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

Safe food and water in the backcountry

KSKA: Thursday, June 01, at 2:00p.m. Staying healthy in the backcountry is a prerequisite to having a good time. But it’s more important than that. Getting sick in the wilderness, away from health care, can magnify the hazards of a situation. On the next show, we’ll talk about health issues, mostly having to do with food and water, and how you can keep your group in good shape on backcountry hiking or remote boating trips this summer. LISTEN HERE

Mountain biking in Eagle River and the Mat-Su

KSKA: Thursday, April 13, at 2:00 p.m. Probably, like a lot of cyclists in Anchorage, you know our trails pretty well, especially the ones closest to home, because that’s where you ride on a regular basis. But bikes these days can go a lot farther than that. On our next show, we’re talking about mountain biking opportunities beyond the bowl, including in the Mat-su and on the brand new trails just finished near Eagle River, at Mirror Lake. LISTEN HERE

Revisiting Small Game Hunting

KSKA: Thursday, Dec. 4, at 2:00. Small game can be an entry for young people into hunting, but it’s also is a tradition for sportsmen going back centuries and shows up in classic literature from all over the world. On the next Outdoor Explorer, the topic is hunting upland game birds and small mammals. LISTEN NOW

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!

Wildlife Hazards in Context

The terror of being attacked by a bear is a nightmare for many outdoors people, and a lot of time is spent worrying and planning for it. We’ll put wildlife hazards in context. What should you know to be safe, how can you improve your chances, and why aren’t you thinking about all the other things that could get you, and that are a lot more common. Join us for an opinionated discussion. KSKA: Thursday, May 1, at 2:00 p.m. and 9:00 p.m. Listen now:

Invasive plants

KSKA: Thursday,June 15, at 2:00 p.m. Invasive plants on land and water can spread rapidly. Weeds entering a new system are something like viruses, or cancers, that can be dealt with relatively easy in the early stage, but become unmanageable if they go too far. The hopeful news is that Alaskans are tackling this challenge, and it is not too late to make a difference. LISTEN HERE

Sports Psychology

KSKA: Thursday Nov. 17 at 2:00 p.m. Successful athletes often say the mental game is as important as physical training, but what does that really mean? We’ll find out on the next show. What you’ll learn on the next show could make you a better athlete, and it can also make you more successful in life. LISTEN NOW

Sea otter numbers

On the next Outdoor Explorer, we’ll talk about otters and try to understand how they may have changed the coastal ecosystem. We’ll also meet a tribal leader in Sitka who is doing something about it, with a sea otter hunt that also provides furs for Native handicrafts, which seems to be bringing back shellfish.  Thanks for listening!

The Alaska Range

KSKA: Thursday, Nov. 10, at 2:00 p.m. The Alaska Range is the most dramatic topographic feature in Alaska, and among the greatest in the world, with North America’s tallest peak. On the next show, we’ll be talking about the Alaska Range, and the effort to capture it in a new book. In the second half of the show we’ll have the treat of hearing from Art Davidson, a member of the first climb ever to summit Denali in the winter. LISTEN NOW
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Organic gardening and beekeeping

Gardening without chemicals turns out to be the right way, according to our next guest. Jeff Lowenfels has been growing things in Anchorage for a very long time, and through that experience he learned to get rid of anything that doesn’t naturally belong in his garden. We’ll also hear from a longtime beekeeping expert in Anchorage, who is even breeding bees able to make it through our cold winters. Thanks for listening!

Off The Grid Life

A cabin off the grid is a private place in the wilderness where the noisy world is far away and the soul of Alaska close at hand. On the next Outdoor Explorer, our host comes to you from his own off-the-grid cabin on Kachemak Bay. Guest Donna Massay will join us from the Trapper Creek area. And we’ll learn about the power, water and communication technology that makes off the grid life easier to do these days. KSKA: Thursday 8/15, at 2:00 and 9:00 pm Listen Now

Amateur Mushing

Iditarod dog teams have as much in common with your pet as an Indy car and a tricycle, but there is something in between. Dog mushing is a recreational sport for families, too. On this Outdoor Explorer, we’ll learn about using sled dogs for fun and transportation with the mom of a local mushing family, and a Denali guide who takes out newbies daily. KSKA Thursday 3/7 at 2:00 pm, repeating at 7:00 pm

Preserving Wild Food

Fall is in the air and it is time to put up the food you caught and gathered over the summer so it will last you till spring. On the show, we’ll roll up our sleeves and get down to the details about the best ways to butcher, smoke, can, and freeze what you caught and picked over the last few months, and the next few weeks, so that when the snow flies you can taste a little of the summer and make the most of your harvest. KSKA: Thursday, Sept. 4, at 2:00 and 9:00 p.m. Listen now: 

Revisiting Rockhounding and Fossils

KSKA: Thursday, Oct. 20, at 2:00 p.m. On the next Outdoor Explorer, we'll talk about rockhounding with folks who get serious about geology. We’ll also spend time with scientists who find real treasures, the fossils of dinosaurs that once lived in Alaska. LISTEN NOW

Birdwatching at the Coastal Refuge

In Anchorage you head for the mountains, but on the other side of the city there is another wild habitat to explore, summer and winter: the coastal wetlands that extend from Potter’s Marsh to Ship Creek. We’ll talk about the swampy, muddy shoreline of Anchorage, and the many birds and animals that live there. KSKA: Thursday, May 8, 2:00 p.m. and 9:00 p.m. Listen now:

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.

Getting your own piece of Alaska

The dream of getting your own piece of Alaska is as old as the North, the idea of staking land, proving up, and ending up with a big homestead that is your own estate. The state of Alaska still has programs for residents to get inexpensive land, including the opportunity to pick your own site and stake the corners. We’ll talk about how you can buy a remote piece of Alaska, too, and hear the story of a real Alaskan pioneer who lived alone in the wilderness years ago. KSKA: Thursday, Sept 10, at 2:00 p.m. and Thursday, Sept. 17, at 8:00 p.m. Listen Now:

Arctic Warriors

On the next Outdoor Explorer, we’re talking about Arctic Warriors and the skills they learn and practice. We have two officers in the studio whose military training has helped them make it through Alaska’s harshest weather. One was on a caribou hunt on North Slope when the weather took a dangerous turn. The other led a successful Denali ascent over the summer. What does the military teach about surviving outdoors? We’ll get into that question on this show. KSKA: Thursday, Jan. 29, at 2:00 and 9:00 p.m. Listen Now:

Matanuska outdoor gems

You can’t always assume the places you love to recreate will still be accessible for the next generation, especially on the edges of urban Alaska where development happens rapidly. The Matanuska Valley contains some of our favorite places. We'll discuss the work being done to conserve it by a private non-profit organization, and about fun spots like Bodenburg Butte, the Palmer Hay Flats, and the many other hiking, biking, hunting and fishing areas to enjoy. KSKA: Thursday, August 21, at 2:00 and 9:00 p.m. Listen now:

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!