Fishing the Nushagak

Flying thousands of feet over remote western Alaska, I peered through the window of a chartered float plane on approach to the wild Nushagak River. While the sky was overcast and gray, the marshy tundra below displayed remarkably vibrant shades of yellow, green, and brown. A seemingly endless […]

A First Bike Ride (A Semi-True Story)

Due to knee injuries sustained in the Dalzell Gorge during the 2014 Iditarod Trail Sled Dog Race, the doctor ordered me to quit my summer running program. I hugged him, wondered aloud where he had been when I was in college athletics, and sprinted to my truck before […]

The Susitna Range – A Cattle Range in the Talkeetna Mountains

In the 1950s and 60s, when dairy farming was a major enterprise in the Matanuska Valley, it became necessary to find a way to cheaply feed non-producing cattle during the summer. A plan was formed to use a box canyon in the Talkeetna Mountains at the headwaters of […]

The Small Beginning of Usibelli Coal Mine

“Great things come from small beginnings,” as the saying goes. In the case of Usibelli Coal Mine (UCM), this expression is exactly right. The story of UCM starts with an Italian immigrant, Emil Usibelli. He came to Alaska in search of work, and ended up building a company […]

The Homestead

In 1962 the federal government provided an opportunity for a man and his family to stake up to 160 acres in Alaska. The Bureau of Land Management (BLM) identified acreage that was compatible for growing an agricultural product and with access to markets. In exchange for the land […]

Traversing the Kesugi Ridge Trail

In late June 2012, the summer following our epic adventure over Chilkoot Pass [see the June 2014 issue of LFM], our same two-family hiking group was set for another backpacking trip. This time, we were headed for Kesugi Ridge Trail in Denali State Park, a challenging 27.5 mile […]

The Life of an Alaska State Park Ranger

Petting a grizzly bear isn’t something everyone gets to check off their bucket list. But my father, Frank Wesser, a park ranger in the mountains of Chugach State Park, got that opportunity. A biologist with the Alaska Department of Fish and Game (ADF&G) was researching black bears in […]

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