June 27-July 3, 2006
$750

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

3 professional development (500 level) credits through UAA.

Experience the calving glaciers and towering granite fjords of Endicott Arm, part of the Tracy Arm Fords Terror Wilderness, southeast of Juneau. From kayaks, we’ll keep a safe distance from Harbor Seals having their pups on icebergs as we consider the effects of humans on sensitive marine mammals. On trail, we’ll study plant succession in a land reawakening from retreating glaciers. In between, we’ll discuss wilderness management decisions as varied as monitoring invasive plants to interpreting wilderness values for diverse audiences. Boats will be used to transport participants from Juneau, but we’ll paddle kayaks between remote campsites of Fords Terror and Dawes Glacier. Course led by Tim Lydon, Wilderness Manager for the U.S. Forest Service in Juneau, and a guide from Alaska Discovery.

Limited to ten participants.

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

Course Details and Itinerary

Students will experience glacial dynamics, harbor seal behavior and wilderness management during a six-day sea kayak expedition in the Tracy Arm-Fords Terror Wilderness Area on the Tongass National Forest. Boats will transport 10 students and two instructors to a remote location in Endicott Arm, fifty miles south of Juneau. The group will spend six days traveling by stable, double kayaks, moving camp most days. Students will experience a raw, recently deglaciated landscape, wildlife and camping near a tidewater glacier. They will assist with projects relating to wilderness management, including monitoring a harbor seal population during pupping season. Through the experiences, students will explore the history of wilderness preservation, modern wilderness management techniques and goals and methods of incorporating natural resource lesson plans into curriculums.

June 27, 5 PM – 8 PM: Orientation at Alaska Discovery Office in Juneau. Introduce course objectives and expectations. Safety presentations by instructors. Equipment evaluation and discussion.

June 28, 8 AM – 8 PM: Establish camp and introduce sea kayaking. Travel to vicinity of Fords Terror in Endicott Arm. Introduce and practice sea kayaking skills. Introduce natural history of the area and discuss personal definitions of wilderness.

June 29, 8 AM – 8 PM: Paddle to North Dawes Inlet (~15 miles paddling). Longest day of paddling. Students will hone paddling skills. Stopping places will be limited in size and number due to steep fiord walls. Camp will be dramatic outwash in recently deglaciated bay. Interactive discussions will focus on history of wilderness preservation, legal definitions of wilderness and conservation efforts by historical figures such as John Muir, who explored Endicott Arm in 1879.

June 30, 9 AM – 6 PM: Paddle to within one mile of Dawes Glacier, end of Endicott Arm (~8 miles paddling). Moderate day physically, but pushing against wind is possible. Participants will paddle through ice bergs in seal pupping habitat and learn the importance of avoiding disturbance to wildlife while enjoying wildlife viewing. Set camp on very recently deglaciated beach with unobstructed view to active tidewater glacier. Interactive discussions will focus on challenges to modern wilderness management, including heavy recreation, impacts to wildlife and other issues.

July 1, 9 AM – 7 PM: Half of group paddle one mile to hike recently deglaciated valley; half of group paddle two miles to assist in harbor seal monitoring project. Moderate paddling but moderate-to-strenuous hiking off trail. Half of the group will learn about plant succession following glacial retreat while hiking a remote valley unaltered by human activity. Remainder of students will hike to a seal-observation point 400 feet above the fiord through dense vegetation. They will make observations about seal numbers, behavior and habitat needs. Groups will rejoin in the afternoon. Discussions will center on our evolving definitions of wilderness and how Alaskan wilderness is relevant to wilderness preservation in the rest of the nation.

July 2, 9 AM – 7 PM: Half of group paddle one mile to hike recently deglaciated valley; half of group paddle two miles to assist in harbor seal monitoring project. Same as July 1, except the two groups switch destinations and activities. Evening activities include debriefing of the trip and explanations of individual project responsibilities.

July 3: Travel to pickup point at Dawes Inlet for transport back to Juneau by boat.

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

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