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February 26, 2018

Big Ideas for a Big State

By Howard Weaver President Obama’s recent attention to Alaska — especially in Dillingham, Kotzebue and Seward — provides a welcome focus for looking beyond the bleak landscape of oil price collapse and budget cuts toward a brighter, more sustainable future. For perhaps the first time since western contact, Alaskans may be motivated to turn away from the love-em-and-leave-em dynamics of extraction to embrace their genuine treasures: the cultural diversity and frontier spirit of its people; an abundance of renewable resources that can be managed and sustained forever; and indigenous wisdom from the North that can benefit all mankind. Seward, then…

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Encounters with Alaska’s Wildlife

By Bill Sherwonit Given my love for essays (both writing and reading them), it’s a special delight to have a collection of my pieces published this fall by Alaska Northwest Books. Animal Stories: Encounters with Alaska’s Wildlife includes thirty-four essays, written over two decades’ time. One of the joys of doing the book was to re-read scores of the essays I’ve written across the years and to find that a good number of them still “hold up” (at least as judged by me and the editors). To give a sense of the book’s scope and intent, I’ll here borrow from…

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Forest Service Gutting 1st Amendment? Relax.

There’s a lot of outrage on the Internets these days about proposed plans by the U.S. Forest Service to gut the First Amendment by requiring permits for news media or nature photographers in Federally-designated wilderness areas on Forest Service lands. After reading a lot of the outrage, there are two things that come abundantly clear: None of the outraged have actually read the applicable Federal Register notice, and none of them are aware that this has been the status quo on Federal public lands for decades. Nothing on the face of the notice actually applies to the media. So, you have to look at the applicable proposed…

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Volunteer Day At Denali

The National Park Service is looking for a few good men (and women, of course).  This Friday, September 12th, is volunteer day. If you’re in Alaska and can make it – we ask you to take this day and help out Alaska’s most famous Park.  Melody Abel with the Park Service was kind enough to answer a few questions about the day and the park itself. Hike and Build [From the NPS website] Try your hand at trail maintenance activities such as hauling brush, constructing trail, and rehabilitating disturbed areas. Expect 2 to 4 miles of moderate hiking over uneven terrain….

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Park Service Gets it Wrong on Drone Law

When I worked as a canoe guide in the Boundary Waters Canoe Area Wilderness (BWCAW) about 20 years ago, I came to realize that the concept of “wilderness” was a subjective one. Everyone experiences wilderness and wildness in different ways, and their perspective of what constitutes wilderness is often connected to noise level. For example, certain border lakes in the BWCAW allow for the operation of 25 hp or less motors (while almost all of the 2,000 or so lakes prohibit any motorized craft). For some people, even that was too much; but for others, 25hp or less meant no…

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Time for Another Alaskan Debunking

It’s in all-to-common phenomenon to see articles written about Alaska by people who are not from here. Or, at least, with this one in particular I have to assume the author is not from here because she got so many things wrong. The piece I am referring to was published in a real estate blog called “Movoto,” and claimed to detail “22 Things You Need To Know About Anchorage Before You Move There.” Setting aside the grammatically challenged approach to capitalizing every word in the headline, as I read the piece, I started seeing some errors. 1. “To State the…

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Show Me Your Budget

Show me a political flyer in Alaska and I’ll show you a candidate whose only reason for living is supporting the Permanent Fund and education, and fighting “government waste.” There’s an old saying, “Don’t tell me what you value. Show me your budget, and I’ll tell you what you value.” This week we got to see what the Republican majority in the Alaska Senate values. Rest assured, their budget, written by Sen. Pete Kelly, does not value birth control for irresponsible women. In fact, amendments to accept millions in federal funds for family planning — to actually reduce abortions —…

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The April 1 Election Was No Joke!

Yes, progressives, the light you saw heading towards you for this Municipal Election was NOT an oncoming train! We had a very successful night with a possibility (a long-shot, but a possibility nonetheless) of even better news after questioned and absentee ballots are counted. First, the current good news! East Side incumbent Assembly member Adam Trombley has been dumped for a better date – Mr. Pete Petersen! Mao Tosi’s candidacy did not do what his Republican backers wanted — he was unable to pull enough votes from Petersen to give Trombley the win. Pete currently leads Trombley by 336 votes…

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Anchorage Muni Voter Guide

The editors of The Mudflats don’t always agree, but this time we’re unanimous. What we agree upon most of all is that everyone must get out to vote tomorrow, Tuesday, April 1. Local elections are the most important, and least well attended. This one is particularly critical, so no excuses. Here’s your down and dirty voter guide. Anchorage Assembly Races East Side  Adam Trombley vs. Pete Petersen vs. Mao Tosi Trombley has rallied the troops at the Anchorage Tea Party “Day of Resistance,” spent most of his time trying to distance himself from an increasingly unpopular Mayor who hand-selected him…

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Road Trip! ANC to FBX (PHOTOS)

The road from Anchorage to Fairbanks and back is spectacular regardless of the season. I recently posted some photos from an autumn ride which were rich in color and clouds. But winter holds a particular charm of its own, with stands of bare birches and aspen; snow-kissed spruce; sawtooth mountain ridges that somehow look larger clad in white; and expansive vistas of frost-covered valleys, dotted with lakes and rivers frozen solid and covered with snow. There are few signs that humans exist, other than occasional power lines, and the very highway that takes you from the beginning to the end…

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