Popular summer tours to the Nike Site Summit in Arctic Valley are being expanded in August — but interested visitors should apply early.
There will now be two tours on Aug. 27, the date that Friends of Nike Summit set for additional tours to the Cold War-era missile site. Limited to 50 people, the tours begin 9:30 a.m. and 2 p.m.
The deadline for reservations is 30 days before the tour. Another tour on Aug. 6 has a few spots remaining.
The tour price ($35-$40) includes bus transportation to Site Summit from the Arctic Valley Lodge lower parking lot. Children ages 12 and older are welcome.
Participants can make reservations and pay online or by phone (929-9870).
Nike Site Summit is the only one of eight Nike-Hercules missile sites in Alaska standing. Tour participants will talk to veterans who were stationed at Site Summit, find out how the missiles were launched and learn about Alaska's role in the Cold War.
Friends of Nike Site Summit was formed by local volunteers in 2007 to advocate for the preservation of the Arctic Valley site.
Northwest caribou hunt begins July 1
Alaskans who hunt in Game Management Unit (GMU) 22, which includes some of the terrain frequented by the shrinking Western Arctic caribou herd, will face new restrictions on July 1, when the hunt begins. Among them:
– A registration hunting permit is required.
– The annual bag limit is 20 caribou (maximum of five per day; no calves). Bulls, which were off-limits in 2015, may again be taken.
– Area hunters must submit reports within 15 days of filling their legal bag limit or the end of the season
No changes were made to regulations for non-resident hunters
The new regulations were adopted by the Alaska Board of Game in March. GMU 22 ranges from Shishmaref in the north through much of the Seward Peninsula, before slicing south along the Norton Sound coastline to St. Michael and the northern edge of the Yukon Delta National Wildlife Refuge.
The Western Arctic herd roams through portions of GMU 22 and neighboring GMU 23 to the north, and has historically fluctuated in size. It numbered about 240,000 animals in 1970 before falling to 75,000 just six years later. It peaked at about 490,000 caribou in 2003, and has been in decline since, to an estimated 235,000 in 2013, the last time the state did a count off aerial photos.
An attempted census last year was unsuccessful because of wildfire smoke and unusual caribou movement. The state intends to try an aerial survey again this year.
According to a Fish and Game press release, "Current metrics suggest the herd is declining at a much-reduced rate or even stabilizing. The herd is currently estimated at approximately 206,000 animals."
Registration permits will be available online and at Fish and Game offices beginning June 15.
253-pound halibut leads in Valdez
Fairbanks angler and speech pathologist David Jamison continues to lead the Valdez Halibut Derby with the 253-pound halibut he reeled in May 29.
"We have a video on YouTube of me catching the fish, and I was cursing the whole time," he said in a Valdez Fish Derbies press release.
Andrew Towne of Anchorage is second with a 133-pound fish and David Sears of Fairbanks is third with his 122-pounder. The winner takes home $15,000.
Meanwhile in Seward, Aaron Gutzwiler of Anchorage grabbed the lead in the month-long Seward Halibut Tournament with a 180-pound flatfish.