Thursday, December 30, 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

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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.