Outdoor Explorer

On “Outdoor Explorer” from KSKA-Anchorage we invite you to step outside into Alaska. Follow us to a new trail or fishing hole, learn what to pack, when to go and most importantly, how to stay safe. Learn about life-long fitness and get inspired to go outside in the back country or on the bike trails.

We’ll hear from the people who know the land best – outdoor guides, park rangers, coaches, authors, lodge owners, bush pilots, educators and you, the explorer. Listen Thursdays at 2:00 & 8:00 pm on KSKA FM, streaming live at alaskapublic.org.

We’re looking for your show ideas! Please send your thoughts for upcoming shows to: bork@alaskapublic.org

Adventure and science

Over the course of humanity's time on earth we have learned much from nature. In modern history science and adventure have had a symbiotic relationship. On this show we’ll be talking to Dr. Caroline Van Hemert, who travelled from Bellingham to Kotzebue by row boat, skis, packraft, canoe, and on foot. In the 2nd half of the show we’ll be talking with Dr. Kathy Kuletz, who has studied seabirds in Prince William Sound and the North Gulf of Alaska since 1978. Thanks for listening!

River stories

The summer season is here and Alaska’s waterways beckon.  We’re taking the topic from four perspectives. An interview with a pioneer who made a lifelong career of floating remote rivers with inflatables. A story by a Minnesotan who got in some trouble on an Alaska river. A buyers guide to pack rafts. And a bear story that comes from an epic float trip. Thanks for listening!

Revisiting adventures in field science

Alaskan geologists, biologists, archeologists, and lots of other kinds of ologists cover the wilderness in their work, in search of knowledge but avoiding something many outdoor folks are looking for: adventure. On the next Outdoor Explorer, we’ll hear from field scientists about their challenges studying Alaska, and how they keep safe and work effectively in places where other people go to test themselves against the elements.

They came to Alaska, and stayed

On the next Outdoor Explorer, we’ll be talking with Conor McDonald and Miranda Sheely. Conor is known as Bucky to his friends. A few years ago, Miranda and Bucky moved to Alaska for college from out of state, but they seem to have found their home here, and they decided not to leave after graduating. Miranda has found her passion exploring Alaska’s wilderness by raft during the summer, and with a dog team during the winter. Bucky recently presented his college thesis paper at the Alaska Snow Safety Summit. In it, he researched the relationship between social media and avalanche safety. Please join us for what’s sure to be an interesting conversation with Bucky McDonald and Miranda Sheely. Thanks for listening!

Learning from our elders

The outdoors can teach us many lessons, from skills like pitching a tent and cooking a hot meal to life lessons such as communication and decision making. Alaska is full of women and men of all stripes that have lived full lives in the outdoors. Join your host, Paul Twardock, on the next Outdoor Explorer as he speaks with Alaska ski pioneer Jim Mahaffey and retired Denali Mountaineering Ranger Daryl Miller. Thanks for listening!

Remote power & visiting Spencer Glacier

On the next Outdoor Explorer, we’re talking about about remote power. Solar panels are small and portable enough now that it makes sense to take them into the backcountry to charge batteries, extending your electronics and communications indefinitely. My guest is also an expert in setting up remote power systems at cabins, technology that is advancing to make power in your remote site much simpler. Also, we'll hear about climbing and rafting on and around Spencer Glacier. Thanks for listening!

Urban outdoor exploration

According to The Trust for Public Land, 54% of the nation’s residents live within a 10 minute walk of a park. In Anchorage, that number is 74%. For many residents of an urban area, access to a park near their neighborhood as a child is the first outdoor exploration of life. For adults, a neighborhood park offers a quick trip into nature to recreate and relieve stress. On the next Outdoor Explorer, we’ll be talking with the visionaries, the planners, and the builders of our urban park space. Thanks for listening!

Alaska Sports Hall of Fame

The Alaska Sports Hall of Fame’s mission is to Teach, Honor, and Inspire. On the next Outdoor Explorer we'll be joined by the Executive Director of the Hall who will tell us about the class of 2019 and representatives from the Alaska Run for Women, which is entering the Hall in the event category. Thanks for listening!

Enjoying the fall season

Some Alaskans think fall is an in-between season when we’re waiting for winter and the skiing, skating and snowmachine riding that is coming. But that’s a mistake. Fall lasts a long time around here these days-- we can easily get three full months of it. On the next Outdoor Explorer, we’re talking about the joys of autumn, when the tourists are gone and many good days remain, if you know how to dress for them. Thanks for listening!

Arctic Valley Ski Area

Arctic Valley ski area has been in operation since 1941. On the next Outdoor Explorer we will be talking about the the future of the ski area and its importance to the community. We discuss the new concession agreement that will allow the Anchorage Ski Club to continue to operate the ski area as well as the resurrection of the Arctic Valley Ski Team. Thanks for listening!

Accessing Alaska’s rivers

Spring is in the air and the river ice is thawing out. Whether rafting, canoeing, kayaking, or inner tubing, there are plenty of ways to access Alaska's rivers without a motor. This week on Outdoor Explorer, we'll be speaking with Les Gara and Eric Downey about their experiences on Alaska's rivers, and about how the rest of us can get out there and join them. Thanks for listening!

Spruce beetles and climate change

The spruce beetle has changed the forests of southcentral Alaska, and it’s not done. On the next Outdoor Explorer, we’ll examine the forest changes driven by a warming climate. The most important factor has been these beetles. We’ll learn about their life cycle, impact, how to fight them, and what their explosion means for the places we recreate. We’ll also go deeper, learning what the best science predicts is next. Thanks for listening!

Winter natural history

Like humans, animals and birds cope with winter in a variety of ways. Some leave, migrating to warmer climates. Some hunker down for lots of sleep by hibernating. And some, like moose and ravens, are active all winter long. Join this week's host, Paul Twardock, as he'll be talking with scientists and writers to help us better understand how nature adapts and adjusts to winter’s challenges. Thanks for listening!
Photo: National Park Service

Climbing Denali

While most of us are storing our skis for the summer, the Denali climbing season is just beginning. Climbing rangers are putting in Kahiltna Base Camp and the first climbers are on the mountain soon to be followed by 1000s of others. Join us for the next Outdoor Explorer as we talk with two veterans of Denali, climber Colby Coombs and Denali Ranger Melis Coady. Thanks for listening!

Outdoors and activism

On the next Outdoor Explorer, we have an interview with one of the world’s top professional snowboarders, Jeremy Jones, who has made more than 50 films about his exploits in Alaska alone. But that’s not all Jeremy is about anymore. As he saw winter eroding, he has become an activist to do something about climate change, and recruited other top skiing and boarding pros to become activists as well. Thanks for listening!

Outdoor photography

On the next Outdoor Explorer, we’ll be discussing outdoor photography with mountain photographer Charlie Renfro. There's a lot to talk about. Later in the show, we’ll be talking with Gus Schumacher, an Anchorage cross-country skier who recently won gold at the World Junior Championships. Thanks for listening!

Stand Up Paddleboarding in Alaska

KSKA: Thursday, June 16, at 2:00 We love how people keep inventing new sports and Alaskans keep finding unique ways to do them. The next show is a great example, we're talking about stand up paddleboarding and paddleboard yoga. A paddleboard is essentially a surf board for calm water, but as you’ll learn, paddleboards now are being used in Alaskan rivers and in the ocean. Finally, at the end of the show, we’ll hear a hair raising story from our live outdoor explorer show a few weeks ago. DOWNLOAD AUDIO

Hidden animals in Alaska

Costa's Hummingbird. Photo: Mr. WhitekeysAnna's Hummingbird. Photo: Mr. WhitekeysCosta's Hummingbird. Photo: Mr. WhitekeysOtter in Campbell Creek. Photo: Laura BurzinskiFlying Squirrel. Photo:...

Catching up on Eklutna, ski prep & helping young girls

This week we’re checking in with the outdoor community here in southcentral Alaska, which is all about getting ready for the coming winter and being involved in the positive stuff that so many of our neighbors do for one another. We’ll have segments on reviving fish runs in the Eklutna River, getting your skis ready for winter, and volunteering to help girls in Guatemala stay active through puberty.  Thanks for listening!

Exploring the Chugach

The Chugach Mountains form Anchorage’s scenic skyline.  While during the summer the trail heads are full of people and access is easy. Winter is a different story.  For quiet and solitude a winter week day in the almost 500,000 acre Chugach State Park is hard to beat.  On this week’s show we’ll be talking about exploring the Chugach Mountains in the winter.  Thanks for listening!