Happy Marmot Day, Alaska!


Feb. 2 is Marmot Day in Alaska. Here is a poem originally published in the Anchorage Daily News on Marmot Day in 2011.

"BE IT ENACTED BY THE LEGISLATURE OF THE STATE OF ALASKA...Marmot Day is established on February 2 of each year. The day may be observed by suitable observances and exercises by school programs, the Alaska Zoo, civic groups, and the public." -- Alaska Statutes 44.12.110

Let all loyal Alaskans today hail the Marmot,

A most perspicacious and savvy wee varmint,

With meteorological prowess so potent

That skeptics confess it's no typical rodent.

This wonder of nature, at most a foot long,


Is not known for diving or antlers or song.

(Though it lines many parkas, because it's so furry,

And tastes good when sauteed with carrots and curry.)

Proud Marmot's formidable power, instead,

Is its vision, which looks out to six weeks ahead.

The state legislature, therefore, declared praise,

Enacting a statute -- and in just ninety days!

Henceforth and yearly on 2 February

From slumber the Marmot shall exit and tarry,

And if, in the sunlight, its shadow discovers,

Return to its den and jump back in the covers.

From shades on the snow our sage can divine

That bone-piercing cold will prevail 'til March 9.

But if skies be cloudy, then man and beast cheer,

For Marmot proclaims that fair spring is now here!

Thus children await, with unveiled incandescence,

Their Marmot Day goodies and Marmot Day presents.


With cards, lights and dance folk dismiss winter's blahs

And tell jolly stories of Old Marmy Claus.

Alas! We're a long way from warm 'skeeter season.

The temperature steadily skulks below freezin'.

The golf links are snow-packed. The sidewalks are slick.

The ice on the driveway is nine inches thick.

But if tulips don't yet appear on the hill,

We can still dream that, sooner or later, they will,


A Marmot Day custom that's easy to keep

If you make like wise Marmot -- and go back to sleep.

Mike Dunham

Mike Dunham was a longtime ADN reporter, mainly writing about culture, arts and Alaska history. He worked in radio for 20 years before switching to print. He retired from the ADN in 2017.