Outdoor Briefs

Posted: Friday, January 09, 2004

Volunteers needed for T-200

Tustumena 200 Sled Dog Race organizers will hold a volunteer orientation at 6 p.m. Jan. 24 at the Tustumena Lodge, Mile 111.5 of the Sterling Highway in Kasilof.

Anyone interested is invited to a taco dinner, with the orientation to follow. No experience is necessary, and there are opportunities to help throughout the race weekend, both inside and outside. The 200-mile race through the Caribou Hills is scheduled for Jan. 31 to Feb. 2.

For more information, contact race board president Roy Hoekema at 260-6490 or go to the race Web site at www.tustumena200.com.

Homer winter king tourney slated

The Homer Chamber of Commerce's 11th annual Winter King Salmon Tournament will be March 20.

More information on the event in Kach-emak Bay, will be available later this month and registration will begin in February. Information will be available by calling the chamber or commerce at (907) 235-7740 or by visiting the Web site at www.homeralaska.org.

Last year's tournament, in which 588 anglers participated, paid out more than $47,000 in cash prizes as well as additional fishing merchandise. Anglers caught 261 fish, with Soldotna's Greg Lindhartsen hooking the winner, a 28.58-pounder.

Fish stocking plan available

The Alaska Department of Fish and Game Sportfish Division plans to release more than 7 million fish into Alaska waters each year over the next five years. The stocking plan is in draft format and is ready for public review. The deadline for comment is Jan. 16.

The plan is posted on the Web at www.sf.adfg.state.ak.us/statewide/hatchery/stockingplan.cfm.

Comments may be directed to Diane Loopstra at (907) 267-2529 or e-mailed to diane_loopstra@fishgame.state.ak.us. Comments can be mailed to 333 Raspberry Road, Anchorage, AK 99518.

Lodge won't open in 2004

FAIRBANKS The Denali Wilderness Lodge, which began as a hunting camp in 1907, is the latest victim of the tourism slump in Alaska.

The remote lodge in the midst of some of the state's most spectacular scenery won't open for business in 2004. The lodge is located in the middle of the Alaska Range and for many years has catered to eco-tourists.

''It's a sad fallout from post-Sept. 11 travel patterns, poor economy and heavy discounting by the cruise industry,'' said Eric Downey, vice president of marketing for Denali Lodges. ''Unfortunately, it couldn't compete on a commercial scale with all of the other Denali properties in a poor market. When Alaska's tourism industry suffers, it's usually the small roadhouses, local restaurants and independent businesses that get harmed the most.''

To get to the lodge, visitors flew 25 minutes in a small airplane from the entrance area of Denali National Park and Preserve. The lodge consists of more than 20 log buildings, including a main lodge. Visitors could enjoy horseback riding, wildlife viewing and hiking in a spectacular setting. Hunting guide Lynn Castle bought the site in 1965, called it ''Wood River Lodge,'' and built most of the buildings that are there today. He changed the name to its present moniker when he decided to lure eco-tourists, instead of hunters.

The chalet-style home he built there in the late 1980s was once featured in Better Homes & Gardens magazine. The lodge also was the site of a boys' summer camp, ''Camp Grizzly,'' in the 1970s and 1980s.

Castle died in a plane crash in 1991 and the lodge has changed hands twice since then. Current owner Sham Idnani also owns Denali Backcountry Lodge in Kantishna and Denali Cabins in the McKinley Village area. Those establishments will be open in 2004.

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