Muni Seeks Public Comments for Trails Plan
The municipality is beginning an update to the Trails Plan, and is gathering public comments regarding the trail system. Input is essential for planning and improving the city’s recreational trail network. The public is invited to attend an open house in Girdwood on May 7 from 5:30 to 7:30 p.m. in the Girdwood Community Room at the Library.
No Sighting of Escaped Wildlife Center Bear
A 2-year-old female brown bear that escaped from the Alaska Wildlife Center in Portage April 3 has still not been sighted.
There have been multiple reports from the public of a brown bear in Potter Marsh, but it was confirmed that it is not the escaped bear.
“We have tried live traps in the area and several days of aerial searches with no luck,” said spokesperson Ethan Tyler of AWCC.
The bear jumped an electric fence at the center after the power was shut-off for maintenance.
Anyone who sights a bear in the Portage Valley area should call the Fish & Game at 907‐267‐2811, AWCC at 907‐301‐7942 or State Troopers at 911.
Major Marine adds second boat to Whittier tour operation; looks to fill void left by Ciri Alaska Tourism Corp.
Major Marine Tours announced the addition of its newest tour in Whittier. The Surprise Glacier Tour will run 5.25 hours leaving the Whittier boat harbor at 12:15 p.m. and returning at 5:30 p.m.
The cruise will offer tours to Ester Passage, a visit to a working salmon hatchery, and an increased chance to see marine wildlife including whales. The highlight of the cruise is an up-close view of Surprise Glacier. The tour will be hosted by a Chugach National Forest Ranger and will offer guests an “all-you-can-eat” salmon and prime rib buffet, prepared fresh on the boat during the tour.
The tours take place on the M/V Fairweather Express II, a 78-foot water jet catamaran with cruising speed of 25 knots. The tour will operate from May 19 to Sept. 16.
Whittier has two cruise tour operators now. Phillips Cruises also offers tours in Prince William Sound and Surprise Glacier on a large catamaran boat.
There were three tour operators in Whittier. Last fall, Ciri Alaska Tourism Corporation closed its Whittier boat tour operation – Prince William Sound Glacier Cruises. They have relocated the boat to their Seward Operation and Kenai Fjords Tours, which has 14 vessels in its fleet.
“We’re operating seven daily departures out of Seward, and we’re really excited about the additional capacity in Seward,” said Dee Buchanon, marketing director for Kenai Fjords Tours. “The Fox Island experience we operate there is really popular with our customers.”
Ciri bought Prince William Cruises from Stan Stephens in 1997. He operated Prince William Sound Cruises out of Valdez, and Ciri relocated the boat to Whittier, changing the name to Prince William Sound Glacier Cruises.
Kenai Birding Festival May 17-20
Birds of a Feather Flock Together! Like the migratory birds coming from distant lands, birders from across the state and even international travelers are headed to the Kenai Peninsula for the annual Kenai Birding Festival in May.
With activities scheduled for all ages and abilities, the 2012 festival is gearing up for another great year May 17-20. Beginning to advanced birders are invited to meet with local birding experts as well as Bird Watcher’s Digests’ Bill Thompson, III and Julie Zickefoose.
Through a variety of activities including guided rafting trips, art shows, films and self guided hot spot tours, the 4-day festival showcases the pristine beaches, beautiful state parks and fantastic wildlife refuge that draws thousands of birds to the Kenai Peninsula throughout the year.
Many of the festival activities are free with a few opportunities incurring a fee. Pre-registration is required for many as space is limited.
Whittier Tunnel Begins Summer Hours
The Anton Anderson Memorial Tunnel to Whittier begins summer hours May 1 with the first opening from Bear Valley at 5:30 a.m., and the last opening out of Whittier at 11:15 p.m.