December 1, 2010


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.

Want even more Alaska travel news, deals and tips?
Follow Alaska Travel News on Twitter @alaskatravlnews and on Facebook.


In this December Travel News Bulletin you will find:

1. Kodiak reopens prevalent bear viewing location
2. Sadie Cove wilderness resort wins global green award
3. Running with the Iditarod
4. Alaska’s national parks are just reaching their heyday
5. Top tweets of the month


1. Kodiak reopens prevalent bear viewing location

Next summer, a new program will place Kodiak Island visitors in the middle of one of the thickest concentrations of brown bears in the world. The O’Malley Bear Viewing Program will open an area of the Kodiak Wildlife Refuge on the island’s southwest side that has not been open to the public for 17 years. Travelers and wildlife photographers are no strangers to McNeil River and Brooks Camp in Katmai National Park and Preserve; the areas are known for boasting some of the best bear viewing in North America. The new O’Malley River area promises similar popularity, but unlike the McNeil and Brooks areas, there are no waterfalls at O’Malley, so the bears tend to spread out along the stream. At a minimum of a four-night stay, small guided groups of eight or less will be able to view the bears on a 12-foot-by-20-foot viewing platform to be built this summer. The 2-million-acre Kodiak Wildlife Refuge was established in 1941 to protect brown bears and other wildlife. It encompasses about two-thirds of Kodiak Island and is home to around 3,000 brown bears. For more information, visit www.kodiak.org.

Media information
Contact: Janet Buckingham, Kodiak Island Convention & Visitors Bureau 


Phone: (907) 486-4782
Twitter: @KodiakAlaska
E-mail: janet@kodiak.org
URL: www.kodiak.org


2. Sadie Cove wilderness resort wins global green award

Sadie Cove Wilderness Lodge was named the United States’ Leading Green Resort for the second year in a row at the World Travel Awards. Know as the “Oscars of travel awards,” the World Travel Awards acknowledges companies who deliver an excellent customer experience across all sectors of the global travel and tourism industry. Sadie Cove Wilderness Lodge is located 10 miles by boat from Homer on a privately owned, remote beach inside Kachemak Bay Stay Park, midway between the villages of Seldovia and Halibut Cove. The five handcrafted private guest cabins as well as a log cabin sauna and bathhouse, dining hall and lounge are all run on a non-polluting alternative energy system of wind and hydropower. Guests can enjoy hiking the private trails, sea kayaking, wildlife viewing, eco tours, fishing, bear viewing at nearby Katmai National Park and Preserve or relaxing in the serene atmosphere of Sadie Cove. Visitors to the lodge in 2011 (also the lodge’s 30th anniversary) can enjoy reduced rates reflective of 1981, the year Sadie Cove Wilderness Lodge opened. For more information, visit www.sadiecove.com.

Media information
Contact: Randi Iverson, Sadie Cover Wilderness Lodge


Phone: (907) 235-2350

E-mail: mail@sadiecove.com


URL: www.sadiecove.com


3. Running with the Iditarod

After the thrill of witnessing the ceremonial start or triumphant finish of the Iditarod Trail Sled Dog Race, the next great adventure is following the action along the trail. Based in Girdwood, Alaska Backcountry Access specializes in overnight Iditarod adventures that visit various checkpoints along the 1,150-mile race. Traveling by snowmobile, tracked truck and commercial air service, visitors can explore the Yukon River by snowshoe, watch as the leading teams come into the Ruby checkpoint, meet local families in the village of Galena and more, all while spending nights in comfortable lodges. The customizable Iditarod expeditions correspond with the beginning, middle or end of the Iditarod race, which starts on Saturday, March 5, 2011. Alaska Backcountry Access also offers tours highlighting skiing, dog sledding, snowmobiling, gold mining, snowshoeing and guided igloo camping. New in 2010 among its other summer adventures, a canyoneering tour takes travelers into the dry creek canyon of the Crow Creek Gold Mine for rappelling, prospecting and panning for gold. For more information, visit www.akback.com.

Media information
Contact: Andy Morrison, Alaska Backcountry Access, LLC.
Phone: (907) 783-3600
E-mail: andy@akback.com
URL: www.akback.com


4. Alaska’s national parks are just reaching their heyday

December marks the 30th anniversary of the creation of several of Alaska’s national parks. In 1980, congress established ten new national parks in Alaska including Wrangell-St. Elias National Park and Preserve—the nation’s largest—several remote parks and a few just a short drive or flight from Anchorage or Fairbanks. The parks, now entering their fourth decade, are better prepared than ever to host visitors and protect important parts of America’s heritage. A new visitor center in Kotzebue serves as a hub for the four park areas in Northwest Alaska, restoration work continues in Wrangell-St. Elias and trail work is ongoing in Denali National Park and Preserve. In 2010, the Alaska Marine Highway System added a new service route from Juneau to Gustavus, the gateway to Glacier Bay National Park and Preserve. One of the older parks, Katmai National Park and Preserve, is looking towards the centennial anniversary of the 1912 eruption of Novarupta, which changed the landscape of the region and led to the creation of the famed Valley of Ten Thousand Smokes, the reason the park was originally established. For more information, visit www.nps.gov/akso.

Media information
Contact: John Quinley, NPS/Northwest Arctic Heritage Center 

Phone: (907) 644-3512

Twitter: @AlaskaNPS
E-mail: john_quinley@nps.gov

URL: www.nps.gov/akso


5. Top tweets of the month

Don’t miss these and other Tweets displaying Alaska news, facts, photos and more by following @Alaskatravlnews on Twitter.

1. @HuffPostTravel features Tongass Nat'l Forest @Tongass_NF in #Alaska as 1 of 12 "Fantastic Forests Around the World" http://huff.to/do0kbB

2. Five reasons geocaching is fun for families http://bit.ly/aSH2nk and where to go in #Alaska http://bit.ly/W3ov (via @stephnoah @akonthego)

3. Did you catch #SPAlaska? Several #Alaska adventure lodges offer fishing excursions like that which the Palins went on: http://bit.ly/9qG4b1

4. @DenaliNPS launches blog @ park's historic dog kennel. Follow the dog-sled adventures + meet the pups: http://go.usa.gov/C99 via @AlaskaNPS )

5. The news is out...WE DID IT!! @earlyshowdave is coming to #Alaska with @theearlyshow. Thank you for all your support and votes!!