Mike Campbell

For the first time in four years, anglers pursuing the mythic Kenai River king salmon will be able to use more-effective bait, another indication the long-hobbled fishery may be rebounding. “We’ve seen a rebound of king salmon in Cook Inlet,” said Jason Pawluk, the Soldotna-based assistant area management biologist for the Alaska Department of Fish and Game. “We estimate 1,700 fish have been harvested in the river since July 1. It’s certainly better than it’s been the last few years.” Pawluk and his fellow state biologists project that up to 25,600 king salmon will escape upriver to spawn -- even taking into account a greater harvest due to the use of bait over the last week of the season. Anglers could land as many as 3,500 additional kings, Fish and Game estimates. “Bait is more...Mike Campbell
Short and sweet. And educational too. Southcentral Alaska has an array of trails, with some of the better-known ones offering quite an excursion. The Resurrection Pass Trail spans 38 miles from Hope to Cooper Landing. The Crow Pass Trail is roughly a full marathon between Girdwood and Eagle River. At the other end of the spectrum is the Inside the Slide Trail that lies within the maze of social trails at Earthquake Park. It’s a half-mile long and was just freshened up by Youth Employment in Parks (YEP) with 10 new interpretive signs explaining the impact of the 1964 earthquake on that part of west Anchorage, especially the massive earth slide that stretched for about a mile. With a $50,000 grant from the 2014 legislature, the Anchorage Park Foundation worked with the Anchorage Parks...Mike Campbell
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The Inside the Slide Trail lies within the maze of social trails at Earthquake Park. It’s a half-mile long and just freshened up by Youth Employment in Parks (YEP) with 10 new interpretive signs explaining the impact of the 1964 earthquake on that part of west Anchorage, especially the massive...
Mike Campbell
Imagine moving a boulder weighing more than two tons from one side of Resurrection Bay to the other. That was one of the challenges Lauren and Nick Georgelos faced in rehabilitating nearly a mile of the popular Seward-area Caines Head Trail that was damaged by floods back as far as 2012. The Georgeloses, co-owners of the Girdwood excavation services company Geo Contracting, were hired by Alaska State Parks, which used funding from FEMA to complete the project. The Caines Head Trail passes through a massive headland rising 650 feet above Resurrection Bay against a backdrop of rolling Alpine meadows, sharp peaks and eventually a sweeping view of the North Pacific. “At the entrance, especially, there were large rocks that were hazards,” said Jacob Gondek, the project manager with Alaska...Mike Campbell
For the first time, Mat-Su cross-country skiers will soon be able to get out on the trail close to home, despite the gloom of dark winter evenings. A $390,000 grant from the Mat-Su Health Foundation will allow the Matanuska-Susitna Borough to install LED lights on 2 1/2 miles of trail in the Government Peak Recreation Area near Hatcher Pass. That should brighten portions of Pioneer Loop, the Stadium and Matanuska Loop for skiers during the dark days of winter. Pioneer Loop is used by an array of nonmotorized recreationalists including mountain bikers, skijorers, hikers and dog walkers. The other two are ski-only trails. “It’s real significant,” said Ed Strabel, president of the Mat-Su Ski Club. “For years, I used to get on the highway, drive to Chugiak, ski an hour, and come back. A bunch...Mike Campbell
As the calendar flips to June most years, hefty halibut start showing up in Alaska ports – and this year is no exception. Perhaps the biggest – and certainly the oddest – is a giant 250-pound-plus-pound halibut landed by 10-year-old Lily Hornish of Boise, Idaho, during a trip aboard a charter with Ketchikan’s Clover Pass Resort earlier this month. Boise TV station KBOI reported the halibut as a 333-pounder, though a spokesman for Clover Pass said the resort’s scale topped out at 250 pounds and a length-to-weight ratio was used to estimate its weight. “The size of that fish is pretty unusual,” said Michael Briggs, the resort’s marketing manager. “Typically we see a few over 200 pounds during the summer, but not 300.” Hornish got the jump on family members aboard the charter. "It was the...Mike Campbell
These are giddy days for Southcentral king salmon anglers, who in recent years have grown accustomed to an unremitting string of fishing closures and restrictions. On Thursday, the Alaska Department of Fish and Game had a double dose of good news. Due to strong early returns, anglers will get four more days to fish for king salmon on the Kenai Peninsula's Anchor River, while on the popular Deshka River in the Mat-Su, bait and treble hooks will be allowed. Through Tuesday, 8,259 kings had passed the Deshka fish-counting weir at river mile 7, making state biologists certain they'll reach the minimum escapement goal of 13,000 fish. Typically, about 20 percent of the run has passed the weir by this date. Beginning at 6 a.m. Saturday, the loosened regulations regarding bait and multiple hooks...Mike Campbell,Beth Bragg
Not only were Alaskans competing at the World Taxidermy and Fish Carving Championships last month, they were on the podium too. Russell Knight, owner of Knight’s Taxidermy in Anchorage and star of the cable TV series “Mounted in Alaska” that ran for 16 episodes on the History Channel, was master of ceremonies for the 650 people attending the closing awards banquet. “What a great privilege and honor that was,” he said Monday. “That was the finest group of taxidermists ever assembled under one roof.” Among those recognized were Matt Potter of Soldotna, who took second place in the taxidermy-of-birds category for his ptarmigan, and Ron Ginter of Chugiak in the decorative lifestyle division for his rainbow trout. Knight grew up in Jackson, Mississippi, and began working at a taxidermy shop...Mike Campbell
When the calendar flips to May, many Alaskans’ thoughts turn to fishing, hiking, boating and camping. Or, for the terminally dull, spring cleaning. But Adam Holzer and five of his Anchorage mates in the loose organization called DOOM/love figured it was too early to give up on snowboarding, so they...
Mike Campbell
Hikers and mountain bikers making the popular trek over Powerline Pass and down to the community of Indian along the Seward Highway will find their way blocked later this summer. The Chugach Electric Association plans to rebuild about six miles of the 75-megawatt transmission line constructed in 1962, ensuring it’s up to current standards and able to withstand ice loading and fierce windstorms that sometimes pound the pass. Work will begin about 4 miles from the popular Glen Alps parking lot in Chugach State Park and continue over the pass. “We expect a pretty big impact” on trail users, Chugach project manager Andrew Laughlin said. Intermittent trail closures will begin later his month. The entire trail from Powerline Pass to Indian will be closed in July and August, when construction...Mike Campbell