Emily Schwing, KUCB - Unalaska
The headquarters of the Yukon Quest International Sled Dog Race in both Alaska and Canada were buzzing Saturday with talk of snow and mushing.
Rural Communities in northeastern Alaska could be left without caribou in the future, according to a recent study. Scientists believe climate change could increase wildfire potential in lichen-rich boreal forest were the Central Arctic and Porcupine caribou herds forage in the winter. A decline in habitat could mean less opportunity for area subsistence hunters.
The Yukon Quest International Sled Dog race organization announced the 2015 race purse Wednesday. The first 15 mushers to cross the finish line next February stand to win a percentage of more than $127,000.
This time of year, indigenous people across the Far North gather to play games and celebrate traditions. Earlier this month, in Fairbanks they took part in the World Eskimo Indian Olympics. There was also a gathering of people from across the Circumpolar north in Inuvik, Canada. This year, native people from Arctic nations joined Russia’s Chukchi and Inuit peoples for the first ever Beringia Arctic Games. It was the largest gathering of its kind in a once forgotten corner of the world called Chukotka.
Scientists have long believed melting permafrost emits large amounts of carbon-rich greenhouse gases like methane and carbon dioxide to the atmosphere resulting in a warming climate. But a new study published online by the journal Nature today indicates ancient lakes that formed after permafrost in the Arctic first melted roughly ten thousand years ago may in fact have a net climate cooling effect over long time scales. The study also increases the total amount of carbon estimated in the frozen soils of the Far North by more than 50 percent.
The University of Alaska Press recently published a book detailing one biologist’s lifelong effort to chronicle the lives of wolves that live inside the boundary of Denali Park and Preserve.
The Yukon Quest International Sled Dog Race will have a new set of rules in 2015. Overall rest time has been decreased by two hours, but mushers will be required to make more mandatory stops along the 1000 mile trail.
A new study indicates that the death of a wolf has implications for the rest of the pack, depending on the size of the pack and the dead wolf’s sex. The study is in response to the legal trapping of a breeding female that was part of a well-known wolf pack that was frequently spotted in Denali National Park.
It’s been one year since the Stuart Creek 2 Wildfire was reported burning in the Yukon Training area northeast of Fairbanks. The blaze, ignited during an Army artillery training exercise, burned more than 87,000 acres. It was one of the largest wildfires in the United States in 2013.
Scientists are announcing a surprising find from the arctic: new permafrost is still forming. But it is unlikely to survive beyond the end of the century. That’s according to a new study out this week in the publication Geophysical Research Letters. Researchers made the discovery at a lake in Alaska’s Eastern Interior.
The Alaska Fire Service will host a meeting tonight in Delta Junction to answer questions about the 100 Mile Creek Fire burning 20 miles southwest of that town.
The University of Alaska Board of Regents agreed last week to fund a $4 million design project to re-purpose an already existing building on the UAF campus by September, 2015 when the first students begin studies in a new veterinary medicine program. But, the new program is on a list of recommended budget cuts.
The cost of a new engineering building on the University of Alaska Fairbanks campus continues to rise as officials struggle to find ways to pay for its construction. The Board of Regents agreed last week to add $5 million to the project.
The University of Alaska Board of Regents gave their formal approval for a $4.4 million project to re-purpose the Syun-Ichi Akasofu Building on the campus of the University of Alaska, Fairbanks during a regular meeting last week. The project comes after two Japanese agencies vacated the buildings. Their absence means a loss of funding that would otherwise pay to maintain the building.
A survey of wolves in Denali National Park and Preserve this spring turned out the fourth lowest count since biologists started keeping track of the animals nearly 30 years ago. Park Service officials say the numbers show a decline in the population, but they haven’t settled on an explanation.
The Alaska Department of Fish and Game shot 64 black and brown bears from helicopters in the Western Interior in May. That brings the total number of bears shot during a two-year effort to 153. The Board of Game approved the program following requests from Kuskokwim River-area hunters, who were concerned about a declining moose population.
A new exhibit opens at the University of Alaska Museum of the North over the weekend. The year-long installation is called “Arctic Odyssey: Voyages of the R/V Sikuliaq.” It offers a first-hand look the University of Alaska Fairbanks’ state-of-the-art new research vessel, slated to sail in Arctic waters next year.
A prescribed burn on the Oklahoma Range in the Donnelly Training near Delta Junction has grown to more than 50,000 acres. The burn was ignited in dry grass last Saturday. Alaska Fire Service Spokesman Mel Slater says officials are considering whether to change its characterization from a prescribed burn to a wildfire.
The run size for Yukon River Chinook, or king salmon, is likely to be lower than last year’s. Fishermen saw the lowest run of kings on record in 2013.
The first Red Flag warnings have already been issued for parts of Southcentral and the Interior and wildland firefighters are gearing up for the season. Some of them will approach wildfires from the ground, but there’s one elite group that’s been training for more than two months to fight fire from the air.