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

Exploring the Chugach

The Chugach Mountains form Anchorage’s scenic skyline.  While during the summer the trail heads are full of people and access is easy. Winter is a different story.  For quiet and solitude a winter week day in the almost 500,000 acre Chugach State Park is hard to beat.  On this week’s show we’ll be talking about exploring the Chugach Mountains in the winter.  Thanks for listening!
Red coronaviruses float around

Returning to activity after a Covid infection

On this Outdoor Explorer, the journey back to activity after a Covid infection. Our guests will include the team physician for the University of Washington football team who has been researching the impacts of Covid on athletes, a physical therapist who treats post-Covid breathing issues, and an Ironman athlete who has had his season turned upside down.

LISTEN: Exploring the fascinating (and sometimes restricted) wild areas on Anchorage’s eastern border

On the northeast side of Anchorage, at the base of the Chugach, is a heavily restricted area that requires a pass to enter. The residents of Scenic Foothills have long considered this area to be their playground, with access to trails and peaks and an abundance of charismatic wildlife.

Scuba Diving

If you love the ocean, Alaska’s waters offer a fascinating world to explore as a diver. On the next Outdoor Explorer, we’re headed under water with three Alaska scuba divers to hear about the sport and what it's like here in Alaska. KSKA: Thursday, March 19, at 2:00 and 9:00 p.m. Listen Now:

Animal rescue

KSKA: Thursday, May 18, at 2:00 p.m. What do you do if you find an injured animal in the wild? If it’s a bird or a seal, there may be hope for a rescue. We’ll be traveling to the Alaska SeaLife Center, where marine mammals and birds are nursed back to health, and Bird TLC, a center for injured avians here in Anchorage. LISTEN HERE

Trapping in Alaska

When Russians first came to Alaska in the 1740s, they were seeking fur, and fur-bearing animals were an important element of Alaska's economy for more than 200 years. Today, Alaska still has thousands of trappers, both those who make a living at it and those who do it for fun. On the next Outdoor Explorer, we'll hear more about an activity as old as Alaska itself. KSKA: Thursday, Feb. 5, at 2:00 and 9:00 p.m. Listen Now:

Crow Pass History

The Crow Pass trail leads from the Girdwood Valley to Eagle River. It’s a great backpacking route, and also a historic portion of the Iditarod Trail that led from Seward to mines in the Interior. What you might not know is that the trail was rebuilt in the 1970s with girl scout labor.We’ll learn about the Crow Pass trail in history and meet a former girl scout who helped remake the trail 40 years ago. KSKA: Thursday 11/7 at 2:00 and 9:00 pm Listen Now
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Beluga whale count

KSKA: Thursday, September 21, at 2:00p.m. For the next Outdoor Explorer, Charles joined the beluga count, when more than 12-hundred people gathered at viewing sites around Cook Inlet and made 260 sightings of whales. Citizen scientists recorded the location of pods, their movements, and even the identity of individual whales. The main thing about the day was being outdoors in the sun with a lot of other people who love this place and were eager to learn more about these magnificent animals. LISTEN HERE

Shooting Champions

KSKA: Thursday, Dec. 01, at 2:00 p.m. Alaska produces some of the world’s best shooters, and two of them join us on the next show. These are athletes with shotguns who can perform incredible feats of concentration, blasting clay targets out of the sky with consistency that no one else on Earth can match. Like other elite athletes, these shooters have something special, in their case a level of concentration and calm that is hard to imagine. LISTEN NOW

Outdoors and activism

On the next Outdoor Explorer, we have an interview with one of the world’s top professional snowboarders, Jeremy Jones, who has made more than 50 films about his exploits in Alaska alone. But that’s not all Jeremy is about anymore. As he saw winter eroding, he has become an activist to do something about climate change, and recruited other top skiing and boarding pros to become activists as well. Thanks for listening!

Aviation Safety

KSKA: Thursday, April 07, at 2pm and Thursday, April 14 at 8pm In Alaska, we rely on air taxis and private pilots to go hunting, hiking, floating and to climb mountains. If you’ve been doing that long enough, you’ve been on some scary flights, as I certainly have. But for some reason we don’t talk about that much, or about the people who have died, as if we thought we couldn’t do anything about it. On the next show we are having that talk.
Christine Byl

Dirt Work

Have you ever thought you needed to live in a yurt off the grid in order to be more connected to nature? This week on Outdoor Explorer our guest is author Chri/stine Byl. We discuss how you have to be a beginner in order to become an expert and misconceptions around what being more connected to nature actually means.
Tony Perelli and Becky King with morels

Gathering and foraging in Alaska

Late summer and fall are the time for picking blueberries, hunting for mushrooms, and getting ready for winter. Gathering edible berries and plants has many benefits besides their great taste. Jackie Qataliña, Tony Perelli, and Dana Diehl join me, your host Paul Twardock, to discuss what their favorite edible and medicinal plants and mushrooms are, their uses, the physical and emotional benefits of foraging, and ethical considerations.
Bear catching fish Alaska News Nightly

McNeil River Bears

KSKA: Thursday, April 27, at 2:00 p.m. In a state with so much wildlife and wilderness, there is one place that is legendary for a most extraordinary bear-viewing experience: McNeil River State Game Sanctuary and Refuge. The sanctuary is celebrating it's 50th anniversary, so we invited in some experts who have spent the most time there to learn how this amazing opportunity came to be and what it's like to spend time with the bears. LISTEN HERE
trail crew

Youth Employment in Parks

Youth Employment in Parks offers Anchorage High Schoolers the opportunity to work on trails and parks in Anchorage. Host Paul Twardock visits a trail crew at University Lake to learn about the program
sled, sledding, dogs

Dog training

In Alaska, dogs can be team members with mushers and also with hunters, using their abilities to extend our own. But first, someone has to let the animals know how to do those jobs. Judging by the dogs we've seen around Anchorage, many of us are not very good at training-- but our guests on the next show are. They work with upland hunting dogs and sled dogs to create an effective dog/human team. Thanks for listening!
Aaron Leggett

The First People in what is now Chugach State Park

In this Outdoor Explorer, we will learn about the First People in what is now Chugach State Park. My guest will be Aaron Leggett, Senior Curator of Alaska History & Indigenous Culture at the Anchorage Museum and President of the Tribal Council of the Native Village of Eklutna.

Erin McKittrick and her Cook Inlet trek

KSKA: Thursday, July 27, at 2:00p.m. The next Outdoor Explorer comes from a yurt in Seldovia, Alaska. We met with adventurer Erin McKittrick to talk about a journey she made with her young children, and husband Hig, around Cook Inlet on foot and by pack raft. It’s the region where we live, but can remain hidden from most of us, with 100s of miles of beaches that rarely have a human footprint. We’ll also learn how they raise their backwoods family in such a dynamic, yet modern Alaska. LISTEN HERE

Foraging for Edible Foods in AK

KSKA: Thursday, September 01, at 2:00 and Thursday, September 08, at 8:00 p.m. Alaska may not be a huge farming state, but it is full of food, and not only for meat eaters. The woods and beaches are rich in edible plants and fungus that can be delicious and not difficult to find. As we’re going to learn on the next show, many of Alaska’s edible plants are extremely common and preparation is easy. LISTEN NOW

Smart & Solo

This week on Outdoor Explorer, we'll be talking with Randell Carlton Green, author of the recently-published travel book, "Smart & Solo: The Blueprint for Efficient & Enjoyable Solo Travel". We'll be discussing ways to minimize the discomfort and maximize the fun and personal growth that comes from traveling solo, anywhere in the world.