There’s a rare guest in the Mendenhall Lake this week.
A seal was spotted Friday morning, cruising between the icebergs in the lake.
“It’s an interesting phenomenon that every once in a while we have one or possibly two seals,” Laurie Craig said. Craig is the lead naturalist for the Mendenhall Glacier Visitor Center.
While the lake is about 6 miles from seawater, Craig said the presence of seals indicates that the fish are coming.
“We don’t expect sockeye until normally the third week of July, but this year who knows,” Craig said.
There have been two other sightings so far this year with one in May and the other in June.
Gail Blundell thinks it’s most likely a juvenile harbor seal.
Blundell is a Wildlife Biologist with the Alaska Department of Fish & Game. She heads up the statewide Harbor Seal Research Program.
“It’s not surprising, they do swim up rivers and they follow food,” Blundell said.
While it’s not clear how long the seal has been in the lake, it won’t likely be there long.
“My guess is this one will just be there temporarily and will find that there’s nothing worth being up there for and will turn around and head back,” Blundell said.
- Heli-skiing has long been a controversial topic in Haines. The interests of the industry often clash with people who live near heliports and don’t want the noise disturbing their peace and quiet. But there’s another group that’s impacted by helicopter noise: mountain goats.
- In the Northwest Arctic, caribou hunting has been contentious for years. Alaska’s largest herd continues to decline while tensions have emerged between rural subsistence users and outside hunters.
- From the Aleutian island of Akutan to the arctic village of Kiana, 13 communities have been crowned champions of a rural energy competition. The U.S. Department of Energy recently announced that it will help these communities cut their energy use by 15 percent by training local utility providers.
- It’s costing 14 percent more to take the ferry to and from the Lower 48. The higher fare is part of another round of tariff increases aimed at boosting income and equalizing rates across all routes.