Friday, May 4, 2012

Park Model For Rent in Apache Junction AZ 85119

RENTED 2013-2014 season.    AVAILABLE Oct, Nov, Dec 2014 (tentative).
RENT: 1 month: $1100; 2 months $2000; 3 months $2800  includes all utilities
Rent must be paid in full in advance.

     Located in friendly 55+ park. Close to dancing, hiking, backpacking, rock climbing, mountain biking, birding, horseback riding, golf, shopping, dining, entertainment.
     Park amenities include outdoor hot tub, pool, free WiFi, coin laundry, shuffleboard courts, lending library (books, videos, DVDs), computer room, daily planned activities (crafts, social, dances, etc.).
    Walking distance to AJ public library and Multi-generational center as well as Lost Dutchman State Park. Less than three miles to the First Water Trail Head, a gateway to the Superstition Mountains trail system.
      Grocery stores, Walmart, restaurants, hardware stores, commercial laundry, CVS and Walgreen pharmacies, etc., are all within a three mile radius.

Contact me    for more information on renting this comfortable air-conditioned/heated trailer. All linens, utensils, towels, etc provided. TV/DVD player included.  TV is on-air Phoenix digital HD stations.

Rent dependent on time of year and length of rental.  Rent includes all utilities. Rent is to be paid in full in advance.  Reservations are accepted with a $100 non-refundable deposit.

Tuesday, August 30, 2011

FINAL COMMENTS on the Kodiak Road System Trails Master Plan ARE DUE THIS THURSDAY, SEPTEMBER 1, 2011

FINAL COMMENTS on the Kodiak Road System Trails Master Plan ARE DUE THIS THURSDAY, SEPTEMBER 1, 2011. The Borough Parks and Recreation committee encouraged citizens to spend the summer enjoying the trails identified in the draft plan as a way of becoming familiar with the trail and to make meaningful comments.
Should have any comments please use the Trails Plan Website. A link to that site can be found a  Click on the Public Involvement link to make your comments.
And hey! . . .  Let’s be courteous on Kodiak’s trails.

Should you have any questions, please contact the Community Development Department at 486-9363.

Wednesday, July 20, 2011

Butterfly Lake (Uganik) to Hidden Basin 7/11-14/2011: The Narrative

I'd talked to Claire LeClair who did this this route in 2005 with Nora Tobin and decided I'd like to give it a go. After postponing a couple times, the weather looked good for last week, so I went for it. :) Turns out the good weather was in town, but not where I was, for the most part. :'( Here's a downloadable map you can use to follow along as I tell my story of joy and woe. Camps are UG1, UG2, UG3
Day 1: Glenn Eaton (Kingfisher Air) set me down on Butterfly Lake (SW of Mush Lake) at about 9 am. By 10, the clouds had come down and I was bushwacking uphill in steady rain and whiteout. It was one of those areas where small ridges run parallel to the main ridge, so a lot of up and down to get up.
I made the ridge, still in whiteout and totally saturated head to toe, and found it to be a knee-deep willow thicket. Wet willows are very slippery to walk on, BTW. With trusty GPS in hand, I headed for Claire's approximate first campsite, sidehilling the east side of 3133, often in those pesky wet willows. It was wet and slippery and I got to a point where I didn't feel safe sidehilling, so up or down? I couldn't see the top of the ridge above me and it was very steep, possible cliffs on the map, so I opted to bushwhack down, cross the creek, and follow a well-used deer trail up valley until I saw a clear path back up to the ridge (after recrossing the creek). This creek, although narrow, was deep and fast and more challenging than the later Uganik River crossing. I camped NE of 3659 the first night - it was blowing a stiff easterly breeze which required me to cook dinner in the Silshelter vestibule. An exposed, not really comfortable in the wind campsite.
Day 1 pics:
Day 2: Wind shifts overnight to westerly, still breezy, cook breakfast in tent again. Today I'm excited to hike the 10 mile ridge which is the main reason I wanted to do the trip and it's overcast as I start out at 0730, but not bad. Unfortunately, the clouds come down again pretty soon , it's zero-zero whiteout, and I hike the entire ridge staring at compass and GPS. The whiteout videos are here:
There were times hiking the snowfields when no landmark was discernible in any direction.
As I arrive at the area Claire said they'd been able to descend to the Uganik River, the clouds clear off and it turns into a nice day, so I decide to at least get down to the river to camp for the night. I tried to follow the stream down, but it turned into a gorge, so I backtracked a bit and hopped up on the sidehills heading down and around and ran into an impassable deep double ravine not really visible on the map that would have required climbing way back up above to get around. It was getting late, so I backtracked to the head of the valley and camped; a herd of about 20 goats was hanging around. It was a bit breezy from the west, but not as bad as Monday, so I was able to sit out and enjoy some hot chocolate and 151 rum with beautiful views of the surrounding mountains and valleys. Day 2 pics:
Day 3: The day dawns clear and stays sunny all day. After studying the map and GPS, I decided to try to descend the west side of the valley (or NE off the ridge); although it was steep in places (I was on my butt sliding down alder tunnels holding on for dear life at times) and thick bushwhacking, I was able to make it to the river. Crossing the river had appeared problematic from above (lots of whitewater and noise), but I found a wide, flat water crossing that never got more than crotch deep. After a sunny lunch/drying out on a gravel bar under the close scrutiny of an American dipper, I headed up the steep slope of bushwhacking doom. Although I'd negotiated alders, willows, salmonberries, etc., a new factor appeared: devil's club! Ack! Now I couldn't just grab indiscriminately to pull myself up. At one point, I was pulling myself up through thick salmonberries when I felt a sharp pain in my shoulder, then another in my arm: bees! I got the heck out of there and, luckily, years of being stung growing up in Ohio calmed any fears of anaphylactic shock. I finally made it up and above the brush to a spectacular plateau of snow fields and tundra and set up another scenic camp. It had been sunny and calm all day and it was great to sit out in the warmth and sip my evening toddy in comfort and relaxation. Day 3 pics:
Day 4: I knew from a satphone conversation the evening before that strong westerly winds up to 35 mph were expected. The day began calmly as I headed up into the snowfields that would lead to Hidden Basin, but soon enough the clouds came down and it was time for business as usual: zero-zero whiteout, now compounded with the rising west winds. Luckily the wind was at my back. It was an intense couple of hours navigating with GPS and trying to avoid open water in frozen lakes, bergschrunds, etc; fortunately the clouds dissipated as I was approaching lake 2750 and I was able to enjoy spectacular views and hiking on snowfields and a magnificent granite ridge. Soon I spied my goal, Hidden Basin. I hiked the ridge as long and far as possible, but eventually it was back down into the brush for one last lengthy bushwhack. It seemed to get worse as I neared HB and the last mile or so was sheer hell (perhaps it was just that I could see the beach and it seemed so close and I wanted so much to be on it). I hit the beach about 4:30 and called Kingfisher - due to the high winds, etc they were backed up and couldn't pick me up until Friday. I then called Andrew Air and, lo and behold, they had two planes on the way to Witteveens at that very moment. So, an hour or so later I got a bumpy seat fare ride back to town. Day 4 pics:
Originally, I had considered continuing to Saltery Cove, then up and over Center Mtn to Kasheverof to the road. The spirit was willing, but the flesh was weak....
The only bears I saw on this trek were a couple hanging around Butterfly Lake as we approached to land. I didn't see another bear although there was considerable sign, even high up in the "glaciers". I did see rough-legged hawks, fox, voles, deer, goats, various and sundry sparrows, dippers, magpies, ravens, eagles, etc.
If I were to repeat this trip (which is highly unlikely), I'd opt for May/early June right before or right at green up to avoid the thick, high brush. I didn't need snowshoes or crampons - my Merrill hiking boots were enough for kicking steps when needed.
Overall, it was a pretty good trip and I'm glad I did it - but it was the most intense, difficult bushwhacking I've ever done, especially for a prolonged period and distance.
My pack at the start was about 40 lbs and I had 5 days/nights of food. I didn't eat as much as I thought I would and I think I could have shed at least 5 lbs of food and other gear - I'd aim for a 30 lb pack in the future, which is easier if you have a partner to share tent/stove weight. With the amount and density of bushwhacking, you'd want a low profile pack - my REI Flash 65 was just a little too tall at times, but it is a very comfortable pack. I camped in a Silshelter which handled the wind quite well, slept in a North Face Cat's Meow (due to the rain and condensation issues, down would not have worked well on this trip), and cooked on a JetBoil stove. I broke one Kompedell carbon fiber trekking pole when I fell on it during the last bushwhack push to Hidden Basin.
If you'd like to know more about this trip, just give me a shout.

Monday, July 18, 2011

Butterfly Lake to Hidden Basin Route Map

Uganik to Hidden Basin July 11-14 2011       UG 1-2-3 are camps

Sunday, July 17, 2011

Butterfly Lake (Uganik) to Hidden Basin: The Whiteout Videos

July 12 2011: Day 2 of a solo trek from Butterfly Lake to Hidden Basin, hiking the long ridge in a zero/zero conditions.  Note that I refer to Butterfly Lake as "Marsh Lake" in one video - derangement was setting in.
Photos of trek here.

Thursday, June 23, 2011

Saturday, April 9, 2011

Alaska Aerospace Corporation & Kodiak Launch Complex Compass Piece in Anchorage Daily News

Original Title:  "The Little Launch Complex That Couldn't"

Another version here:

Monday, March 28, 2011

OUTDOOR GEAR FOR SALE: backpacking, camping, climbing, hiking (updated 4/13)



all prices negotiable - shipping extra unless marked PPD
UPDATED   April 13 2011
Patagonia Micro Puff Pants  Black Large - New                    $100
North Face Tangerine Dream synthetic sleeping bag   (-30)                $150
Gregory woman’s Expedition backback  (blue)                    $50
Mountain Products Corp (MPS) Down Mittens                    $30
Lowe Footfangs                                       $20
MSR XGK stove (unused since complete recondition by MSR)  no fuel pump    $50
Never used Brawny Gear Silnylon Pack Covers. I think they are both size Large - both fit over the expedition pack I used on Denali.   $16 Postage Paid each (1 green, 1 blue)
Neotec Neoprene Overboots XL (used on one Denali summit day)            $50
Koflach Vario Arctis Expedition plastic boots  size 11 (hardly used)            $150
MSR Miox water  purifier (never used)                        $75 PPD
Wild Country Technical Friends Set Sizes: 1.0, 1.5, 2.5, 3.0, 4.0            $130 PPD

The following items have been SOLD:
Garuda Atman Solo 4 Season Tent                              $275
Henry Shires TarpTent  Custom 2 person tent (grey silnylon)            $175
MSR Waterworks water filter                                $20
MSR MiniWorks water filter                                $30
Mountainsmith Mountainlight 5000 backpack  (red)                    $75
Mountainsmith Mountainlight 3500 backpack (green)                $75
Integral Designs Silshelter  (green)                            $50
Integral Designs Bug Liner for Silshelter                        $50
AlpenLite Gore-Tex bivy sac with radiant heat barrier                $25
Optimus 111 white gas stove   

Thursday, March 24, 2011

Saturday, February 12, 2011

Latest Update from FAA about Kodiak Runway Extensions

I would like to update you on the status and progress of the Kodiak Airport Environmental Impact Statement (EIS) currently underway.  The Federal Aviation Administration is preparing this EIS to evaluate actions proposed by the Airport Operator, the Alaska State Department of Transportation and Public Facilities (ADOT&PF), to improve the Runway Safety Area (RSA).

For those of you that may be unfamiliar, the RSA is a clear and graded area surrounding a runway.  This area is there to minimize the severity of injury and aircraft damage in the event of an aircraft excursion.  The project in Kodiak is to improve the deficient RSA to the extent practical.

First, I would like to thank you for your patience and continued interest throughout the course of this project.  There has been a tremendous amount of work and progress since my last update in September 2010.  Since that last message, we have evaluated and updated a range of build alternatives that support operational needs, are reasonable, and are financially feasible.

We are currently in the process of scheduling meetings in both Kodiak and Anchorage with staff from cooperating agencies, coordinating agencies, and federally recognized tribal governments.  These meetings are a necessary part of the EIS process, and will assist us greatly in completing the Draft EIS in anticipation of a mid-summer 2010 release.

Our extended review comments and concerns generated from the preliminary draft EIS, as well as our development of updated build alternatives has impacted our schedule.  Despite that impact, we still plan to release the Draft EIS as close to the above schedule of mid-summer 2010 as possible.  As that date approaches, I will continue to provide updates letting you know were we are.  If you have any questions or comments, please feel free to contact me at the number or e-mail address below.

Finally, if you no longer want updates, please let me know, and I will remove you from our mailing list.  Additionally, if you know of someone that needs to be included, but is not, please forward this message, and have them contact me for inclusion in future updates.

Thank you so much, Leslie

Leslie A. Grey
Environmental Protection Specialist
FAA - Alaskan Region, Airports Division

Tuesday, January 18, 2011

Cochise the Dog Descends the Crux of the Flatiron Trail

Sometimes, people drag their dogs on routes that are not really suitable for dogs.  The long, steep gully leading up to the Flatiron is one such route.  The route involves some Class IV scrambling in places and descending can be even more difficult than ascending.  This poor dog was scared spitless and had to be wrestled down what is actually an overhanging pitch.  (The video does not really show this well)
It's ok to leave your dog at home sometimes.

Thursday, December 30, 2010

Thursday, December 16, 2010

Wednesday, December 1, 2010

Urban Trails Identification Needed

Do you have a favorite Trail or Pathway that leads to shopping, school or a recreational area?  One that winds through the neighborhood on the way to your destination? The Parks and Recreation Committee is working on documenting Urban Trails in the Kodiak Urban Area and the Womens Bay Community that are commonly used, but not identified or mapped. Your input is needed! Please stop by the Community Development Department, Room 205 and identify this route on our map, or better yet, attend the next Borough Parks and Recreation Committee meeting [December 14th, 7:00-9:00 PM, Borough Conference Room]where urban trails will be the topic of discussion. Contact KIB 486-9363 for more information.

Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Memory Wall: Stories by Anthony Doerr

"To say a person is a happy person or an unhappy person is ridiculous. We are a thousand different kinds of people every hour."  "Memory Wall"  p. 42

"Memory builds itself without any clean or objective logic: a dot here, another dot here, and plenty of dark spaces in between. What we know is always evolving, always subdividing. remember a memory often enough and you can create a new memory, the memory of remembering."   "Memory Wall" p. 71

Monday, November 22, 2010

Monday, November 15, 2010


From Nora Ephron's article in the Oct 11 2010 New Yorker, "My Life as an Heiress".
"Still it makes me sad. You always think that a bolt of lightning is going to strike and your parents will magically change into the people they used to be. But they're never going to. And even though you know they're never going to, you still hope they will." (p. 56)

Wednesday, November 3, 2010

Sunday, October 31, 2010

Scott McAdams in Kodiak on Sunday Oct 31

I went to hear Scott McAdams speak and was very impressed.  He's straightforward and has not accepted any contributions from PACs - 1.25 million in donations of $200 or less from individuals in the last month.  He's our next senator!  Help make it so - vote McAdams!

Scott McAdams is scheduled to be at the Kodiak Teen Center from 4:30 - 6:00 today.  Meet the next senator from Alaska!
Excellent op-ed from the Juneau Empire about McAdams:  Give McAdams a Chance!

Thursday, October 28, 2010

Scott McAdams Surges Past Joe Miller - McAdams is Best for Alaska!

McAdams latest ad is here.
Read all about it here!     Read about Scott McAdams here.
Don’t vote your fears, vote your values

Lisa Murkowski "I don't see any, any situation where I would choose to caucus with anyone other than the Republicans" 13:21 seconds of KTVA interview on 10/27/2010

Read Dan O'Neill's op-ed on why moderates should vote for McAdams:


Tuesday, October 19, 2010

Afognak Island Elk Hunt October 2010: My First Elk

Last week I had the opportunity to spend a week hunting Roosevelt Elk on Afognak Island, based from a friend's boat. The weather was excellent and we did quite a bit of hiking  in search of the elusive animals.  We saw elk every day, but usually in bowls far away from where we were glassing, too far to reach the same day.  We had seven days of hiking a minimum of five miles and 2500 feet elevation gain each day and camped overnight two of those days - which means we were carrying heavy packs with camping gear at least four of the seven days.  Although we were able to follow game trails much of the time, we did considerable bushwacking through salmonberry and alder. Since the elk hang out away from the coast in upper elevations, every day from the boat was an uphill hike from sea level.  Finally on the seventh day we spotted a herd which we were able to stalk (although the term implies a slow, sneaky approach, much of it was actually running like hell to get around the mountain to head them off at the pass - literally!)  Three of us had permits and two shot cows that morning.  Then it was a long, long day of butchering and hauling meat; we staged our carries since we were almost two miles from our pickup point and our animals were on the wrong side of the mountain.  We had to go up before we could go down and we were carrying camping gear since we had camped the night before. We reached the beach with the final load right at dark, around 8 pm.  Predicted nasty weather meant we had to head back to Kodiak immediately and we arrived in the rain around 6 am Saturday morning.
It was a great hunt - excellent companions, comfortable base, superb weather, Kodiak Island Brewing Company beer, and spectacular scenery.   More photos are here and more about the hunt is here.  Here's a photo of us trimming and wrapping elk meat - two full days of work for four people.

Tuesday, October 5, 2010

Another Redeeming Aspect of Iran

In July 2010, the Islamic regime of Iran issued grooming guidelines to men supplementing the existing modesty stipulations to women. Among the new regulations is a ban of the mullet hairstyle. The ban on mullets is one of the measures that Iran has deployed to "confront the cultural assault by the West". The regime aims to promote a set of new Islamic hairstyles that were unveiled at the Hijab and Chastity Festival of 2010

Monday, May 31, 2010

Give Input to the Kodiak Road System Trails Plan

The consulting firm hired by the Borough will be writing the initial draft of the KRSTP over the summer with plans to share it with the public for review this fall.
NOW is an excellent time to submit your views, issues, input, ideas, criticisms, etc to Alta so that your input can be better incorporated into the first draft.
This plan will have an extensive and transparent public review process as we work toward the final plan, but the more input received early on, the better.
Go online to  and submit your comments TODAY!

Saturday, May 29, 2010

Explosive missing in Kodiak

KODIAK, Alaska (AP) -- Police in Kodiak are asking people to keep an eye out for a missing explosive.
Police say a fluorescent-green plastic cylinder containing an explosive was taken Thursday morning from a quarry on Near Island. The cylinder is about 4 inches by 2 inches with a cord protruding from one end.
The explosive disappeared between 10 a.m. and noon. Police say it likely was removed from a hole bored in a rock wall.
Adolescents were seen walking through the area.
Police Chief T.C. Kamai says the explosive was not connected to a detonator but they're asking people not to touch it.
Information from: Kodiak Daily Mirror,

Saturday, May 22, 2010

Kicked Out Again

All I did was post a photo of Sarah using a teleprompter; and, well, I did suggest that the "Mama Grizzlies" group might be better named "Sarah's Sows". Oh, and I guess that on the "Oppose Kagan" forum, I did point out that a group that wants less government interference in their lives might want to support efforts to get gov't out of legislating women's reproductive rights.  Open dissent and debate is not welcome on TeamSarah, dontcha know! 

You have been suspended from Team Sarah

 Sorry, ---------------, you can not access Team Sarah as you have been suspended. If you feel that this was in error, please email with details as to what happened prior to your suspension of membership privileges. When an account is suspended we utilize a review process with other individual members, not just moderators, who decide to suspend an account. NOTE: When a serious offense occurs or when profanity is used, we suspend membership privileges without any review. If you wish to have the suspension lifted, with the proviso that you verify your identity and agree to abide by our Terms of Use and Community Standards please email

Thursday, April 29, 2010

TONIGHT!! Kodiak Road System Trails Plan Community Meeting

MAY 18, 2010
6 – 9 P.M.
Do you walk, bike, four-wheel, run, ski, snowshoe or ride a snow machine on trails in the Kodiak Island Borough?
Do you want to see those trails used, improved and managed well now and into the future?
The Borough’s Park and Recreation Committee, with help from the Community Development Department and a trails planning consulting team is preparing a new Road System Trails Master Plan. We need your help to make sure the Plan meets the needs of residents like you.
Please join us to learn more about the Plan and give us your ideas.

For additional information:
Contact Bud Cassidy, Community Development Director at 907-486-9360 or
Be sure to check out the Plan’s website at

The purpose of the Kodiak Island Road System Trails Plan is to ensure continued access and maximum use of trails by all citizens.
·         Public participation of all trail users
·         Mapping of existing trails;
·         Trail Management;
·         Trail design guidelines;
·         Creating a Trail User Map and Educational Programs;
·         Establishing future funding sources for trail maintenance and development

Saturday, April 10, 2010

Peter Høeg quotes from The Woman and the Ape

It is at the very moment of realizing that we are bereft, when the loss bleeds and the awareness of it has not yet begun to coagulate, that the significance of what has been lost strikes us most forcefully. (p. 59)

Contrary to what adults believe[,] the joy of children at play comes not from having no knowledge of Death--every living creature has that. It comes from their divining what the grown-ups have lost sight of; that even though Death makes a fierce opponent, it is not invincible. (p. 154)

Friday, April 2, 2010

Protesting Sarah Palin's TLC Alaska Show

I received this message from a friend of this blog:
If any of you think it is ridiculous that Discovery Channel, whose reputation is about the wonders and beauty of wild life and nature, is sponsoring Sarah Palin, destroyer of wildlife and nature (especially wolves), to host a series of shows about "the real Alaska"  (at, I think, $1M per show) you might let the head of Discovery Communications know what you think. Google Discovery Communications and you'll see how warm, furry and green their image is.  
Go to this link and make your comment or write to Mr Zaslov, below.
David Zaslov, President & CEO, Discovery Communications,

One Discovery Place, Silver Spring, MD 20910 

Defenders of Wildlife, with whom I do not always agree at all, is mobilizing  these comments.  In this case I agree with them because Discovery needs to hear from those who know Palin doesn't speak for Alaskans.   It has also been suggested that sponsors of the show be contacted and boycotted for sponsoring it.

Thursday, March 25, 2010

The Enigma That Is Jeff Stewart

Reaction to Jeff Stewart's Letter to Editor  19 March 2010
         On March 16, for almost three hours, local park users, tour operators, the site designer, park officials, and eight members of the Kodiak State Parks Citizens Advisory Board engaged in a lively discussion of the pros and cons of the revised site plan for Miller Point. Attendees were able to stand around the site plans and point to specific details as they presented their views.  They were also able to key written comments to specific areas on the plans. Alternative options as well as suggestions for fine-tuning the project were discussed in depth.  Supporters of the revised plan were able to articulate their reasons for support. And, anyone who had an objection to the project as a whole had an audience to defend and promote his/her view with park officials, the KSP CAB, and the attending public.
     Unfortunately, Mr. Stewart chose not to participate in that discussion (he states that after arriving at 5 pm, he left "15 or 20 minutes later"); had he interacted with those present, he would have had ample opportunity to "[argue] that taken as a whole, the collective changes would seriously degrade if not destroy the natural beauty of the park".  Rather than present his view in an open, public forum where it could explained and debated thoroughly with park officials (as well as other attendees, possibly gaining allies for his point of view), he has chosen to publish a screed filled with hyperbole and inaccuracy.
        We are currently in the third formal period of public comment related to this project which has also been discussed at many public KSP CAB meetings since 2005. I hope Mr. Stewart will submit written comments on the revised Concept B and attend KSP CAB meetings to share his views and hear Board discussion of Miller Point and other park issues.

Sunday, March 21, 2010

The Death of a Great American

Ironically, I just watched the final installment of Ken Burns' National Parks series in which he shows how the Udall brothers were an important part of the NP expansion in the 1960s and 70s.

 Stewart L. Udall dies at 90; Interior secretary championed national parks

Udall promoted the idea that government should preserve vast areas of wilderness. He also served in Congress and later led a crusade on behalf of victims of radiation exposure.

Stewart Udall and Lady Bird Johnson
Stewart Udall, who served as Interior secretary under presidents Kennedy and Johnson, hikes with Lady Bird Johnson in 1966.

Stewart L. Udall, who as Interior secretary in the 1960s vastly expanded the country's system of national parks and monuments and developed far-reaching legislation to protect public lands, has died. He was 90.

Udall died Saturday morning at his home in Santa Fe, N.M., surrounded by his children, according to a statement from his son, Sen. Tom Udall of New Mexico. He died of natural causes after a fall last week that had kept him confined to bed.

Udall, who served in Congress and later led a crusade on behalf of victims of radiation exposure, had many accomplishments during his decades of public service. But his most important legacy came from championing the idea that government should preserve vast areas of land.

"Any wilderness area, any national park and national monument -- wherever you live in the United States now, there is one relatively close to you. He created the spirit that made all those things possible," said Carl Pope, chairman of the Sierra Club

"In 1960, most Americans lived thousands of miles from any national park," he said. "They don't anymore."

During the eight years that Udall served under presidents Kennedy and Johnson, he worked with the Sierra Club to create Redwood National Park along California's northern coast.

He also oversaw the creation of Guadalupe Mountains National Park in Texas, North Cascades National Park in Washington state and Canyonlands National Park in Utah, along with the Cape Cod National Seashore in Massachusetts and the Point Reyes National Seashore north of San Francisco.

He also helped write numerous pieces of legislation, including the Wilderness Act of 1964, which protects millions of acres.

"Many people at the time thought it was a crazy idea," he told the New York Times in 1989.

Stewart Lee Udall was born Jan. 31, 1920, in St. Johns, Ariz. He was one of five children raised on a small subsistence farm in the northeastern corner of the state, not far from Zuni and Navajo reservations.

His grandfather David King Udall founded the town after moving from Utah in 1880 as a Mormon missionary. Udall's father, Jesse, served as chief justice of the state Supreme Court.

Udall attended Thatcher Junior College and then the University of Arizona, pausing his studies to serve as a Mormon missionary in New York and Pennsylvania and as a B-24 tail gunner in Italy during World War II.

After the war, he returned to finish his degree and attend law school.

In 1954, Udall was elected to Congress and held the seat until President Kennedy tapped him to become secretary of the Interior. His brother Morris succeeded him in Congress. Morris' son Mark is a Democratic senator from Colorado.

Udall left government in 1969 and stayed in Washington for another decade practicing law and writing books.

He returned to Arizona in 1979 and pursued a lawsuit against the government on behalf of Navajo men who mined uranium and later developed cancer. The suit failed.

In 1994 Udall published a book that drew on that experience, "The Myths of August: A Personal Exploration of Our Tragic Cold War Affair with the Atom." In it he argued that leaders and scientists, intoxicated by the power of nuclear weapons, forged a secret national security state and that there was no military need for the United States to drop atomic bombs on Hiroshima and Nagasaki.

"Whether in the skies above Italy in World War II, in Congress or as secretary of the Interior, Stewart Udall left an indelible mark on this nation and inspired countless Americans who will continue his fight for clean air, clean water and to maintain our many natural treasures," President Obama said in a statement Saturday.

Udall, who counted poet Robert Frost and actor Robert Redford among his friends, was a committed outdoorsman.

During his years in Washington, he took his children to Interior Department outposts in the area on weekends and rafting down Western rivers in the summer.

A few years ago he trekked with a grandson 7,000 feet up Bright Angel Trail, from the floor of the Grand Canyon to the South Rim. He refused a National Park Service offer of a mule.

His family "wouldn't have liked it if I hadn't made it," he noted, "but what a way to go." Upon completing his ascent, he headed straight into the bar at the Tovar Lodge and ordered a martini.

Udall was married for 55 years to Erma Lee Udall. She died in 2001. He is survived by their six children and eight grandchildren.

Tuesday, March 16, 2010

Miller Point Access Project Open House 16 March 2010

     The sentence I heard most often at the open house the evening of March 16 2010 was "Thank you - you listened and took our comments into consideration."  As I listened to participants at the open house, I got a sense that most people were supportive of the new configuration proposed for Miller Point. At least one local tour operator was very supportive and stressed the importance of safe and convenient access to Miller Point and the military museum for his elderly and disabled clients. His comments reminded me of the park's mission to serve all of its visitors. 
     Attendance, according to the sign-up list, was a total of 37 with 2 reporters and 5 KSP CAB members included in that number.  Eight of ten KSP CAB members were present, talking with attendees and listening to comments and concerns. Also present and listening were two Parks staff from Anchorage and three Kodiak Parks staff.
     I believe that as the public has learned the facts about the MPAP and realized the complexity of the situation, they've come to realize that Alaska State Parks is doing a good job of trying to remedy the safety and access concerns at Miller Point while taking into account the wishes of local residents as well as other visitors to the park.
      The eight-tenths (.8) acre parking/large vehicle turn around area has been reduced to two-tenths (.2) acre with only 37 trees affected and the area will have ADA accessible parking. Ambulances, fire trucks, and law enforcement vehicles will be able to access the area and maneuver safely in the case of an emergency.  The RV Overflow parking lot will become the central parking area with a trail head at the loop road leading up to Miller Point, thus enhancing the visitor experience and sense of discovery. The campground currently impacting important historical artifacts will be moved to an area yet to be determined - possibly in the Ram site area.  Public input on campground placement is important.
    Hard copies of the site plans are available at the Fort Abercrombie Visitor Center - see for yourself!
      I hope that those who submit written comments will heed the advice of the public comment brochure so that their comments are substantive and contribute to a constructive dialogue.

FYI - a far more serious and disturbing issue facing Kodiak State Parks at this time is the FAA proposal to extend the north/south runway at the Kodiak Airport 1200 feet toward the mouth of the Buskin River.  The agency review draft admits that such an extension would damage Buskin River salmon runs, thus threatening sport and subsistence fishing in the area.
Stacy Studebaker has started a blog, "Stewards of the Buskin River" and a Facebook page related to this issue.  Look for both to be updated within the next week.  The agency review of the draft EIS for the project has just been completed.  No word at this time as to when the general public can review the draft EIS.

Friday, March 12, 2010

The Miller Point Trees - Fact vs. Fiction

Some facts about the proposed Miller Point parking area:
(This information is based on Concept A for the MPAP approved by a consensus of the KSP CAB on April 14, 2008 - the March 16 2010 open house presented Concept B which is different from Concept A; Concept B reduces the .8 acre footprint to .2 acre while still providing ADA parking and ample room for emergency vehicles, RVs, and school buses to maneuver without assistance)
The parking area is eight-tenths (0.8) acre -  smaller than every building lot in Kodiak that cannot connect to water and sewer. (minimum lot size for septic is 1 acre)

The trees to be removed are 60 years old or less  - Jane Eisenman's high school class cored the trees and aged them. (Reported to me - not verified at this time).  They are not "some of the oldest and largest trees in the park". 

The number of "50-60" trees to be removed may be accurate, but the reason there are that number is that they are younger, smaller trees than those farther away from Miller Point.

Most, if not all, of the trees in that small area were not there when Abercrombie was an active military installation - see photos of the area from that time.

The trees are not "old-growth forest" - see above and link to Wikipedia.

No other trees in the park are slated to be removed for Miller Point access - the "clear-cutting of Fort Abercrombie" statements are inaccurate and hyperbole.

The topography of the area indicates that the stands of trees to the north and west may not be  interconnected root systems with the young trees to be removed.  There is a large hump to the north, separating the stands of trees. This substantial northern stand will shield the area from northerly winds.

The area does not affect the cross-country course in any way - in fact, a parking area at Miller Point will help alleviate the unsafe practice of X-C spectators parking on the road which is not wide enough to safely accommodate parking.

Interestingly, there was no public outcry when the trees blocking the view at Miller Point were removed a few years ago - in fact, many park users praised the opening up of the view. (These trees were 60 years old or younger like the trees in the proposed parking area).

And, there was no public outcry about the trees that were removed to construct the new bike trail into the park - many of those trees were larger and older than the trees in the proposed parking area.

The trees are to be recycled for communal cooking shelters if a new campground is created in the Ram Site area - this use would help create a more "Kodiak" atmosphere for the campground.

Creating a "loop road" will require cutting a substantial number of older, larger trees in the loop road area - it will also require a massive amount of fill to shore up the steep slopes to support such a road.  ASP minimum road surface width is 14 feet.  Visit the area and measure for yourself (I did, using a 14 foot rope stretched between myself and a companion) - imagine a large vehicle such as an ambulance or fire truck or RV trying to negotiate the Spotting and Plotting Bunker turn into the RV overflow parking lot.

Sources:  ASP personnel, ASP documents, historical photos of Miller Point, Stacy Studebaker, Wikipedia, KIB codes

FYI - a far more serious and disturbing issue facing Kodiak State Parks at this time is the FAA proposal to extend the north/south runway at the Kodiak Airport 1200 feet toward the mouth of the Buskin River.  The agency review draft admits that such an extension would damage Buskin River salmon runs, thus threatening sport and subsistence fishing in the area.
Stacy Studebaker has started a blog, "Stewards of the Buskin River" and a Facebook page related to this issue.  Look for both to be updated within the next week.  The agency review of the draft EIS for the project has just been completed.  No word at this time as to when the general public can review the draft EIS.

Wednesday, March 10, 2010

Upcoming Fort Abercrombie Meetings

Open House Scheduled for Ft. Abercrombie State Historical Park Site Designs
(Kodiak, AK) – The Alaska Division of Parks and Outdoor Recreation have received funding through the cruise ship tax fund to address long standing issues at Ft. Abercrombie State Historical Park.

Much of the focus for the use of this funding has centered on correcting safety issues at Miller Point but development concepts for the entire park are also being evaluated.

As part of the site planning process, the Division is hosting an open house on March 16th from 5:00 – 8:00 p.m. at the Kodiak High School Cafeteria to provide the public an opportunity to view revised site plan concepts, ask questions and get more information.

For more project information visit:


Fort Abercrombie National Historic Landmark Preservation Plan Public Meeting March 11, 2010 (Kodiak, AK) – The Alaska Department of Natural Resources, Division of Parks and Outdoor Recreation will host a public meeting on March 11 beginning at 7:00pm at the Bayside Fire Station Training Center, 4606 East Rezanof Drive.

The purpose of this meeting is to discuss the first draft Fort Abercrombie National Historic Landmark Preservation Plan and to receive comments and suggestions from key stakeholders and interested members of the community.

This project received funding assistance from the National Park Service through a Preserve America Grant. Project planners will present a general overview of the project’s scope, goals and objectives, and general timeline.

Participants will be given the opportunity to ask questions, discuss concerns, and submit comments to the planning team. For more information contact Niki Acevedo at or 907-269-0429.

Thursday, December 31, 2009

Miller Point Project Should go Forward

Pete Danelski's op-ed piece, published in the Kodiak Daily Mirror 30 December 2009

      My first experience at Fort Abercrombie State Park occurred in the late ‘60s after I got off the ferry and looked for a place to sleep. I was unemployed and looking for work in the fishing industry. On my first night in Kodiak I found shelter in the main bunker at the entrance of the park. It was as beautiful and as welcoming a place then as it still is now, albeit much more improved today.
     I had the good fortune of purchasing a small cabin and property bordering the Parkside entrance to Fort Abercrombie Park in 1972. By then it had become a state park. Although the trails were unimproved and old engine blocks and other debris laid rusting and rotting on the park’s trails, the park’s natural beauty continues to be as revitalizing to me today as it was back then, when hardly anyone used the park’s trails.
     In my earlier days I used to jog regularly through the park. It was a rare day when I encountered another kindred soul on my jogs. Today I am content to just walk the various trails where I almost always encounter several people enjoying a stroll through the park. The trails are more carefully maintained and user friendly than they were when I first began to use them. It pleases me to see many other people enjoying a walk in a safe and carefully preserved natural environment.
     A walk through Fort Abercrombie State Park is a great natural experience. Hopefully this experience will be shared by ever increasing numbers of people in the future. Since I am not here during the summer months, because I fish on the other side of the island, I can only imagine how much the park must be used for recreation in the summer and how crowded it might become in the future.
     I was not able to attend the public meeting that was held on Dec. 14, but I have learned since then that there was much public objection and criticism raised at the meeting regarding the proposed implementation of the already approved plan to create a parking lot and a bus turnaround, funded by the state, in the public camp site area located on the left side of the road before the crest of the hill where the Military History Museum, the restored gunnery placements and one of Kodiak’s most panoramic views can be most easily and safely accessed and enjoyed by the public.
      It never seems to fail in Kodiak that objections are always raised in the eleventh hour to a development plan process that has been totally transparent from its inception, more than three years in the making, and where public input and comment were invited and encouraged well in advance of the plan’s approval by the advisory board. I have reviewed the mission and goal statements that relate to Fort Abercrombie State Park and the public planning process that eventually approved this project. The Miller Point Access Fact Sheet and a blueprint of the project site plan can be viewed on the Internet here.
     In my opinion, Kodiak is extremely fortunate to have a park advisory board comprised of members who have a reputation for being dedicated stewards of the environment. I know for certain that they are totally committed to the preservation of our local environment and the history of Fort Abercrombie.      Kodiak also is fortunate to have a representative in Juneau who can make things happen when it comes to procuring state funds for important park improvements like the Miller Point Access Project.
     I wholeheartedly support this project because I want as many people as possible, especially our honored citizens and the handicapped, to safely and easily access Abercrombie’s rich history and scenic natural beauty like I have been able to do these past 40 years. I support this project with full faith that the park’s advisory board has dutifully performed its due diligence in moving this project forward. I am also confident that the advisory board has also imposed the strictest environmental standards possible in the planned development of the very small park area affected. Kodiak should applaud, not criticize, the board’s and Alan Austerman’s proactive efforts to address the future needs of the park with a plan that will improve the quality and safety of the Fort Abercrombie State Park experience for the general public and future generations. We all know that a much more crowded future is inevitable.
Pete Danelski Sr. is a longtime Kodiak resident and fisherman.

Monday, December 21, 2009

Pete Dexter Quotes

"From what he seen, the world conducted its business by who was there when you was talking" (sic)
p. 12 Train by Pete Dexter.

"The people doing the insulting are mostly waders, after all, and do not know what the deep water is like"  p. 124  Paper Trails by Pete Dexter

The original purpose of my blog when I first started it way back whenever was simply to serve as a repository for memorable quotes I ran across in my reading.  These quotes either help me understand the world around me in a new way or enhance my current understanding.  Often, the author has discovered a succinct, memorable way to express ideas that I am unable to articulate clearly.
Having (surprisingly) only recently discovered Pete Dexter, I am currently making my way through his books at the A. Holmes Johnson Memorial Public Library.  His writing is simple and clear with considerable depth of characterization.

Monday, December 7, 2009

Quite Possibly the Best Review of "Going Rogue"

Here's the first paragraph from a succinct, yet perceptive review of Going Rogue from Fiat Lux, a conservative (!) blog from Stanford.  Read the rest here. 
Info on the blog:  The Stanford Review Blog Fiat Lux is the Review's online forum for timely news, commentary, and multimedia. Insight into Stanford, higher education, and national politics. Fostering conversation between college conservatives across the country.

Going Rogue: A Complete Guide

2009 November 17
by Jordan Carr
I have been tasked (ok, I volunteered) to read Sarah Palin’s memoir Going Rogue: An American Life (not to be confused with Going Rouge), and unlike lesser news outlets such as Washington Post I did that for my review. After getting to Borders in Palo Alto right at opening time, I spent the day reading the book in its entirety and will provide some of stats, facts and things I’ve learned from each chapter in this post. I will use exclamation points because it’s all very exciting.

Saturday, October 31, 2009

A Successful Deer Hunt on the Kodiak Road System

      On Monday I finally spotted a buck (the first I'd seen after six weeks of hunting all over the Kodiak road system) and was able to take him down with two shots - I think the first missed, but the second was a heart shot that dropped him within seconds.  He is the largest Sitka Black Tail deer I have ever shot - his rack is a clear 4x4.
     I'd been hunting since 7 am and since it was a sunny, but very windy day (gusts to 30), I was checking out the sheltered, sunny slopes and about noon I saw this big boy, a little below me and across a deep ravine.
     He saw me first, so I dropped down into the tall grass immediately.  I was in a spot where I couldn't retreat and stalk around out of sight for a good shot without spooking him. After glassing him several times to be sure he really had antlers, I decided to try to move closer through the patches of alders. Luckily, the sound and motion of wind covered my movements and allowed me to crawl through the alders and then through tall grass to get into position for a sitting shot at about 100 yds even though he was watching in my direction the entire time.
     By the time I was in position, he had turned to face me, giving me a straight-on shot which I was not about to take at that distance.  So I sat and waited (and waited) and finally he turned broadside and I was able to take my shot.  There was no indication that the first shot hit him, but he started up the slope diagonally, still broadside to me - when he paused, I took the second shot and he ran up over the hill and disappeared - I was convinced that I had missed both shots and was quite disgusted with myself!
     I spent a couple minutes searching for my pack which I had dropped in a stand of alders, then hiked up and around the ravine over to where I thought he had gone.  I spooked a little doe from the alders, but did not see any sign of the deer - no blood, nothing.  I was convinced that he was long gone and I was pretty bummed out.
     I decided the wise course of action was to go to where he was standing when I took that first shot and try retrace his route - as I headed toward that area, I looked down to my right and there he was, dead, laying in a small depression.  My mood changed radically at that point! Apparently, he'd died right after he hopped over the crest of the slope where I shot him. The blood trail indicated that it was the second shot that dropped him and I'm glad that he went down quickly without suffering.  For those who are interested, I was shooting a 180 gr. partition bullet with a stainless steel, composite stock Browning A-Bolt 30.06 with a Burris 3 x 9 scope.  This is the only rifle I own, and it has served me well over the years.
     I dragged him into a nice sheltered spot where I was able to skin and debone him out of the wind, but in the sun.  The temperature was in the low 40s and there was some breeze, so it was perfect for cooling the meat as I worked. He had a very thick layer of fat under his coat and a stomach full of vegetation.  A very healthy deer!
     Packing him out was tough, especially at first when I had climb up a steep slope only to drop down another sleep slope into a ravine, cross the creek, and then literally crawl up out of the creek and climb the opposite slope.  After a few more ups and downs crossing ravines, I was able to hike down a moderate slope to level ground and it was all downhill or level from there.  My Kifaru LongHunter Hauler performed perfectly - it was my first time to haul meat in it and it is easily the most comfortable pack for heavy loads that I have used.
     I returned to my vehicle and enjoyed a cold Alaska IPA to celebrate a successful hunt!
     As a life member of Backcountry Hunters and Anglers (BHA) , I am proud to say that I did this hunt without the aid of an ATV (Weapon of Mass Destruction) or any other motorized support. I hiked in about 4 miles with 2000 feet of elevation gain to get my deer and then packed him four miles out on my back.

Wednesday, October 21, 2009

I'm So Proud!

Team Sarah
to the Yellow Porcupine

Congratulations! Your Team Sarah membership has been approved.

They kicked me out a few months ago because I suggested that the Palin/Prejean ("Two Beauty Queens Make the Right") would be a great ticket for 2012.