Wrapping up my Alaska field season

These last few weeks I’ve been finishing up my field work with season wrap up work. I went to all the Ranger stations within Wrangell-St.Elias National Park and retrieved the moth traps we put up in the beginning of the season to trap invasive moths, collected our pollinator transects and phenology logs. Throughout the season I’ve gotten a chance to go out in the field with several different people in other divisions of the park and broaden my field experience. I went out with the archeologist and did plant and cultural compliance surveys and also with the park planner to do trail monitoring survey work. Many of the trails within the park are primarily used for subsistence hunting and are accessed by 4-wheelers. The ground cover on the trail we were monitoring consists of moss and mud. When 4-wheelers rip up the top layer, permafrost melts and creates huge mud holes and the land subsides. Along this 16 mile trail, 20 transects were set up to monitor the braided diversions off of the main trail people are taking their 4-wheelers. Once we approached a transect, we measured the length of how wide the trail had gotten from the braids and divided that length by 20 intervals. At each interval we recorded the depth of subsidence and weather the pin hits litter, bare ground or vegetation. Wrangell-St. Elias and Alaska Parks in general are different National Parks than those found in the lower 48 because there are several private property parcels within the parks. Legislation provides private property access to owners within the Park boundary and we found that the use of this trail from hunters and visitors staying with the private property owner is creating major damage of the trail. It has been an awesome summer learning from various divisions within the Park, it has given me a new perspective of how the park’s resources are managed. I am truly grateful to expand my resume to include these new field experiences!

Braided diversions off the Tanada Lake Trail

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