond were quacking contentedly. Someone had poured half a bushel of cracked corn on the ice around an unfamiliar wooden structure. Corn is so much more tasty and nutritious than their usual winter fare: stale white bread. Winter doesn’t get much better than this.

Then the trap doors slammed shut. More than 600 ducks erupted into the air. The 36 ducks that didn’t fly had just volunteered to participate in a study of urban ducks in Anchorage.

Park ducks

Wild ducks are migratory birds. Most of the mallards that breed, nest, and rear their young in Alaska fly south for winter. Mallards that summer in the Cook Inlet watershed of Southcentral Alaska overwinter in Washington, Oregon, Idaho, Montana and California...

Rick Sinnott

In 1925, when Leonhard Seppala and other mushers drove their teams of huskies in an unprecedented effort to deliver serum to rescue Nome from an outbreak of diphtheria, they didn’t have to worry about dog ticks. When Libby Riddles won the now-famous Iditarod Trail Sled Dog Race in 1985, she probably didn’t worry about ticks either. Dog ticks didn’t exist in Alaska way back then. They do now.

I know Alaskans, my wife among them, who, when asked why they like living in Alaska more than other places, can quickly rattle (I almost wrote “tick”) off three important reasons: no poisonous snakes, no scorpions, no ticks. If you are one of those Alaskans, scratch “no ticks” off the list...

Rick Sinnott

So you just realized the moose that was lying in your yard for the last couple of days has rolled over and died. Who you gonna call?

Ten thousand years ago this was an easy decision. You dealt with it yourself. Or you might have hollered for a few friends to give you a hand. You might have followed an established custom or deferred to the head of the tribe or a village elder...

Rick Sinnott

Christine Cunningham has proven indisputably that Alaska’s women hunters can be just as monomaniacal about predator control as some of Alaska’s good ol’ boys. In her recent op-ed piece , Cunningham bemoaned the closure of brown bear hunting on the Kenai National Wildlife Refuge as another case of “federal overreach.”

At least 70 brown bears were killed on the Kenai Peninsula in 2013, more than 11 percent of the population. How many more bears did Cunningham want to kill this year?...

Rick Sinnott

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