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

Youth downhill ski racing & raising Olympians

KSKA: Thursday, February 15, at 2 & 8 p.m. On the next Outdoor Explorer, we’re focusing on winter sports and, for all those Olympics junkies listening, the question on your mind, how do I get my kid on a Wheatie’s box? The best answer seems to be-- cool it. Those amazing elite athletes create themselves. We’ll learn from the people who know best, with tips on how parents can -- and should -- give kids the opportunity to get outside and compete. LISTEN HERE

Birds of prey

KSKA: Thursday, Feb. 22, at 2 & 8p.m. Birds of prey are much more than symbols, like the bald eagle, they’re with us as apex predators atop the food web. They’re inspiring in their fierceness and their amazing physical abilities, with their sharp claws and eyes, and they are among the most exiting birds to see in the wild. On the next Outdoor Explorer, join us as we focus on raptors, their natural history and care here in Alaska. LISTEN HERE

History of Chugach State Park

KSKA: Thursday, April 14, at 2pm. When you fly into Anchorage, what do you really notice? It's not the buildings or the roads, it's the mountains that take your breath away. It’s a gift, but it didn’t have to be that way. 50 years ago, the land we now call Chugach State Park was open for development. The reason we have a park now is because citizens got together and were bold enough to demand one. We’ll be talking about the history of the park and how it came into existence. DOWNLOAD AUDIO

Trail Tales, storytelling events from Alaska Trails

Alaska Trails is excited to present the Trail Tales storytelling series. With a new format and partnered with a different community trail group each time. ​In the spirit of Arctic Entries, storytellers will share seven minute stories about their trail experiences, adventures and life in general. Enjoy listening to your fellow active and outdoorsy Alaskans.
Mask by Joe Senungetuk

Nature and indigenous Alaskan art with Joe and Martha Senungetuk

Alaska Natives have been creating art influenced by nature and culture for thousands of years. The clothing, tools, kayaks, weapons, baskets and other items of everyday life and ceremony were, and are, functional and artistic. Joe and Martha Senungehtuck join host Paul Twardock to talk about their long lives of adventure and art in Alaska.

Revisiting the history of Anchorage’s trails and greenbelts

KSKA: Thursday, Nov. 9, at 2:00 p.m. On the next Outdoor Explorer, we're revisiting an episode that was dedicated to our city’s centennial. We’ll hear stories of how we built the greenbelts, bike and ski trails that are now the defining characteristics of Anchorage. Each of our three guests played a part in providing us with the spaces to get out, enjoy nature, and safely get to work or just some exercise. This episode first aired in June of 2015. LISTEN HERE

Hiking the Brooks Range

Ever wonder what it’s like to hike and packraft the Brooks Range? This week’s Outdoor Explorer features a series of field interviews with APU’s Dr. Roman Dial and his students as they studied tree growth while hiking the Brooks Range.

Outdoor Explorer: What makes an outdoor trip successful?

What makes an outdoor expedition successful? Most trips in the outdoors, whether one day or two weeks, are enjoyable and fun, that's why Alaskans, even on wet summers like this one, flock to the outdoors. But some outings turn into epics and even tragedy. On this Outdoor Explorer host Paul Twardock talks about what makes a good expedition happen with retired Denali Mountaineering ranger Daryl Miller and current South District Ranger for Denali National Park Tucker Chenoweth. They discuss what made some of their expeditions succeed despite life-threatening weather and what they've learned advising and observing expeditions on Denali.

Wheels on Ice: Cycling in Alaska 1898-2021

This Outdoor Explorer features the book "Wheels on Ice," a collection of stories from the gold rush to present day. The book is a compilation of stories edited by Jessica Cherry and the late Frank Soos. Jessica and author Andromeda Romano-Lax join host Paul Twardock to discuss the book and its stories.

Beachcombing and ocean currents

KSKA: Thursday, March 01, at 2 & 8 p.m. We're excited that we got to sit down with the guests on this week’s Outdoor Explorer to learn about the strange, circular ocean currents swirling around the North Pacific. These currents sometimes carry Asian debris to Alaska shores and, as we’ll hear, bring pieces of Alaska shipwrecks to Hawaii. We have a serious beachcomber and an oceanographer who used this information to change our view of how the ocean’s work. LISTEN HERE

Fishing Forecast

© Jim Lavrakas / Far North Photography Fishing season is approaching. We’ll find out what to expect in this year’s salmon runs. Last year was dreadful for kings, poor for silvers, and red hot for reds across Upper Cook Inlet. Do we know why? Will we see a repeat? And how do these predictions get made. KSKA: 5/16 at 2:00 pm and 7:00 pm Listen Now
woman holds book

Orienteering in and around Anchorage, Alaska

Orienteering is the sport of using a map and compass to navigate in the outdoors. On this Outdoor Explorer we feature orienteering with guests Olympian Scott Patterson, author Jen Jolliff, and Mike Robinson of the Arctic Orienteering club.

Fat bike and packraft adventurers

KSKA: Thursday, September 28, at 2:00p.m. On the next Outdoor Explorer, some real explorers. Bjorn Olsen and Kim McNett explored much of Alaska’s Arctic Ocean coast by fat bike and pack raft, and they brought back some great stories and insights. We’ll also talk about their trips on the Kenai Peninsula and how you can try out this fast and remarkably practical way of covering the backcountry by pedaling and paddling, and go to new, exciting places. LISTEN HERE
Neal Stanbury, Tui Stanbury, Leif Stanbury and Jodi Harskamp

Travel School: Parks of the northwest

On the next Outdoor Explorer, we will be joined by a family that took school on the road this winter. Jodi Harskamp and her husband Neal Stanbury, along with their children Tui and Leif and dog Nukka, traveled in their retrofitted truck to state and national parks across the lower 48 for a back to nature education.

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.

Learning about the solstice, Susitna River and gun safety

KSKA: Thursday, December 21, at 2:00 p.m. The next Outdoor Explorer is on the solstice, a truly outdoor event, as I try to really understand what happens in space to bring us the shortest day of the year. This will be your opportunity to hear me be confused as part of our celebration of the soon to be lengthening days. We’ll also be talking about protecting the Susitna River, winter diving, and safety with both guns and bear spray. LISTEN HERE

Polar bear science and culture

KSKA: Thursday, Feb. 2, at 2:00 p.m. The next Outdoor Explorer focuses on polar bears. Polar bears are a unique symbol of the Arctic and their ability to thrive on the sea ice is a testament to the power of nature. LISTEN NOW
economic impact

Talking about the economic impact of outdoor activities with Lee Hart of the Alaska Outdoor Alliance

On this Outdoor Explorer, our guest will be Lee Hart, Executive Director of Alaska Outdoor Alliance, an organization that advances the political and economic power of outdoor recreation in Alaska. The outdoor economy is an under- recognized economic driver in our state with the average Alaskan spending almost $5000 per year on outdoor gear and services.

Salmon fishing closures and restrictions

The Alaska Department of Fish and Game recently closed or restricted king salmon fishing for the coming season in the Susitna River and Little Susitna drainage, and cut commercial fishing in the northern Cook Inlet. The problem is not enough kings. On the next Outdoor Explorer, we’ll explore why this is happening and the impact of this decision, as king catches have sagged in various areas of the state for several years. Thanks for listening!

Stand Up Paddleboarding in Alaska

KSKA: Thursday, June 16, at 2:00 We love how people keep inventing new sports and Alaskans keep finding unique ways to do them. The next show is a great example, we're talking about stand up paddleboarding and paddleboard yoga. A paddleboard is essentially a surf board for calm water, but as you’ll learn, paddleboards now are being used in Alaskan rivers and in the ocean. Finally, at the end of the show, we’ll hear a hair raising story from our live outdoor explorer show a few weeks ago. DOWNLOAD AUDIO