Outdoor Explorer

On “Outdoor Explorer” we invite you to step outside into Alaska. Follow us to a new trail or fishing hole, learn what to pack, when to go and most importantly, how to stay safe. Learn about life-long fitness and get inspired to go outside in the back country or on the bike trails.

We’ll hear from the people who know the land best – outdoor guides, park rangers, coaches, authors, lodge owners, bush pilots, educators and you, the explorer. Listen Thursdays at 2:00 & 8:00 pm on KSKA FM, streaming live at alaskapublic.org.

We’re looking for your show ideas! Please send your thoughts for upcoming shows to: bork@alaskapublic.org

Outdoor Explorer: “Running While Black: Finding Freedom in a Sport That Wasn’t Built for Us”

On this Outdoor Explorer we're joined by author Alison Mariella Dèsir. Her book unveils the running movement as being centered around and represented by White people, not only ignoring the foundational work and performances of Black distance runners but also not acknowledging that running while Black can be dangerous.

Movers and Shakers: Peg Tileston

Peg Tileston has been active in organizations including the Alaska Center for the Environment (now called the Alaska Center), the Alaska Women’s Environmental Network, the Alaska Conservation Foundation, the Alaska Water Resource Board, Trustees for Alaska, the Alaska and Alaska Common Ground. She has also been on the board of Chugach Electric Association, the Anchorage Parks and Recreation Council, and the Anchorage Recycling Task Force to name a few. She has received numerous awards including being inducted into the Alaska Women's Hall of Fame. Along the way she explored much of Alaska. She joins host Paul Twardock to discuss her many contributions and adventures.

Fireweed bike race returns this weekend

This 200-mile race makes its comeback this weekend taking riders from Sheep Mountain Lodge to Valdez! This week on Outdoor Explorer, we talk with president of the board of directors, Sara Wendling about all things race details and catch up with the a few members of the 1wheel1ders, a unicycle team that will be participating in this years race.

50 Years of Photography with Mark Kelley

People come to Alaska for a variety of reasons. Award-winning photographer Mark Kelley came with the hopes of meeting a whale, and almost 50 years later, he’s still here. On this episode of Outdoor Explorer host Martha Rosenstein and Kelley talk about the challenges of photographing wildlife in Alaska, turning his passion into a career and what it’s like to return to a special spot year after year to observe and photograph bears.

The Wanderer: An Alaska Wolf’s Final Journey

On this Outdoor Explorer, host Lisa Keller is joined by Tom Walker, author of the book "The Wanderer." In less than 6 months, Wolf 258 traversed almost 3000 miles in Alaska and Canada. His amazing journey, documented through his GPS tracking collar, is the subject of a story that mixes what we know about his movement with speculation on what he was doing during his travels.

Chugach Front Linkup 2023: New Peak, New Record

In March, Ben Americus accomplished many firsts on the Chugach Front Linkup: the first late winter completion, the first to ski off the peaks and the first to complete the Linkup since Ptarmigan Peak was added as the 13th summit over 5000 feet. This week on Outdoor Explorer Ben joins host Lisa Keller to talk about how he added his name to Chugach Front Linkup history.

Search and Rescue in Southcentral Alaska

Summer in Alaska brings a plethora of outdoor adventure opportunities. Boating, hiking, climbing, fishing, wildlife viewing, fishing, and hunting ramp up — and so do the calls for help. On this episode of Outdoor Explorer, host Paul Twardock speaks with representatives from various rescue groups to learn about what they do and how to avoid needing their help.

A Tongass Odyssey: John Schoen

John Schoen spent 20 years working for Alaska's Department of Fish and Game as a scientist studying Sitka black-tailed deer, mountain goats and brown bears in the Tongass National Forest. He is a wealth of knowledge for anyone interested in field science and conservation. John joins host Paul Twardock to discuss his fascinating career and memoir titled "Tongass Odyssey: Seeing the Forest Ecosystem Through the Politics of Trees, A Biologist's Memoir."

Breaking Trail: Arlene Blum

A few scientists and outdoor pioneers are studying and advocating for changes in the outdoor gear industry. Arlene Blum is one such person. Arlene is a groundbreaking mountaineer and scientist. She led the first all female ascent of Denali and Annapurna, and was the first American woman to attempt Mt Everest. While breaking stereotypes in the mountaineering world she did the same as a scientist, publishing research that led to the banning of toxic chemicals in children's pajamas for starters. Arlene is still at it working on "forever chemicals" (PFAS) that are found in the remotest parts of Alaska. Arlene and Pam Miller with Alaska Community Action on Toxics join host Paul Twardock to discuss Arlene's contributions to mountaineering and science.

Alaska Sports Hall of Fame

On this Outdoor Explorer our guest is Harlow Robinson, the executive director of Healthy Futures and the Alaska Sports Hall of Fame. On April 27, the Hall will induct the class of 2023. Harlow will tell us about the people, moment and event that comprise this year’s class, as well as the annual Director’s Awards and the popular 100 Miles in May.

Eating Disorders and Exercise Addiction

On this Outdoor Explorer, our guest is two-time Olympian and Licensed Professional Counselor, Holly Brooks. She recently released a documentary called “Winning at All Costs: Breaking the Silence on Athletes and Eating Disorders.” Her message to athletes of all ages and abilities is “You are more than your results, performance reviews and appearance.”
a trail being upgraded

Building Trails and Parks: The Importance of Landscape Architecture

April is World Landscape Architecture Month. While many of us might see a proposal for a new park or trail and then the construction work on the park or trail, what we don’t see is the immense amount of work that happens when an idea is first conceived. Landscape architects are the people who take an idea for a new park or trail and then make it a reality. On this show, guests include a landscape architect, a promoter of inclusive playgrounds, a trail advocate, and a parks and recreation director. They all work together to develop some of the most important resources in our communities, places we can gather, recreate safely, and connect with nature.
Map and Gear

Gearing up for Summer

The first migratory birds are showing up and bear tracks have been sighted in the Chugach. That means it's time to dust off the backpacks, boats, and tents and start planning for summer! Join host Paul Twardock and guests on this week's Outdoor Explorer to get a start on summer.

Outdoor Explorer: Onward and Upward helps kids through adventure and learning

There are many organizations dedicated to improving the quality of life of Alaska's youth. Many use the outdoors and nature to help kids overcome the challenges they face. Onward and Upward is a nonprofit based in the Mat-Su Valley and is one such organization. The group offers programs that use the concept of "one health" that incorporates adventure, challenge by choice, experiential learning and place based education while being sensitive to trauma. Randy Dowd, Executive Director and founder, and his staff join host Paul Twardock to discuss the programs they offer and benefits that youth receive from their program and ones like it.

Recreation on the Ballot

On this Outdoor Explorer we get walked through the recreation propositions on the upcoming Municipal election ballot. Beth Nordlund, from Anchorage Park Foundation, explains the Parks and Recreation bond, and Joe Connolly, from the Glen Alps Road Service Area Board of Supervisors, explains how Proposition 6 will improve access to Chugach State Park.

A Denali Himalaya connection

Denali and the Himalaya have attracted mountaineers since the early 1900s. Many climbers, including Alaskans, got their start on Denali's bitterly cold and windy slopes, then moved on to the Himalaya. This show features Steve Mock with the Denali Rescue Volunteers, the Alex Lowe Foundation, and the Khumbu Climbing Center.


On this week’s Outdoor Explorer, we’ll be talking about the disparate sports of rifle marksmanship and cross-country skiing that, when combined, create the sport of biathlon. Our guests will be Sara Studebaker-Hall and Zach Hall. Sara is the Director of Operations at TeamUSA Biathlon, and Zach is the Team Manager and Head Coach at the Soldier Hollow Olympic Legacy Program. They both have deep connections to Alaska; Zach grew up in Nikiski, and Sara was the UAA Ski Team’s assistant coach for several years. On this week’s show, Sara and Zach discuss the joys and tribulations of biathlon, the sport’s history, and how YOU can get involved in this unique and healthy sport!
Beth Bragg

The Story of Title IX Part 2

On this Outdoor Explorer we have the second part of a continuing series of stories about Title IX, the historic legislation passed 50 years ago that changed the landscape of women’s sports. We're joined by Beth Bragg, the now retired sports editor of the Anchorage Daily News, who had a front row seat to the change brought by Title IX.

The history of Kincaid Park

On this week’s Outdoor Explorer, we’ll talk about the development of the ski trail system at Kincaid Park with Jim Burkholder, who was a young school teacher at Dimond High School in the early 1970’s when he and other visionaries began cutting ski trails around Beercan Lake in Kincaid Park.

Alaska Ski for Women

The Alaska Ski for Women is one of the biggest women’s ski events in the World, and it’s happening in Anchorage on February 5th! This week on Outdoor Explorer, we’ll talk with founder Sally Burkholder, about its beginnings more than two decades ago. And we’ll also talk with Director Molly Mylius about this year’s event.