Welcome to the Alaska Travel Industry Association (AlaskaTIA) Travel News Bulletin. AlaskaTIA sends this out periodically to keep media up-to-date on Alaska tourism and travel news. Media are invited to call (800) 327-9372 or visit www.TravelAlaska.com/media for more information.
April 4, 2011

In this April Travel News Bulletin you will find:

1. Alaska celebrates the International Year of the Forests
2. New birding, eco, culture and fishing tours in Nome
3. Hikers get a virtual preview of Denali backcountry hikes
4. Fossil discoveries place mammoths on the Kenai Peninsula

1. Alaska celebrates International Year of the Forests
There is even more reason to visit Alaska’s national forests in 2011, with events occurring throughout the year to celebrate International Year of the Forests. The yearlong celebration was designated by the United Nations General Assembly to celebrate and promote sustainable management and conservation of the world’s forests. Alaska is home to the nation’s two largest national forests, the Chugach, located in Southcentral Alaska, and the Tongass, located in the Inside Passage. Together, they encompass more than 22 million acres, providing a playground for Alaskans and visitors to enjoy world-class sightseeing, hiking, wildlife viewing, fishing, rafting, skiing and camping at more than 200 public use cabins open year round. Events occurring in the Chugach and Tongass national forests continue through November with film festivals, art shows, educational seminars and lectures, a hummingbird festival and other events celebrating the ecosystems and wildlife of Alaska’s forests. For a complete calendar of events and more information, visit http://www.myalaskaforests.com.
Media Contact:
Contact: Sara Boario, Chugach National Forest
Phone: (907) 743-9444
Email: sboario@fs.fed.us
Twitter: @ChugachForestAK or @Tongass_NF
URL: http://www.myalaskaforests.com

2. New birding, eco, culture and fishing tours in Nome
Alaska Northwest Adventures LLC will offer birding tours on the waters of Safety Sound near Nome beginning June 1. Safety Sound is a premier location to spot nesting or migratory birds near Nome. Avid birders on the new five-hour tour will be able to visit areas inaccessible to independent travelers who enjoy relatively easy birding along the area’s road system. Alaska Northwest Adventures LLC is also partnering with Nome Discovery Tours to offer a new summer adventure to the village of Council, located 70 miles east of Nome. Guests will travel by jet boat to explore Council and overnight along the Niukluk River. Activities include fishing from the boat and learning about local ecology and Alaska Native habitation in the area from Native Inupiaq hosts, Tom and BJ Gray. For more information, visit www.nomebirding.com. Visitors can book these tours by calling Alaskan NW Adventures LLC at 907-443-3971 or Nome Discovery Tours at 907-443-2814.
Media contacts:
Contact: Tom Gray, Alaska Northwest Adventures
Phone: 907-443-3971 or 907-304-2003
Email: tomnbj@starband.net
URL: www.nomebirding.com
Contact: Richard Beneville, Nome Discovery Tours

Phone: (907) 443-2814
E-mail: discover@gci.net

3. Hikers get a virtual preview of Denali backcountry hikes
Denali National Park and Preserve has launched a new virtual tour, giving visitors an idea of what to expect on one of the park’s ranger-led Discovery Hikes. For more than a generation, Denali has offered visitors the opportunity to spend a day hiking with a park ranger in the backcountry where there are no trails or roads. The adventures vary from moderate to strenuous, beginning with a bus ride into the park to various departure locations along the Park Road. The online guide covers topics such as challenges and difficulty of various hikes, how to sign up for a hike, what to wear, a list of recommended gear and a glossary of important terms. Descriptions of upcoming hikes are available in one-week increments and published on the park’s web site each Thursday. They’re offered daily during the summer and limited to just 11 people per hike, offering a perfect way to have an intimate and educational backcountry experience in one of America’s most famous national parks. For more information on Discovery Hikes or to view the interactive guide, visit http://www.nps.gov/dena/planyourvisit/discovery-hikes.htm.
Media Contact:
Contact: Kris Fister, Denali National Park and Preserve
Phone: (907) 683-9583
Twitter: @DenaliNPS
E-mail: Kris_Fister@nps.gov
URL: www.nps.gov/dena

4. Fossil discoveries place mammoths on the Kenai Peninsula
Fossils found on the beaches of the Kenai Peninsula last month are providing more evidence that woolly mammoths occupied the region between 60,000 and 25,000 years ago. Peninsula science buffs are hoping to discover even more artifacts like the anklebone and tusk fragment found near Homer further inland to quell theories that the objects were simply transported there by glaciers. Until recently, mammoths were thought to have only inhabited Interior Alaska. A major mammoth exhibit opened last month at the Anchorage Museum, giving visitors an intimate look at the prehistoric creatures. The exhibit features life-size models and skeletons, hands-on activities and some of the world’s oldest art. The centerpiece of the attraction, a 40,000-year-old intact baby mammoth specimen, is considered the best-preserved specimen of its kind. Mammoths and Mastodons: Titans of the Ice Age is open now through Oct. 6, 2011. For more information, visit www.AnchorageMuseum.org.
Media Contact:
Contact: Sarah Henning, Public Relations Coordinator

Phone: (907) 929-9231

Twitter: @AnchorageMuseum
E-mail: shenning@anchoragemuseum.org
URL: www.anchoragemuseum.org

Social Media Spotlight!

Not your average wildlife encounter, even by Alaska standards! Check out this remarkable video of one cyclist’s experience with nature – up close and personal! For Alaska wildlife viewing guides, including tips on the best places and times to view any of Alaska’s iconic wild animals, visit the Alaska Department of Fish and Game at www.adfg.alaska.gov.
Copyright © 2011 State of Alaska, All rights reserved.