On Land

Solitude

Sean Rielly monitors a party of tourists on a misty morning. (Photo/Julie Denesha)

Until I spent a few days in the wilderness with Sean and Liz, I had a difficult time getting my head around the idea of monitoring the solitude of a place. When one is surrounded by the sounds of other humans, those sounds disappear. In wilderness areas, human sounds are amplified. The chugging of a […]

Keeping it Dry

Liz Gifford packs the team's gear in dry bags to keep out moisture.

Liz Gifford packs the team’s gear in dry bags to keep out moisture. Whether traveling on land or water, keeping gear dry in the Tongass is a challenge. Much of Southeast Alaska is considered a temperate rain forest, so precipitation of differing degrees of intensity┬ácan be counted on almost every day. In the battle against […]

Minimum Impact

Tongass Forest Rangers Iris Neary and Sean Rielly wash dishes on the beach.

Camping with forest rangers makes one completely rethink what it means to travel without leaving a trace. All packaging was either eliminated before we departed or packed out. Dishes were washed with rocks and sand below the tidal zone, so any stray bits of food would not be left to attract wildlife. Learning the rules […]

Bear Country

The snap of a rifle draws the attention of Liz Gifford, as she unloads supplies from her kayak.

The snap of a rifle draws the attention of Liz Gifford, as she unloads supplies from her kayak. Rangers have no desire to encounter bears on the trail. In wilderness areas where bears have little or no contact with humans, it is usually enough for rangers make noise to keep the bears at bay and […]

Forest Fruit

Liz Gifford displays a wild find. (Photo/Julie Denesha)

The paths around Sanford Cove, an old mining settlement, were covered with salmonberries. Forest Ranger Liz Gifford has a talent for discovering edible treats. She was thrilled by the size of these raspberry-like fruits. The wet climate of the Tongass provides the perfect environment for all things wild and berries are no exception.

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