A wide range of trips throughout Southcentral Alaska.
Fairbanks: 41°/65°/Mostly cloudy
Juneau: 41°/67°/Intermittent clouds
The round-rumped grizzly bear ambled toward us, and I swallowed a scream and the urge to run. It had 6 million acres of Denali National Park and Preserve wilderness in which to roam, yet somehow this bear had managed to find my backpacking partner and me, alone on the Savage River.
On and off the road system, Alaska is dotted with cities, towns and villages that give the state its real character.
Luck struck around 6:30 a.m. Sunday -- less than nine hours before the end of the 10-day Slam'n Salm'n derby -- when Robert Hayes hooked a 40.97-pound king salmon that made him the winner.
Summer solstice marked the beginning of the warm season last week, but two Anchorage fly-fishermen discovered Monday morning that winter still lingers deep in the Chugach Mountains.
Bristol Bay town is center for fishing and other outdoors activities
Dillingham, Alaska, sits at the extreme northern end of Nushagak Bay in northern Bristol Bay, at the confluence of the Wood and Nushagak rivers, 327 miles southwest of Anchorage.
Traditionally a Native area with Russian influences, Dillingham is now a highly mixed population of non-Natives and Natives. Dillingham has about 2,500 residents; three of every five are wholly or partly Native.
The outstanding commercial fishing opportunities in the Bristol Bay area are the focus of the local culture. The city is the economic, transportation and public service center for western Bristol Bay. Commercial fishing, fish processing, cold storage and support of the fishing industry are the primary activities; 269 residents hold commercial fishing permits. During spring and summer, the population doubles.
The city is a way station for anglers, hunters, kayakers and birders heading into Togiak National Wildlife Refuge and Wood-Tikchik State Park.
The city's role as the regional center for government and services helps stabilize seasonal employment. Many residents depend on subsistence activities. Two schools enroll 567 students.
The area around Dillingham was inhabited by Eskimos and Athabaskans and became a trade center when Russians erected the Alexandrovski Redoubt (Post) in 1818. Local Native groups and Natives from the Kuskokwim Region, the Alaska Peninsula and Cook Inlet mixed as they came to visit or live at the post.
The community was known as Nushagak by 1837, when a Russian Orthodox mission was established. In 1881 the U.S. Signal Corps established a meteorological station at Nushagak. In 1884 the first salmon cannery in the Bristol Bay region was constructed by Arctic Packing Co., east of the site of modern-day Dillingham. Ten more were established within the next 17 years.
The town and post office at Snag Point were named after U.S. Sen. Paul Dillingham in 1904, who had toured Alaska extensively with his Senate subcommittee in 1903.
The 1918-19 influenza epidemic struck the region and left no more than 500 survivors.
The Dillingham site was first surveyed in 1947. The city was incorporated in 1963.
Source: Alaska Department of Community and Economic Development