13 Reasons to Visit Alaska’s Kenai Peninsula in 2013

 Reblogged from Princess Alaska Blog

Kenai Princess Wilderness Lodge on Bluff

Alaska’s Kenai Peninsula is the ideal destination for anyone wanting to experience the wonder and majesty of the Last Frontier. In honor of 2013, we’ve pulled our top 13 reasons to head to the Kenai Princess Wilderness Lodge this summer.

Flying fishing in Alaska

1 – The Kenai Peninsula may be best known as the home of the famed Russian River, where people from around the globe flock for what has been called some of the best salmon fishing in the world.  From sockeye to coho salmon as well as Dolly Varden and trout, the rivers flowing along the Kenai Peninsula are a fisherman’s paradise. From the Kenai Princess you can quickly get to the Russian River or even take a full- or half-day guided sportfishing trip along the less crowded Kenai River.

2 –You don’t have to pick one kind of fishing, though, when you are vacationing in Alaska. You can fish for everything from salmon to halibut with a saltwater/freshwater combo fishing trip out of Seward, which is located just an hour’s drive from the Kenai Princess Wilderness Lodge.

3– Just outside of Seward is where you will find one of the crown jewels of Alaska, Kenai Fjords National Park. Home of the Harding Icefield, from which flow nearly 40 glaciers, the park offers sight-seeing and adventure activities for travelers of any age.  Whether you opt for our Kenai Fjords National Park cruise or a long hike along the park’s well-maintained trails, Kenai Fjords is a must see for any visitor to the area.

mcogburn_russianriverbrowns.pdf

4 – With all the species of wildlife that call the Kenai Peninsula home, this could serve as all 13 reasons to visit the area; but we will try to keep our enthusiasm for Alaska’s majestic creatures at bay, at least for the purpose of this blog. From brown bears doing their own version of fishing along the Russian River to Bald Eagles flying overhead in Seward, the Kenai Peninsula offers a perfect chance to see a wide variety of wildlife in their natural habitat. For a more intimate wildlife experience, check out our full day Lake Clark Bear Camp excursion.

5 – Not all of Alaska’s beloved animals are in the wild, though, which is why Princess offers a chance to meet a local dog musher and spend quality time with her cute pack of canine athletes.  Dog mushing is, after all, the official state sport of Alaska.

Whale Tail

6 – For the 21-and-up crowd, the Kenai Peninsula offers the opportunity to visit and sample the goods at a number of local breweries. From Kassik’s Brewery in the town of Kenai to St. Elias Brewing Company and Kenai River Brewing Company just up the road in Soldotna, there is enough variety to tickle any beer lover’s fancy.

7 – Alaska’s history is deeply rooted in the Gold Rush. You can get a taste of history and try to hit it rich with a gold panning experience, which is fun for the entire family.

8 – Looking for a little more adventure? Try river rafting through the Kenai National Wildlife Refuge with a professional guide to help you navigate the Class II+ rapids while you take in the spectacular scenery along the way.

9 – Even if you don’t embark on your own floatplane adventure while in Alaska, you are sure to see plenty of them soaring overhead during your time in the 49th state, which boasts the highest number of licensed pilots per capita in the country. But, if you do feel like taking to the skies, Princess can help you become a pilot for a day, during which time you can get a bird’s eye view of the area’s natural beauty.

Horseback Riding Alaska

10 – On foot, by boat, in a plane – there are many different ways to see Alaska. But don’t forget the possibility of taking a ride on horseback along the trails near Cooper Landing. Just minutes from the Kenai Princess, this is the perfect way for animal lovers to experience the area’s stunning scenery.

11 – The Kenai Visitors and Cultural Center offers a look into the past and present of Kenai, Alaska, with a 10,000-square-foot facility featuring historical artifacts, wildlife exhibits, a museum store and many educational programs for those with a thirst for learning. Perhaps best of all is the Center’s Saturday Market, held in the parking lot every Saturday during the summer season. From fresh produce to baked goods to handcrafted items, the Kenai Saturday Market is the place to be for local fare this summer.

12 – You may not find too many people actually fishing at Salmonstock, but this spectacular music festival in Ninilchik, just a couple of hours away from the Kenai Princess, does celebrate and support Alaska salmon. Offering music, art, children’s activities, crafts and Alaska food and beer, Salmonstock 2013 will be held Aug. 2 – 4.

13 – Last but certainly not least on our list is the accessibility of the area. Less than two hours from Ted Stevens International Airport in Anchorage, the Kenai Princess Wilderness Lodge is easily accessible to travelers flying into the state’s largest airport

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Alaska reality shows shift from deadly jobs to simple survival

Published: May 8, 2013   |   By KYLE HOPKINS — khopkins@adn.com

  From left, Dallas Seavey, Willi Prittie, Tyrell Seavey and Brent Sass are among the cast members of the National Geographic channel's Ultimate Survival Alaska. Other cast members include Austin Manelick, Marty Raney, Tyler Johnson and Matt Raney.  Stewart Volland — National Geographic Channels/ St  Read more here: http://www.adn.com/2013/05/08/2895764/alaska-reality-shows-shift-from.html#storylink=cpy
 From left, Dallas Seavey, Willi Prittie, Tyrell Seavey and Brent Sass are among the cast members of the National Geographic channel’s Ultimate Survival Alaska. Other cast members include Austin Manelick, Marty Raney, Tyler Johnson and Matt Raney.

– Stewart Volland — National Geographic Channels/ St

By KYLE HOPKINS — khopkins@adn.com

Willi Prittie, who does not own a TV, plans to watch the premiere of his new National Geographic reality show at a fellow cast member’s house Sunday in Wasilla.

The series is called “Ultimate Survival Alaska” and — spoiler alert! — Prittie survives.

A 57-year-old Talkeetna climbing guide with a “Duck Dynasty” beard and a busy day job planning Mount McKinley expeditions, he isn’t sure what to expect when the first episode, titled “Arctic Hell,” airs at 9 p.m. on GCI channel 54 (in Anchorage).

“I still have my reservations about the whole TV end of it,” said Prittie, who suspects producers can make you say and do whatever they want through the magic of editing.

His misgivings about the nature of reality television aside, filming was a blast, he said. The cast of eight skookum outdoorsmen spent two months last fall hiking, canoeing and foraging their way across the state. The show also stars 2012 Iditarod Trail Sled Dog Race champion Dallas Seavey, Seavey’s brother Tyrell, and a mix of Alaska hunters and climbers.

The show is one of at least three new Alaska-based reality shows premiering this month on cable. Discovery Channel’s “Great Bear Stakeout” debuts at 8 p.m. Sunday, followed by the first episode of “Life Below Zero” at 9 p.m. on May 19 on National Geographic.

“Ultimate Survival Alaska” follows the recent shift in these gravel-voiced Last Frontier series from TV shows about dangerous jobs (“Deadliest Catch,” “Ice Road Truckers”) to survival-themed shows such as “Yukon Men” that feature people living and traveling in remote, roadless Alaska.

“Life Below Zero,” for example, follows the hardscrabble lives of families living in Noorvik and elsewhere above the Arctic Circle, according to National Geographic.

“Alaska breeds a resilient, self reliant sort of individual who, outside of Alaska, everyone fantasizes about being,” said Alan Eyres, senior vice president of programming and development for the cable network.

In “Ultimate Survival Alaska,” cast members travel 3,000 miles in a 10-stage expedition that begins in the Brooks Range and traces 200 miles of the Yukon River before heading to the Juneau ice cap. No GPS units, cell phones, watches or tents allowed.

“For the adventure, to get paid (a little) to go the places we did was impossible to turn down,” said Brent Sass, a Eureka musher and Yukon Quest veteran who finished 22nd in this year’s Iditarod.

In some ways, filming the show was tougher than either of Alaska’s 1,000-mile sled dog races, Sass said. “It was two and a half months long and that’s a long time to live underneath a tarp and get along with people you didn’t know before getting dropped off in the wilderness with them.”

The trip is not a race, and there was no prize for arriving first at the final checkpoint, though cast members were told they must complete each leg within 72 hours or risk being sent home. The tone of the show was inspired by the 1977 National Geographic special, “Yukon Passage,” about four men on a rambling trek along the Yukon River, Eyres said.

“There was something about that kind of simple spirit of adventure that we fell in love with,” he said.

The Survival cast members all live in Alaska, which made it easier to get hunting and fishing permits, according to the cable network. But Outside audiences who watch the show could be forgiven for thinking the only survival experts in Alaska are white guys with beards.

Asked why there were no women or Alaska Natives in the cast, Eyres said it wasn’t an intentional omission.

“If we do this again, that’s something that we want to correct,” he said.

Season two is in the works, he said, but not guaranteed.

Twitter updates: twitter.com/adn_kylehopkins. Call Kyle Hopkins at 257-4334 or email him at khopkins@adn.com.

Three new Alaska-based shows debut in May

‘The Great Bear Stakeout’

Discovery Channel

8 p.m. Sunday on GCI channel 56 (in Anchorage)

The pitch: “Discovery Channel invites viewers to connect with the lives, community and survival of Alaskan grizzly bears like never before.”

‘Ultimate Survival Alaska’

National Geographic Channel

9 p.m., Sunday on GCI channel 54 (in Anchorage)

The pitch: “Going head to head, eight men of a rare breed are about to take the ultimate test of survival in Arctic conditions that only National Geographic could inspire.”

‘Life Below Zero’

National Geographic Channel

9 p.m., May 19, on GCI channel 54

The pitch: “Explore the incredible lives of six Alaskans living off the land and off the grid in the country’s most vicious climate.”