June 5-11, 2006

In partnership with Discovery Southeast, Alaska Discovery, and the U.S. Forest Service.

3 professional development (500 level) credits through UAA.

Explore brown bear behavior and wilderness management issues by foot and by kayak in the heart of the Kootznoowoo Wilderness in the Tongass National Forest. We’ll travel by floatplane to Staunch Point base camp near the famous Pack Creek Bear Viewing Area. From there, we’ll day paddle to various bear habitats as we explore the needs and vulnerabilities of Alaska’s bears, the importance of wilderness protections, and wise management of human impacts. Kayaking experience not necessary. Participants should be in good physical condition with the ability to hike off-trail on slippery terrain.

Similar to the Crypto VIP Club in the trading industry, the camping club at the Kootznoowoo Wilderness intends to create awareness and a good understanding about the wilderness area in order to ensure it stays that way always. The program also intends to provide some great recreational opportunities without disturbing the natural ecosystems or manipulating it any ways. Some of the benefits of this area is that it provides clean air and water that is not altered by human presence.  

Course led by John Neary, Wilderness Field Manager on Admiralty Island National Monument for the U.S. Forest Service for the past 23 years. He’s led teacher training expeditions to Admiralty Island for 3 years.

Limited to ten participants.

Register for this course through our partner organization, Discovery Southeast, or call (907) 463-1500

Course Itinerary

June 5, 5 PM – 8 PM: Orientation at Alaska Discovery Office in Juneau. Introduce course objectives and expectations. Bear safety presentation by instructors. Equipment evaluation and discussion.

June 6, 8 AM – 8PM: Establish camp and introduce sea kayaking. Travel to Staunch Point, Admiralty Island by floatplane and establish camp. Introduce and practice sea kayaking skills. Paddle to Windfall Harbor to introduce bear natural history subjects.

Note: the order of the next 4 days (June 7-10) depend upon weather, tides and physical abilities:

Field Day 8 AM – 8 PM:Paddle to Swan Cove & back (~12 miles paddle, 1 mile easy walk). Longest day of paddling. Stop at Swan Island pond to discuss amphibian vulnerability and Swan Island cabin to discuss human structures in Wilderness. End at Swan Point, walk peninsula to find bear sign and human camps. Discuss bear hunting proposals.

Field Day 9 AM – 6 PM: Paddle to Pack Creek (~4 miles paddle, 3 miles easy walk). Easy day physically. Visit habituated bears at Pack Creek viewing area. Meet Forest Service and Fish and Game rangers for discussion of bear viewing management. Walk to viewing spit to see bears eating sedges. Walk to viewing tower to identify bear sign along trail. Discuss wilderness issues in tower as a group. Return to estuary and clam habitat.

Field Day, 9 AM – 7 PM: Paddle to Windfall Estuary (~8 miles paddle, 2 miles walk). Moderate day of paddling. Stop at Win-8 near Middle Creek to discuss commercial crab gear storage and commercial bear viewing operations and their compatibilities/conflicts with Wilderness management goals. Paddle to Windfall CCC shelter to discuss cultural resource management. Walk to estuary to review bear bedding and travel areas. Allow time for reflection and journaling on estuary. Group readings of wilderness writers.

Field Day, 8 AM – 7 PM: Hike in Windfall Harbor (~4 mile paddle, 3-5 mile challenging hike). Mostly hiking off trail to explore upland habitats and discuss appropriateness of trails in Wilderness. Group may be divided by hiking ability with one half doing a shorter exploratory hike near Middle Creek, and one-half on a longer, steeper ascent of a ridge.

June 11, 9 AM – noon: At camp, summarize trip objectives and results. Prepare for plane departure to Juneau.

Final paper/project due: two lesson plans due August 15

Register for this course through our partner organization, Discovery Southeast, or call (907) 463-1500