SWCD director shares Alaskan adventure

HOWLAND — While she did not encounter any polar bears, Amy Reeher, director of the Trumbull Soil and Water Conservation District, said she did see moose and porcupines during a recent visit to Alaska.

Reeher presented a program this month on wildlife in Alaska at the Howland Library Branch.

She said the 49th state of the union established in 1959 hosts a vast array of wildlife, including the moose, which is the state animal, and the willow ptarmigan, the state bird, which can blend into its surroundings for protection during different seasons.

Reeher said she has been to Alaska twice to visit friends and stopped in Juneau and Denali.

“Juneau can only be reached by plane or boat, which makes for interesting traveling,” she said. “Juneau has a population the same as Massillon, Ohio.”

Tourism, fishing and mining are main industries, she said. “Hundreds and hundreds of people come to Alaska for tourism.”

While in the far northern state, Reeher said she saw glaciers, temperate forests and wildlife. She said she saw a bear on a trail, a porcupine in a tree and arctic terns nesting on a beach.

Reeher said some of the towns in Alaska are only a crossroads with a school, post office and store.

The Denali State Park and Denali National Park both have a lot of wildlife, including wolves, which Reeher said are shy and afraid of people, compared to coyotes in Ohio, which are less afraid of people and are more likely to be in urban areas.

“The coyotes have learned to live by humans while wolves have not,” Reeher said.

Howland resident Barbara Rosenblum, who attended the program, said she and her family visited Alaska and she remembered the friendliness of sled dogs.

“These dogs were so happy to see us,” she said.

Reeher said Denali is the only national park in the United States to have sled dogs.

She said moose and caribou have a wide range in Alaska and are often seen.

“You can go anywhere in Alaska and there is a good chance you will see a moose,” Reeher said.

During her hikes, she said she saw wetlands and ponds with various tree species, such as spruce and aspen.

While the state has five species of salmon, there are no reptiles such as snakes due to cold temperatures and the reptiles being cold-blooded.