Andy Hutchins: The early 21st century will be... →
The early 21st century will be remembered by many images: Twitter avatars, Instagram pictures, and gifs are a few that quickly come to mind. But the mug shot is fast becoming one of the most relevant graphics of modern culture. Thanks to lenient public-records laws, a vengeful justice system, …
Dirty Jobs with Ranger Travis
My last day at the glacier included helping my supervisor carry a very dead, half-eaten salmon away from the trail. A fitting finale.
Bears and People at Mendenhall Glacier: Part I
Part I of an occasional series Bear management is a constant challenge at Mendenhall - and a featured attraction. By an accident of geography and ecology, the Mendenhall Glacier Visitor Center’s visitor facilities sit precisely astride a major movement corridor for black bears, as they travel from the ridge line of Thunder Mountain behind the center down to the Steep Creek riparian...
There was a visitor fatality yesterday on...
Late in the afternoon, I was called upstairs in the Visitor Center to keep an eye on a potential rescue situation. With a spotting scope, I observed two kayakers hauled out on an iceberg in the middle of Mendenhall Lake, with their kayak adrift next to the berg. They both began waving frantically, and I radioed to our supervisor that the group was clearly in distress and in need of assistance. ...
Adventures in Moderating A Limited Public Forum
In my previous life as a journalist, I went through a course on media law, and had plenty of practical experience in the rights and wrongs of the First Amendment. I never thought that would come in handy as a park ranger. In the visitor center, we have a new exhibit that invites visitors to share their concerns and solutions about anthropogenic climate change. We encourage folks to write messages...
One more thing...
Prospect Sierra School (then just plain old Sierra) is where I first laid hands on a computer… and it’s where I learned, through the years, how the same Apple box that allowed me to die of dysentery on the Oregon Trail and track down Carmen Sandiego could also let me draw (KidPix!), write, research (remember CD-ROM encyclopedias?) and explore. Later on, I became a full-on Mac geek,...
I’ve used Apple products for a quarter-century… my kindergarten classroom had a bank of Apple IIgs machines where I played Number Munchers and Oregon Trail. Apple has helped me dream, learn, explore, create and do magic ever since. When I heard the news, I was sitting in a graduate school classroom learning about the philosophy of recreation… with a MacBook Pro on my desk....
The Reason Why
It’s my last day at Mendenhall Glacier for the season. Just today, about 25 visitors have taken the time to come up and thank me - “informative,” “interesting,” “awesome,” “great talk” and the like. It’s not just me, of course - it’s our whole team. But it’s nice to know that I made someone’s day just a little...
Me? A ranger? NO WAI!
Seriously. Never in my wildest dreams did I ever think I’d be a park ranger. I keep unconsciously staring at my badge and looking myself up on the Forest Service online employee directory just to tell myself that yes, it’s real. One year ago today, I had a freshly-minted journalism degree from the University of Idaho, one month’s rent left in the bank from my summer internship...
Open Letter To Anyone Who Asks Me A Political...
Yes, I know you’re dying to know what I think of Sarah Palin or whether Obama should drill more oil wells in Alaska or whether he’s a lunatic socialist Muslim usurper. If you haven’t noticed, I’m an on-duty federal civil servant wearing the uniform and badge of a federal agency. I am legally prohibited from giving you my opinion on any political issue, even if I wanted to...
Why is the ice blue?
Number of times I answered the question “Why is the ice blue?” today: 17.
Chapter I - The Phone Call That Wouldn't End
On Sunday, I was working the information desk when the main visitor center phone rang. Picked up, and on the other end was a very sweet woman seeking information about how to get to the glacier. I helped her sort out the transit and taxi options. But then, she wanted to find out what was on the way to the glacier. And what she could do in downtown Juneau. And where she should eat. And what was...