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.

Tuesday, September 29, 2009

Going Rogue - Sarah Palin Refuses to Accept Her Responsibilities

Frankly, Sarah…I Don’t Give A Damn.
(Copied from Shannyn Moore's blog - click on title for the link)
A letter from former, twice governor Wally Hickel ran in Sunday’s Anchorage Daily News. I think it’s well worth a read. Hickel is the only other governor to quit (1966-1969). His resignation was to serve as the Secretary of the Interior under President Nixon. He ran and won the governorship under the Alaska Independent Party from 1990–1994.

Wally Hickel is now 90 years old. A one time supporter of Sarah Palin, Hickel recently stated in Clark Gable style , “I don’t give a damn what she does.”

Alaskans can rise above petty politics, hateful acts


Both of my grandfathers left Southern Germany for America in the 1880s to escape what George Washington called in his Farewell Address “the toils of European ambition, rivalship and caprice.”

German was the first language I heard at home. This changed when my older sister Gertrude returned from her first day at school, where her classmates made fun of her broken English. From then on, I rarely heard a German word spoken at home.

My family and their relatives lived through the Dust Bowl in Kansas, the Great Depression, and two world wars when their new homeland fought against the land of their ancestors.

Some Americans today are uncomfortable with the changing face of America. Anger and frustration are invading our national discourse. I urge us all to study our roots.

America’s greatness is not in spite of our immigrants. It’s because of our immigrants.

We are a mongrel nation. We are not a thoroughbred. We’re not German or Irish, Hispanic or Asian, black or white, Christian or Jew. We are all those things and many more, and we don’t all get tired at once. That’s why America has always out-worked our competition.

During the presidential primaries last year, I liked what I saw in Barack Obama. I didn’t see him as black. I saw him as a young American with a deep understanding of what America was meant to be and how we could regain our moral standing in the world.

When Gov. Sarah Palin surprised us by joining Sen. John McCain on the Republican ticket, I agreed to support her, sticking to my commitment to put “Alaska first.” When she took the podium at the Republican National Convention, however, I was greatly disappointed. The race-against-race and class-against-class message of the McCain/Palin campaign was transparent.

I urged Sarah to take control of her message and appealed to her in this column “to rise above the worn-out, negative tactics of presidential politics and assume the role of stateswoman.” (Op Ed of September 14, 2008).

My hopes were dashed. Palin became the spokesperson for the divisive voices in American politics. She dismissed the greatness of our immigrant heritage, indeed of today’s Alaska, where in Anchorage alone nearly 100 languages are spoken in the homes of the children in our public schools.

She missed a golden opportunity to challenge the rest of the country to adopt the welcoming spirit of the Alaska frontier and the message of mutual respect championed by Bridge Builders of Anchorage and the School District that helped us win All-America City honors in 2002.

I believe that Alaska can be a model for America. We have much to offer, but we will fail if we don’t deal with prejudice, not only against newly arrived immigrants but against anyone.

My wife Ermalee, a lifelong Alaskan, and I were outraged several years ago when high school students videotaped Alaska Natives as they shot them with paintball guns, and again this summer when Anchorage teenagers attacked a man apparently for no reason other than he was Eskimo.

These hateful acts must be strongly dealt with and condemned. They are especially offensive in light of the remarkable leadership today’s Alaska Native community provides in business, politics and honoring cultural values.

When we represent Alaska to the rest of the country, let’s go beyond our stereotypes. Let’s explain that Alaska is a place of environmental excellence and spiritual renewal, a vast source of energy and resources, and a model for how commonly owned lands can benefit the people who live on them.

Let’s also make Alaska known for respect for all people and reject those who would use racial and class division for personal or political reasons. Because those who do so are playing with forces in the souls of men that could sink our country into that pit of conflict and violence George Washington warned us about more than 200 years ago.

Monday, September 7, 2009

Shuyak Island Volunteer Stint

Just back from a month of volunteering up at Shuyak Island State Park. Observing commercial users in Carry Inlet, opening beaver dams to allow fish to reach lakes, and some cabin maintenance were my primary tasks. I also helped with the Big Creek Weir where I took these underwater photos of pinks and silvers.
The weather was superb and it was another successful season for the staff and volunteers - user use is way down which certainly improves my enjoyment of the park: cabin rentals, charter boats, and private kayak parties are all fewer than recent previous years.

Very mysterious eggs............

Wednesday, August 12, 2009

Kodiak National Wildlife Refuge Plant Survey 2009

We're back in town after five weeks in the field doing a plant survey of the KNWR for USFWS. This is the fifth year of the survey and we have camped in about 20 different locations in the Refuge as part of the survey.
The glorious weather of the first two weeks held as we worked in Alitak and Sukhoi Bay. Normal miserable weather returned as we ventured to East Olga Lake and Frazier Lake, although things got better when we spent a few days at Camp Island.

Sunday, June 21, 2009

Bear Watching at Hallo Bay with Sea Hawk Air

We headed over to Hallo Bay in Katmai National Park last Friday and spent the day with the bears under the very capable guidance of Roland's wife, Jo Murphy. We were able to observe all sorts of bear behavior rather close up. It was a sunny day with just enough wind to keep the bugs away. A highly recommended trip!

Saturday, June 6, 2009

We Hike to Pasagshak Point

We hiked out to Pasagshak Point on the old road on Friday, June 5. The ranchers had done quite a bit of clearing along the road; this is unfortunate as it will increase the number of people driving, rather than hiking, out to the point. The devastation caused by the cattle is unbelievable - Narrow Cape and Pasagshak are being destroyed by overgrazing.

Tuesday, June 2, 2009

Christie Arrives From Oregon

Our friend, Christie, arrived yesterday from Oregon. She is the owner of Ocean Haven Bed and Make Your Own Damn Breakfast in Yachats, Oregon. We met Christie at Laguna San Ignacio several years ago while petting baby grey whales. Click on the title to see the Ocean Haven website.

Oh boy! Chocolate!

Vito gets in on the fun:

Sunday, May 31, 2009

KISAR Helicopter Training on Old Woman Mountain

On Sunday, May 31, 2009, KISAR had a helicopter training session with the U.S. Coast Guard. After a hangar orientation, the group headed up Old Woman Mountain for hoist training. Unfortunately, the clouds came down just as the helicopter arrived, so we did only one hoist with the litter before the HH60 had to slowly make its way down through the fog. Nonetheless, it was a valuable training exercise.

Saturday, May 30, 2009

Audubon Society Termination Point Hike

Stacy Studebaker led the hike with 26 participants. The trail was in good shape with some muddy spots and some fallen trees blocking portions of trail. Weather was good: overcast and not too chilly.

Friday, May 29, 2009

Fishing on the U Rascal

A great day on the water with Chris Fiala and crew - I came home with two nice halibut and several large rockfish. NO kings, unfortunately.

Ugak Island

A few of the fat halibut we caught today

Chris and Dan discuss a successful day on the water

Friday, May 15, 2009

Team Sarah is Anti-Free Speech!

The Team Sarah website has "suspended" my membership after I posted a blog entry supporting the Palin/Prejean ticket for 2012. Apparently, Team Sarah does not share Alaska Governor Sarah Palin's support for the First Amendment and free speech. My account on Team Sarah was under the name of Thomas "T" Bagges, a pseudonym I use to avoid harassment from left-wing extremist eco-terrorist, tax and spend, big government, anti-American, tree hugging, global warming believing liberals. Oh, I left out commie pinko socialist teleprompter-needing. Sorry.

I received the following message:

You have been suspended from Team Sarah

Sorry, Thomas "T" Baggs, 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, May 14, 2009

Name the Sarah Palin Memoir on Mudflats

Head on over to The Mudflats and record your suggestions for the title of Alaska Governor Sarah Palin's memoir. Or just read the titles already proposed - you won't be able to stop laughing!

Tuesday, May 12, 2009

Obama's Public Health Insurance Option


The choice of a public health insurance plan is crucial to real health care reform. But right now, it's being smeared by conservatives and insurance-industry front groups. Here's what you really need to know:

1. Choice, choice, choice. If the public option passes, Americans will be able to choose between their current insurance and a high-quality, government-run plan similar to Medicare. If you like your current care, you can keep it. If you don't—or don't have any—you can get the public insurance plan.

2. It will be high-quality coverage with a choice of doctors. Government-run plans have a track record of innovating to improve quality, because they're not just focused on short-term profits. And if you choose the public plan, you'll still get to choose your doctor and hospital.

3. We'll all save a bunch of money. The public option won't have to spend money on things like CEO bonuses, shareholder dividends, or excessive advertising, so it'll cost a lot less. Plus, the private plans will have to lower their rates and provide better value to compete, so people who keep their current insurance will save, too.

4. It will always be there for you and your family. A for-profit insurer can close, move out of the area, or just kick you off their insurance rolls. The public option will always be available to provide you with the health security you need.

5. And it's a key part of universal health care. No longer will sick people or folks in rural communities, or low-income Americans be forced to go without coverage. The public option will be available and accessible to everyone. And for those struggling to make ends meet, the premiums will be subsidized by the government.

Monday, May 11, 2009

Mother's Day Hike to Termination Point

Valerie (White) Aartun, visiting from South Carolina, joined us on Sunday for a great hike to Termination Point. Sunny skies, light wind, and dry (for Kodiak) trail combined for a very enjoyable afternoon. We ran into four other hikers with two black labs and a wiener dog on a leash. They said the weiner dog is the one that goes wild and they have to restrain in the woods.

Thursday, May 7, 2009

Brown Gold for the Garden

Today, the spousal unit and I collected bison chips for the garden. Michelle Obama's organic garden can only look on with envy as we add the magic elixir to our raised beds.