1. Glacier Bay whale display will be second largest in the world
Visitors to Glacier Bay National Park and Preserve in 2014 will have the opportunity to view a rearticulated humpback whale skeleton. The skeleton, exceeding 45 feet in length, comes from Whale 68, also referred to as â€œSnow,â€ a female whale that died in a cruise ship collision in 2001. After decomposing on the beach, residents and park staff began the 10-year process of retrieving and preserving the massive skeleton. In October 2012, the park contracted with a professional whale reconstruction entity to prepare the skeleton to become an articulated outdoor exhibit. â€œSnowâ€ will be the second largest humpback whale skeleton on display in the world, topped by a 49-foot skeleton in Newfoundland. A roofed, open-sided exhibit shelter is being built to house the skeleton, located on a trail along the shore near the visitor information station. The National Park Service has been monitoring humpback whales since 1985 and typically view more than 200 whales in Glacier Bay each summer.
Contact: John Quinley, National Park Service Alaska
Photo credit: National Park Service Alaska
2. St. Elias Alpine Guides keep history alive
St. Elias Alpine Guides offers visitors a chance to travel back in time to the 1930s and explore the remote ghost town of Kennicott as it was almost a century ago. Located in Wrangell-St. Elias National Park and Preserve, the mill town of Kennicott processed the richest copper deposit ever found, up until 1938, when the company abruptly abandoned the town. Today, St. Elias Alpine Guides gives guests the chance to view the historic buildings, equipment and even items that belonged to the townspeople. St. Elias Alpine Guides hold the exclusive concession for these tours from the National Park Service, allowing them to take travelers inside some of the most impressive industrial buildings. An addition to the tour in the near future is the west bunkhouse, which gives insight to how the Kennecott Mill site workers lived, including their living quarters, dining hall and kitchen. The tour is offered three times daily during the summer months (May â€“ September).
Contact: Gaia Marrs, St. Elias Alpine Guides
Facebook: St. Elias Alpine Guides
Photo credit: St. Elias Alpine Guides
3. Alyeska Resortâ€™s upgrade completion just around the corner
In anticipation of Alaskaâ€™s winter, Alyeska Resort announced that Chair 6 is getting an upgrade. The four-person seating lift, originally installed in 1988, is being replaced with a new high-speed detachable quad projected for completion on Oct. 31, 2013. The ski resort is updating the first generation high-speed lift with a newer and more reliable high-speed quad that includes a smaller drive terminal. Chair 6 is one of the most central lifts for skiers and snowboarders to and from the resort and the mountain, supplying access to the upper mountain trails at the ski resort including the North Face, Mighty Mite, Silvertip and High Traverse, to name a few. Resort representatives anticipate it will be able to accommodate a higher capacity of skiers with shorter lift times while relieving congestion on the upper mountain. Alyeska Resort completed a similar project last summer, replacing Chair 4 with a high-speed detachable quad.
Contact: Jessica Pezak, Alyeska Resort
Photo credit: Alyeska Resort
4. Archiving Alaskaâ€™s Alutiiq language
The Alutiiq Museumâ€™s â€œAlutiiq Word of the Weekâ€ program, originally airing on Kodiakâ€™s public ratio station and appearing in the Kodiak Daily Mirror, has offered unparalleled insight into the culture and heritage of the Alutiiq people for the last 15 years. Each entry pairs a word and sentence in the Alutiiq language, spoken by an elder, with a short article about the history and use of the word. The Alutiiq Museum, located in Kodiak, now has an online archive of more than 475 Alutiiq words and cultural information that is available to the public. The archive is organized by English and Alutiiq words and also contains geographical information about where a specific word is used and in what context. The complexity of the Alutiiq language and its cultural significance makes it an important resource to sustain for future generations.
Contact: Alisha Drabek, Alutiiq Museum
Phone: 907-486-7005, ext. 27
Facebook: Alutiiq Museum
Photo credit: Alutiiq Museum