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Rick Sinnott

Anyone unlucky enough to be mauled by a bear in Alaska is mauled a second time as soon as the news hits the street. Sometimes the second mauling hurts worse than the first.

Although many Alaskans know more about the causes and avoidance of bear attacks than the average citizen of the world, there are other Alaskans who know just enough to get themselves or others into trouble. Unfortunately, these know-it-alls are more than willing to share their misinformation with the rest of us...

Rick Sinnott

Alaska State Sen. Bert Stedman, R-Sitka, has introduced a bill to establish a $100 bounty on sea otters . Senate Bill 60 would authorize the Alaska Department of Fish and Game to pay a bounty for sea otters lawfully harvested under the provisions of the Marine Mammal Protection Act (MMPA) if the person submits proof satisfactory to the department. Stedman attached a $28,000 fiscal note to the bill to pay for the first year’s bounties...

Rick Sinnott

The Alaska Legislature is considering at least two grant request packages for maintaining and enhancing Anchorage-area parks and trails. The requests were submitted by two organizations who know local parks, local park users, and their needs. Anchorage loves its parks and trails. Tucked into a small corner of a large state, the city harbors about 40 percent of the state’s population and has more than its share of visitors. Parks and trails enhance the urban quality of life, and local demand for parks has never been more pressing.

And yet the myriad forces that erect cities are not always amenable to preserving land for parks. A similar principle applies to funding parks once they are established. There are often other pressing demands...

Rick Sinnott

In the early 1820s a young English naval officer, Lieutenant John Franklin, led an expedition of officers, voyageurs, Indians and Eskimos on a 5,500-mile journey across central and northern Canada . Unable to accomplish its mission to chart the north coast of Canada and, hopefully, to discover a Northwest Passage , Franklin’s party was reduced to eating lichens. Most of them died. One resorted to cannibalism and was shot because his companions were afraid of being killed in their sleep...

Rick Sinnott

How often does a book you read as a child influence the choices you make as an adult?

Reading to a child is one of life’s simple pleasures. I read my daughters hundreds of picture books, of course, but when they were a little older, even after they learned to read on their own, we took epic journeys through books like “The Hobbit” and “The Secret Garden.” Now I’m looking forward to sharing some “big girl” books with my granddaughter, whose idea of a good author still tilts toward Dr. Seuss...

Rick Sinnott

Some 700 to 800 moose are bludgeoned to death by motor vehicles each year in Alaska. The actual number of moose-related collisions is certainly higher --some moose aren’t badly injured in a collision, even though the vehicle is, while other injured moose stagger into the woods and are never found. The total number of collisions is unknown because many people don’t report motor vehicle accidents ...

Rick Sinnott

It’s the dead of winter. Dall sheep and moose are dying of starvation, disease, avalanches, and accidental falls. Their frozen carcasses are stacking up in the refrigerated wilderness we call Alaska. It’s a good time to be a wolverine.

Wolverines are the stuff of legend. Little is known about them. What passes for knowledge is often mythical, or at least highly exaggerated. Poised near the apex of Alaska’s wild food chain, there are not many wolverines. There never were. Because they are seldom seen, because of their legendary cunning and ferocity, because they are scavengers, wolverines prompt a wide range of attitudes, from admiration to loathing. Because they are also trapped and hunted, wolverines pose a challenge for wildlife managers...

Rick Sinnott

As I recall now, the first mysterious object I found nestled in the sunflower seeds in my bird feeder was a wizened, black mushroom.

Weeks later I noticed several bright-red rose hips in the feeder, plucked from a spray of branches my wife had gathered and artfully arranged in a tall, ceramic pot by the front door. Occasionally, I’d find a rock, each stone about the size of a peanut or walnut, lying in the seeds...

Rick Sinnott

One of the last unprotected estuaries in the Municipality of Anchorage, the Campbell Creek Estuary Natural Area (CCENA) has been added to the city’s roster of parks and natural areas. The Planning and Zoning Commission approved the area’s master plan last week. The 60-acre parcel is located near the mouth of Campbell Creek...

Rick Sinnott

I blame Mrs. Geary, my eighth-grade journalism teacher, for neglecting to teach me a reporter should never vote.

Of course, my classmates and I were only 12 or 13 years old. Mrs. Geary’s more immediate challenge was unraveling the mystery of journalism’s inverted pyramid and combing our submissions for the five W’s and an H.

I never intended to be a reporter. At the beginning of the school year I told the school’s guidance counselor I wanted to be a trapper. Half a century later I find myself writing for an online news website. In the meantime, I have developed a bad habit. I’ve voted in every presidential election and nearly every local election since I turned 18...

Rick Sinnott

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