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

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!

The outdoors and personal growth

On this Outdoor Explorer, we’re going to talk about how time spent outdoors can help us grow. Adrienne Lindholm has written a book about her path from mountain newbie trying to prove herself to becoming more interested in the journey. Carey Carpenter is campaigning for longer recess for Anchorage school children, and she’ll also talk about how outdoor adventures helped her cope with breast cancer. Lastly, we'll hear a story about getting more minorities to be interested in going outside. Thanks for listening!

Winter predictions and activities

Will winter bring snow, or will we wait through thaws, rain and darkness? On the next Outdoor Explorer, we have a climatologist to talk about the predicted El Nino that is expected to bring warm, gloomy conditions this winter. So that’s the prediction. For the response, we’ll have two other interviews. We’ll be talking about hibernation, not the best option, and about indoor ice... it's the sport of curling. Thanks for listening!
sled, sledding, dogs

Dog training

In Alaska, dogs can be team members with mushers and also with hunters, using their abilities to extend our own. But first, someone has to let the animals know how to do those jobs. Judging by the dogs we've seen around Anchorage, many of us are not very good at training-- but our guests on the next show are. They work with upland hunting dogs and sled dogs to create an effective dog/human team. 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!

Caribou migration

One of the most spectacular biological events in the world is going on in Alaska right now, the migration of hundreds of thousands of caribou from their northern calving grounds to wintering areas to the south. On the next Outdoor Explorer, we’ll learn how do they do it, and why, and what makes them change the routine sometimes, using new areas after many years on the same course. Thanks for listening!

Using your feet

This Outdoor Explorer is about feet. If you’re a runner, a hiker, a skier, a skater, if you do almost anything active, we should have your attention because when your feet are happy, you are. When they’re messed up, your fun is over. We’ll talk with a physical therapist and a podiatrist about healthy bodies and healthy feet, and hear some stories about hiking and the joy and misery it can bring. Thanks for listening!

Rockwell Kent centennial

Rockwell Kent was one of the most important artists to picture Alaska. And the legendary winter he spent with his son on Fox Island, in Resurrection Bay, happened 100 years ago. On the next Outdoor Explorer we’re joined by an expert on those events, and on Kent’s colorful life in general, to learn about landmarks in fine art and writing about nature that were created right here. Thanks for listening!
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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!

What happened to Kenai salmon?

As the summer winds down, Outdoor Explorer looks at one of the worst years of salmon fishing in memory in southcentral Alaska. We’ll review what happened, why it happened, and talk about the impacts on anglers and communities. 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!

Bike fitting and the Texas 4000

We’re talking about cycling on the next Outdoor Explorer. We’ll chat with a physical therapist and a bike fitter to learn about getting the perfect fit for your health, as well as your performance. And we’ll have an interview about the Texas 4000, a cross-country bike ride for cancer arriving soon in Anchorage from the University of Texas in Austin. Thanks for listening!

Women of polar science

Sue Mauger is a scientist and conservationist who studies Alaska’s streams to learn the impact of climate change. So why did she go on a voyage to Antarctica? On the next outdoor explorer, we’ll discuss the unusual reason. Sue was invited to join a ship full of women scientists with the goal of learning about themselves and how they can be stronger in their work for the benefit of knowledge and the earth. Thanks for listening!

National park journeys

On this next Outdoor Explorer, meet Mikah Meyer who traveled to every national park. And not only the big ones, but also all the historical parks and the obscure places, a trip that has taken years. We’ll also be chatting with legendary Alaska hiker Shawn Lyons, who is publishing a completely encyclopedic set of books covering every route in southcentral Alaska. Yea parks!

Inclusive playgrounds and museum summer activities

On the next Outdoor Explorer, we'll meet an 11 year old girl and her mother who made a huge change in our city. When Anna Boltz was a toddler, her mother Leah realized that the city’s playgrounds, although meeting the law, were not truly accessible to a child like her who uses a wheelchair. Nine years later, Anchorage has a dozen inclusive playgrounds, with facilities that invite and engage people of every ability. We'll also hear about summer activities being hosted by the Anchorage Museum and about training to race in the Boston Marathon in a wheelchair. Thanks for listening!

Revisiting training for fitness

If you’ve gotten a little sedentary over the winter, the next Outdoor Explorer will have the information you need to up your level of fitness. Host Charles Wohlforth will be joined by a coach, a physical therapist and a dietitian to talk about how to safely and successfully start a fitness program, to control weight, improve health or just enjoy life more. For those who already work out regularly, we’ll talk about how to take it to the next level, and even to endurance competition. Thanks for listening!

Revisiting minimizing your impact

On this Outdoor Explorer we're revisiting an important topic: “Leave only footprints.” — It’s an ambitious philosophy. Most of us who recreate outdoors like to think we do a good job of this. We pack out our trash. We travel across landscapes with a light footprint. But how good are we? We’ll hear experts talk about what it really means to leave no trace — from scattering your fire circles to packing out human waste. Thanks for listening!

Nature as therapy

On the next Outdoor Explorer, meet Justin and Wella Jay. They met in Anchorage while serving in the Army. They were both deployed to combat in Afghanistan. They both came back with trauma from their wartime experiences. But as a couple they supported each other and found a way to walk off the war--on a six month hike over the Appalachian Trail. It helped them, and they think nature therapy could help other veterans. 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!

Whittier, gateway to the Prince William Sound

The town of Whittier is surprisingly close to Anchorage. With luck on hitting the tunnel schedule, you can be there in an hour. That hour puts you on the edge of one the the world’s largest and modest spectacular marine recreation areas, Prince William Sound. On the next Outdoor Explorer, we’re going to talk about going to Whittier. It’s not just for tourists, it’s a threshold to the ocean and the wilderness.