Outdoors

As Alaska kids tick off their final days of school, an entire summer of nature-themed adventures awaits within Alaska’s national parks. 

Erin Kirkland
Managers don’t know yet how many black bears have been taken this season in Unit 6D, which encompasses coastal areas near Whittier, Valdez and Cordova. But they do know the harvests nearly tripled from the late 1990s to 2007 before dropping off sharply.Mike Campbell
The Funny River Fire burned 195,000 acres of land along the Kenai Peninsula. Nearly a year later, the Alaska Division of Forestry said they've found a hot spot caused by the massive fire. Megan Edge
Alaska’s real climbing action often takes place far from McKinley’s popular West Buttress route, which sees more than 1,000 climbers a year. Most peaks are considerably lower than McKinley, though the height of a mountain is a poor marker of its difficulty. Rather, the steepness of the terrain often makes the difference.  Seth Adams
It must be summer in Alaska; the 135-mile Denali Highway is open to the public for the season. Megan Edge
Wildlife officials closed an area near Denali National Park to wolf hunting by emergency order Thursday, ending the season two weeks early following reports of two wolves shot legally near a bear-baiting station.Dermot Cole
Heraldo Javier Callupan, 39, was found lying in the snow in the middle of Mount McKinley's high camp Sunday, the National Park Service said.Laurel Andrews
The team's 559 pounds of gear include the usual mountaineering equipment, cold-weather survival gear -- and American flags that bear the names of fallen veterans. There’s also a Sharpie so they can add more names, relayed to them by satellite phone as they climb the mountain.Lisa Maloney
With packed dirt mounds and undulating wooden boardwalks dubbed "Nessie humps," the Palmer park's star feature is an almost 2-acre "pump track" that riders are supposed to travel by pumping and gliding instead of pedaling.Zaz Hollander
What a day: Wild animals in their natural habitat, stunning scenery so vast and grand that even the best camera couldn’t fully capture the beauty, mile after mile after mile of amazing vistas, air of a clarity seldom experienced, pristine, jagged, white mountains nestled against each other, all set in a stillness and peace unique to the wilderness.Mary Wasche