Welcome to the State of Alaska Travel News Bulletin. The tourism office sends this out periodically to keep media up-to-date on Alaska tourism and travel news. Media are invited to call (800) 327-9372 www.TravelAlaska.com/media for more information.
February 1, 2013

In this February Travel News Bulletin you will find:

1. Alaska facilities update for 2013
2. Outfitter offers self-guided bear tours
3. New name for luxury small ship cruise line
4. Pilot for a day

1. Alaska facilities update for 2013

  • Ketchikan’s oldest and most central cruise ship pier will have a new look in 2013. The second phase of construction includes replacement of the current visitor information and tour center with a narrower facility that will improve vehicle and pedestrian flow on the busy port and new wooden dock and pilings with more durable concrete and steel. www.visit-ketchikan.com
  • The City of Wrangell announced a new portage trail for kayaks and canoes traveling near Wrangell Island. The Eastern Passage Paddle Craft Trail provides a convenient spot to launch or pull paddle craft while traversing the waters between the island and the mainland near the mouth of the Stikine River. www.wrangell.com
  • A new Huna Tribal House will be constructed along Bartlett Cove in Glacier Bay National Park and Preserve. The tribal house, which will be a replica of a Tlingit plank house, will be completed in stages over the next five years and visitors to Icy Strait Point or Hoonah can view the progress of the various elements being constructed. See a photo gallery here. www.nps.gov/glba/historyculture/huna-tribal-house-project.htm
  • Construction is underway on Kenai Fjords Wilderness Lodge, located on Fox Island. The 3,100-square-foot structure includes an expanded kitchen, allowing for a new culinary program by the island chef and a full bar. The eight waterfront cabins at the lodge were completely renovated in 2012, with custom furniture and fixtures. The lodge will be open to guests beginning May 31. www.kenaifjordslodge.com
  • The Tsaina Lodge, newly remodeled and opened for the 2012 winter season, is now offering lodging packages for the summer 2013 season. The packages include accommodations as well as access to a variety of outdoor activities in Thompson Pass. www.tsaina.com
  • The Matanuska-Susitna Borough opened a new world-class Nordic skiing facility in the Hatcher Pass area for the winter of 2012-13. The Government Peak Recreation Area officially opened in late December, boasting 3.5 miles of new trails designed by Olympic skier Bill Spencer. Future developments include a warming hut and a multi-purpose community center building. www.matsugov.us/projects/hatcherpass
  • The Valdez Museum recently introduced four new exhibits highlighting the history of the oil industry in the area, the lives and adventures of Alaska’s bush pilots and the fishing industry. The Alaska Native cultural and history displays have also been expanded. www.valdezmuseum.org
  • Adding to the 49th state’s list of Alaska breweries, the Seward Brewing Company recently opened its doors in the heart of downtown Seward. The brewery features breathtaking views of Resurrection Bay and currently offers a selection of handcrafted brews. www.sewardbrewingcompany.com
  • Alyeska Resort recently replaced Chair 4 with a new high-speed detachable quad chairlift, Ted’s Express. Already being used for the 2012-13 season, the chairlift greatly increases uphill skier capacity and takes off about 10 minutes per lap. www.alyeskaresort.com
  • The Alaska Wildlife Conservation Center in Portage completed the first phase of its newest program, the Bear Education Awareness Research Sanctuary (BEARS), with the completion of an elevated boardwalk along Black Bear Mountain in the bear enclosure. www.alaskawildlife.org
  • Pike's Waterfront Lodge in Fairbanks has continued to enhance the amenities offered at the lodge, including an updated and expanded exercise room with more equipment, a new business center and a boarding pass printer. www.pikeslodge.com
  • Regency Fairbanks Hotel has under gone a large guestroom remodel in 2013 with upgraded flooring and bathrooms. Units with kitchens have also been updated with new equipment and cabinetry. www.regencyfairbankshotel.com
Far North:
  • In addition to the rustic cabins and rooms already available for guests, the Akau Alaska Gold and Resort has nearly completed two more cabins for the 2013 summer season, with activities including gold prospecting, wildlife viewing and fishing. www.akaugold.com

2. Outfitter offers self-guided bear tours
Juneau’s Pack Creek Outfitters offers do-it-yourself camping and sea kayaking trips to Pack Creek Zoological Area on Windfall Island. Guests can spend three or more days exploring the old growth forest in the Tongass National Forest while watching for wildlife on land and in the water. The Pack Creek Zoological Area is located just one mile from the Pack Creek Bear Sanctuary where a viewing estuary and observation tower act as a gateway for viewing the large numbers of brown bears on Admiralty Island. The trip includes sea kayak rentals, some camping equipment, round-trip floatplane transportation from Juneau and an information packet on where to camp and how to explore Pack Creek and surrounding areas.
Media Contact:
Ken Leghorn, Pack Creek Outfitters
Email: ken@packcreekoutfitters.com
Phone: 907-957-2488

3. New name for luxury small ship cruise line
InnerSea Discoveries/American Safari Cruises officially changed its name to Un-Cruise Adventures to kick off the 2013 season. The cruise line has seven boats that carry a range of 22 to 88 guests to Alaska, Mexico, Hawaii, British Columbia and coastal Washington and Columbia and Snake Rivers. Along with the new name, Un-Cruise Adventures is introducing a new cruise ship in August, the 88-guest S.S. Legacy, which will sail two 11-night Gold Rush Legacy cruises between Seattle and Juneau. The replica Victorian steamer features a Heritage Adventure program, which combines on-board presentations with tours ashore. The ship will visit various historic ports including Ketchikan, Juneau, Sitka, Wrangell and Skagway, among others, along the route and include a tour in each town, consisting of guided visits to museums and historical sites.

Media Contact:
Sarah Scoltock, Un-Cruise Adventures
Email: sarahs@innerseadiscoveries.com
Phone: 206-838-9491
URL: www.un-cruise.com
Facebook: Un-Cruise Adventures
Twitter: @UnCruise

4. Pilot for a day
Anchorage-based Rust’s Flying Service is kicking off 2013 with the introduction of the Pilot for a Day tour. This on-demand adventure allows for groups of up to four to create a six-hour, completely customizable flightseeing trip, with the help of an experienced Rust’s pilot. Rust’s Flying Service recommends three different itineraries for this tour, all departing from Anchorage. From there, guests can choose to fly north to view Mount McKinley and land on a remote wilderness lake for a short hike; or they can travel out to Prince William Sound to view the Skilak Glacier, tour the Harding Ice Field and land in a remote shore side location for lunch; or head west to Lake Clark National Park and Preserve, land in the lakeside community of Port Allsworth, visit the homestead of Alaska pioneer Dick Proenneke in Twin Lakes and fly through Merrill Pass in the Alaska Range.
Media Contact:
Deborah Hansen
Phone: 907-830-5096
Email: Deborah.L.Hansen@gmail.com
Facebook: Rust's Flying Service
URL: www.flyrusts.com



Social Media Spotlight

 Alaska winter festivals & events

Alaskans across the state are excited for the return of warmer temperatures and sunlight and celebrate with a variety of winter events around the state. Just a few examples include: the famous and historic Iditarod Trail Sled Dog Race from Willow to Nome beginning March 3; Anchorage’s Fur Rendezvous winter carnival (Fur Rondy) from Feb. 22–March 3; Fairbanks’ BP World Ice Art Championships opening Feb. 26 and running through March 31; and Juneau’s 39th annual Alaska Folk Festival April 8–14.
Readers can track each event by following:
Iditarod Trail Sled Dog Race
Website: www.iditarod.com
Facebook: Iditarod Trail Committee
Twitter: Iditarod Insider
Fur Rondy
Website: furrondy.net
Facebook: Anchorage Fur Rendezvous
Twitter: OfficialRondyAK
BP World Ice Art Championships
Website: icealaska.com
Facebook: Ice Alaska
Twitter: icealaska
Alaska Folk Festival
Website: www.akfolkfest.org
Facebook: Alaska Folk Festival


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