Skip to main content


The Buried Forest of Alaska's Kruzof Island: a Window into the Past

Seldom does one find a way to directly date a prehistoric volcanic eruption, but 11-year-old Blake LaPerriere opened such a door for excited scientists in Southeast Alaska.

Last September, Blake, his parents, and his younger brothers were exploring a beach on southwestern Kruzof Island, part of the Tongass National Forest landscape and just west of Sitka, Alaska, where they live. Blake investigated a deeply incised creek behind a pile of beach drift where he found a standing burnt tree embedded in a tall bank of pumice. He brought it to his family’s attention, asking “Do you think that’s from a volcanic eruption a long time ago?”

Curious, Blake’s father Zach took photos and sent them my way.

Finding Common Ground for Salmon and Sitka Deer

What do wild Alaskan salmon and Sitka black-tailed deer have in common? Other than playing starring roles on many Alaskans’ favorite dinner menus, they also both thrive in forests with large open canopies of hardwood and conifers with thick plant undergrowth. Such characteristics exist in mature forests but not in clear-cut areas.

Historically rich in fish and wildlife species, the Starrigavan Creek watershed in Sitka, Alaska, was clear-cut about 40 years ago by the state of Alaska for timber production, impacting fish and wildlife habitat in this popular local recreation area.