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Old 02-03-2018, 11:18 AM
 
4 posts, read 2,779 times
Reputation: 20

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Hey everyone,

New to the forum, though I have been lurking around this site for a little while. I was recently offered a seasonal position this summer with the Forest Service, and am looking to gain a little more info on life in Wrangell, AK. Especially from the months of about May to end of October. I recently lived and worked in Grand Teton National Park in Wyoming, though I am originally from and currently living in Northern Minnesota. I have never been to Alaska, however it has always been a dream of mine. This sounds like the opportunity of a lifetime for me to experience Alaska. I am also a hobbyist landscape and wildlife photographer. Which leads me to my curiosity of the abundance of wildlife on Wrangell Island. I have heard about the Anan Wildlife Observatory, and am aware of the bear populations that exist. What other species are abundant in this area? How often are moose or wolves seen? I have done my research and have found quite the info about much of this beautiful Alaskan town, and seem to be finding more pros than cons to move to this area specifically. I will also be spending about a third of the season up in Petersburg, AK for work. That also seems like quite the place to experience. I am a well seasoned outdoorsman who is quite accustomed to our -20 degree winters (even colder at times). So the cooler and rainy climate of Southeast Alaska definitely doesn't bother me.

Anyways, if anyone from the Wrangell area, or whoever has been could share a little more info with me about the area...and could convince me to not pursue other job opportunities could chime in, that would be much appreciated.

Alex
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Old 02-03-2018, 01:50 PM
 
Location: Anchorage
841 posts, read 609,996 times
Reputation: 911
It's Alaska. Go for it! If you don't like it you have only lost one summer. Buy quality rain gear and boots and lots of chips for the camera and lots of bug dope.
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Old 02-04-2018, 05:29 PM
 
Location: on the wind
4,124 posts, read 1,535,580 times
Reputation: 14724
You'll enjoy it...Wrangell area is beautiful outside town. You may feel its harder to get out to the places you want to recreate in...ground access here is more limited than people from down south expect. Yes, it will be wet, it will be buggy, but that's just life. Prepare for it and forget it. You may find those DEET alternatives don't cut it when its bad, so have the real stuff along. A headnet is nice to have if you are just sitting someplace quietly.

Wolves...probably rare to spot. Black bears (and color phases such as cinnamon, possibly "blue" or glacier) and moose probably fairly common. Tiny coastal blacktail deer instead of whitetails. Maybe mountain goats up on ridges. Bald eagles and ravens everywhere, magpies, Steller jays instead of the blue jay. Lots of coastal life; marine mammals including harbor seal, Steller sea lion, harbor porpoise, orca, humpback whale, minke whale, sea otter, river otter, mink, marten, all sorts of colonial nesting seabirds; murrelets, guillemots, murres, puffins, also loons, many different sea ducks. Porcupine, coyotes.

You will want to do whatever you can to protect your camera gear from the wet because it WILL be wet as soon as you get into the bush. Polarizing filters for water surface glare. Buy a set of lightweight raingear for "dress" and a heavy duty sacrificial set for work....but the USFS may provide it, don't know. XtraTuff boots are sort of the uniform, but they don't work best for everyone especially if you have less than perfect feet. Still, they seem to be the best anti-slip on decks, boardwalks, etc. You will need several pairs of felt insoles for the boots. Switch them out daily or they'll stink. Have fun!
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Old 02-06-2018, 01:17 AM
 
4 posts, read 2,779 times
Reputation: 20
Quote:
Originally Posted by Music_Man View Post
It's Alaska. Go for it! If you don't like it you have only lost one summer. Buy quality rain gear and boots and lots of chips for the camera and lots of bug dope.
Good advice...be hard not to enjoy living and working in an amazing place I have always wanted to visit!

Quote:
Originally Posted by AllisonHB View Post
You'll enjoy it...Wrangell area is beautiful outside town. You may feel its harder to get out to the places you want to recreate in...ground access here is more limited than people from down south expect. Yes, it will be wet, it will be buggy, but that's just life. Prepare for it and forget it. You may find those DEET alternatives don't cut it when its bad, so have the real stuff along. A headnet is nice to have if you are just sitting someplace quietly.

Wolves...probably rare to spot. Black bears (and color phases such as cinnamon, possibly "blue" or glacier) and moose probably fairly common. Tiny coastal blacktail deer instead of whitetails. Maybe mountain goats up on ridges. Bald eagles and ravens everywhere, magpies, Steller jays instead of the blue jay. Lots of coastal life; marine mammals including harbor seal, Steller sea lion, harbor porpoise, orca, humpback whale, minke whale, sea otter, river otter, mink, marten, all sorts of colonial nesting seabirds; murrelets, guillemots, murres, puffins, also loons, many different sea ducks. Porcupine, coyotes.

You will want to do whatever you can to protect your camera gear from the wet because it WILL be wet as soon as you get into the bush. Polarizing filters for water surface glare. Buy a set of lightweight raingear for "dress" and a heavy duty sacrificial set for work....but the USFS may provide it, don't know. XtraTuff boots are sort of the uniform, but they don't work best for everyone especially if you have less than perfect feet. Still, they seem to be the best anti-slip on decks, boardwalks, etc. You will need several pairs of felt insoles for the boots. Switch them out daily or they'll stink. Have fun!
You have definitely provided me with more information than I have found in my research for the areas I will be living and working in! I am definitely well informed on the more limited means of access to most of Alaska, and that definitely doesn't bother me one bit. I see just coming up there an adventure and a half in itself! I basically grew up recreating in the outdoors of northern Minnesota. We have well over a thousand lakes within an hour radius of my home, so mosquitoes are no stranger to me! I am definitely well accustomed to living and working in all types of weather conditions, at high elevation, heat, cold, etc.

Alaska sounds like a dream come true. Good info on the species of wildlife - we have a healthy population of 2,000+ wolves in Minnesota which are definitely a rare sight, but are pretty awesome to see. I saw plenty of moose when I was out in the northern rocky mountains in Wyoming, and I even had a couple cool encounters this last fall in MN. The Anan Wildlife Observatory is definitely on my list - I had some awesome black and brown bear encounters out west as well. I live for the adventure that comes with going off to amazing places in the country. The coastal life will be quite the change of scenery for me, but I can't wait to experience seeing those marine species!

Also thanks for the tip on my camera gear. I spend a ton of time outside with my camera each season of the year. My last outing, I was shooting in about -30 degree Fahrenheit weather. Weather sealed camera bodies and lenses sure pay off when constantly exposed to changing weather conditions. I'll have to seek out some quality raingear, depending on what's provided to me. That's the second time I've heard the XtraTuff boot mention as well, seems to be the norm!
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Old 02-06-2018, 11:34 AM
 
Location: Whidbey Island, WA
11,970 posts, read 10,762,630 times
Reputation: 5856
Just met a family from Wrangell...lived there all their life. They love it. Friendly and chill.
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Old 02-06-2018, 09:53 PM
 
Location: on the wind
4,124 posts, read 1,535,580 times
Reputation: 14724
Quote:
Originally Posted by Minnesota_Fisherman94 View Post
That's the second time I've heard the XtraTuff boot mention as well, seems to be the norm!
XtraTuffs have evolved. They used to be made from pretty tough rubber that held up longer and protected your feet, but now they are some sort of cheap Neoprene. No support and they develop holes pretty quickly where they chafe. Hardly ever wear them if I can avoid it (but sometimes you feel out of sync if you don't wear them to a local dance, potluck, parade, bar, eatery, or neighbor's movie night). But, that flexy grippy sole works the best on boat decks and slimy wooden boardwalks. Stiffer-soled boots just don't. Nowadays people use more than a simple black Sharpie to label the rim so they can pull them out of two dozen identical boots piled on the neighbor's porch.
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Old 02-06-2018, 10:04 PM
 
20,419 posts, read 26,544,024 times
Reputation: 13114
Romeo deck shoes are designed to mold to the shape of your feet. Get those instead. Xtra tuffs are nouveau Alaska junk. I have a pair laying in my ditch where I threw them awhile back after I busted my ankle.

No Xtra Tuffs here:

http://www.b2b.seamar.com/index.htm

Last edited by Metlakatla; 02-06-2018 at 10:19 PM..
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Old 02-07-2018, 08:15 AM
 
Location: Alexander Archipelago
2,803 posts, read 1,496,333 times
Reputation: 2750
Quote:
Originally Posted by Minnesota_Fisherman94 View Post
..I basically grew up recreating in the outdoors of northern Minnesota. We have well over a thousand lakes within an hour radius of my home, so mosquitoes are no stranger to me!..
My father came from northern Wisconsin/Minnesota to take a forest service job in Juneau in the early 60's.

He was an avid hunter/outdoorsman and this move was a dream come true for him. Never had any interest of living elsewhere after that-except during his senior years.

I don't particularly care for the winter months, so your schedule of May to October sounds better to me.

Extra Tuffs have been around for at least half a century. Back in the 60's/70's they were about the only player in the waterproof footwear market. They're great for times when you'll be stepping through muskeg or shallow water, but otherwise there are now much better options for just walking about town or trails. Basically, any waterproof footwear choice will be superior to them for comfort and support.

For short walks such as 15-20 minutes, regular old non waterproof athletic shoes work just fine for me in the typically damp, drizzle conditions.

I suppose you've read this recent thread on Wrangell: Looking for Info on Wrangell( utilities, heating, etc)
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Old 02-07-2018, 01:51 PM
 
20,419 posts, read 26,544,024 times
Reputation: 13114
Xtra tuffs have been around awhile, but wearing them everywhere and considering them part of an Alaskan uniform is relatively new. They're made in China now and probably a lot different than in your father's time.

Anyway, OP, that area's pretty nice and you'll probably like it. You'll find lots to photograph; the sunsets last for a couple of hours in SE are often pretty spectacular.

Last edited by Metlakatla; 02-07-2018 at 02:06 PM..
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Old 02-07-2018, 06:08 PM
 
1,678 posts, read 3,081,920 times
Reputation: 3962
Befriend somebody with a boat.
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