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Outdoors digest: Beware of young moose, bears; learn about river upgrades

  • Author: Mike Campbell
  • Updated: December 2, 2017
  • Published May 18, 2017
A cow moose tends to her hours-old newborn calf in late May of 2016. (Bill Roth / Alaska Dispatch News)

Avoid young moose, bears

State wildlife biologists are warning the public to steer clear of newborn moose, bears and other young wildlife — or suffer the wrath of protective mothers.

"Give them plenty of space," advised Anchorage-area wildlife biologist Dave Battle in a press release. "Try to avoid single tracks and narrow, brushy trails where limited visibility might lead to a run-in with a cow moose and calf.

"Newborn calves aren't able to run from pets or people on bicycles," Battle added. "Mothers are likely to stand their ground, even when they hear you coming."

Calves or cubs spotted without their mothers can lead to trouble if you've hiked or biked between the two. Backing away in the direction you came is recommended. Young animals left alone are not necessarily orphaned, and even if they are, it's best to leave them alone, Battle advised.

Attempting to pick up or feed animals is illegal and could result in a citation and fine. Lingering near young animals can also discourage mothers from returning

Learn about proposed Kasilof upgrades 

 Alaska's Department of Natural Resources has scheduled public meetings next month in Anchorage and Soldotna to discuss proposed improvement projects along the Kasilof River.

The meetings are June 14 in Soldotna's Joyce K. Carver Memorial Public Library and June 15 in room 102 of the Atwood Building in Anchorage.

Both meetings will run 6:30-8:30 p.m. Among the topics being considered:

— Kasilof River north side improvement project: Involves improvements on the north side of the mouth of the river that started last year. Dune fencing, parking, and other improvements are expected to be finished this season. Staffers will discuss the schedule and take questions.

— Kasilof River south side improvement project: Alaska's Division of Mining, Land & Water is seeking feedback on access, sanitation, and parking improvements planned for the south side of the river mouth. Comments will be taken through Aug. 31.

— Old Kasilof landing site project: This proposed Division of Parks & Outdoor Recreation project remains on hold after significant public concern expressed during the site concept plan review period.  Staffers will discuss the status of this project at the meetings.    

Family fishing in Fairbanks

With 6,500 stocked rainbow trout settling in, the Alaska Department of Fish and Game will host Fairbanks Family Fishing Day at Cushman Lake in the Tanana Lakes Recreation Area 9 a.m.-1 p.m. on Saturday.

Kids under the age of 18 can participate in a derby to win a rod-and-reel outfit if they catch a tagged fish. No fishing license is required for youngsters, who must be accompanied by an adult.

Participants are encouraged to bring their own fishing gear, though a few rods and reels will be available to borrow. Non-motorized boats, canoes, and rafts can be used on the lake.

For information, call 907 459-7228.

When birders talk smack

Birding gets competitive on Sunday, June 4, with the Potter Marsh-a-thon Birding Smackdown. From 7:30 a.m. to noon, teams of two to six birders will compete for prizes awarded to those that see the most species.

Check in is at 7:30 a.m. in the parking lot north of the marsh, with an entry fee of $20 per team. A press release by the Anchorage Audubon Society suggests the competition will be fierce.

"Will Audubon Alaska get their clock cleaned by Anchorage Audubon? Can members of the Mat-Su Birders hang with the guys from the big city? If you don't have a team, show up anyway and we'll try to assemble teams on the spot. Binoculars and a serious attitude are required. It's the anti-social event of the ornithological season.

"If another team won't tell you where they just saw a pectoral sandpiper, you are totally allowed to use 'enhanced interrogation techniques.' This is not your mother's birding contest."

Tough start to Denali climbing season

As the number of climbers registered to ascend Denali creeps closer to 1,000, just 10 of the 37 completed expeditions this season have reached the summit of North America's tallest mountain.

That 27 percent success rate — if carried through until the season's end — would be among Denali's lowest.

No climber has yet reached the top of Denali's sister summit, Mount Foraker. Four attempts have been completed.

According to the National Park Service, 336 climbers are currently on Denali and seven are on Foraker. On Thursday, the high temperature at 14,200 feet on the 20,310-foot Denali was minus-6, the park service said.