Heads and Tails: Quake rattles expo in Juneau; Zinke orders expansion of hunting range



In April, a convention of fire investigators was convening in Juneau when two miscreant teens set a beloved playground ablaze. The timing was uncanny.

On Saturday, a gathering of disaster preparedness experts were winding up their expo in Juneau when a medium-sized quake rattled the Capital City.

Residents in northern Southeast Alaska, and in homes as far as the Yukon felt the magnitude 5.2 earthquake at 3:38 pm. No damage was reported.

“Sitting in my house. There was a quick shake, then a few seconds pause, then more intense shaking for maybe 30 seconds. Didn’t notice any rolling or swaying.  Dishes rattled and house creaking,” reported one Whitehorse resident on a local forum.

Another stoically observed: “The leaves are now really falling off the trees in my backyard. I blame the earthquake.”

The quake was centered 81 miles from Whitehorse, Yukon at a depth of 6 miles.

If fire and earthquakes are not enough, the next big convention in Juneau is on Oct. 23 and it has to do with taxes. The fourth special Session of the Alaska Legislature is when lawmakers will entertain once again the governor’s proposals for new “broad-based revenue.”

Taxpayers may want to bolt everything down in advance in case the dishes start rattling.


The State of Alaska has a blue ferry to sell cheap, but will there be a buyer? In March, the Alaska Marine Highway System listed the 54-year-old Taku, with a minimum bid of $1.5 million. There were no takers by the May 9 deadline, and the minimum bid was dropped to $700,000. The auction was extended to June, then July, and August, and again to Friday, Sept. 15 and no minimum bid listed, although the state set a secret reserve price.

Must Read Alaska has asked the Alaska Marine Highway System if there is a qualified bidder on this latest round and what the next steps are. We received a prompt reply: “The state received three bids and will be reviewing them for completion and relocation plan over the coming days. The high bid was for $300,000 from a Portland-based company. A decision to accept or deny the bids will be made next week.”

We’ll update this story when we find out the latest fate of the 54-year-old blue canoe, which remains tied up in Ward Cove in Ketchikan.


On Face the Nation this morning, Secretary of State Rex Tillerson said that China has a big role to play in diminishing the nuclear ambitions of North Korea:

“There are two particular economic revenue streams to the North Koreans are quite important to their ability to fund their weapons programs, and to maintain their economic activity just within their own country.

“One, of course, is energy. No economy can function if it does not have access to energy. China is the principle supplier of oil to North Korea and they have cut off oil supplies in the past when things got bad. We’re asking China to use that leverage they have with North Korea to influence them. In the case of Russia, it’s foreign laborers. Russia has over 30,000 foreign laborers from North Korea. Those wages all go back to the regime in North Korea.”


U.S. Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke on Friday issued a directive ordering his agency to expand access for hunters and fishermen.

“Hunting and fishing is a cornerstone of the American tradition and hunters and fishers of America are the backbone of land and wildlife conservation,” said Secretary Zinke. “The more people we can get outdoors, the better things will be for our public lands. As someone who grew up hunting and fishing on our public lands – packing bologna sandwiches and heading out at 4AM with my dad – I know how important it is to expand access to public lands for future generations. Some of my best memories are hunting deer or reeling in rainbow trout back home in Montana, and I think every American should be able to have that experience.”

Secretarial Order 3356 directs bureaus within the department to:

  • Within 120 days produce a plan to expand access for hunting and fishing on BLM, USFWS and NPS land.
  • Amend national monument management plans to ensure the public’s right to hunt, fish and target shoot.
  • Expand educational outreach programs for underrepresented communities such as veterans, minorities, and youth.
  • In a manner that respects the rights and privacy of the owners of non-public lands, identify lands within their purview where access to Department lands, particularly access for hunting, fishing, recreational shooting, and other forms of outdoor recreation, is currently limited (including areas of Department land that may be impractical or effectively impossible to access via public roads or trails under current conditions, but where there may be an opportunity to gain access through an easement, right-of-way, or acquisition), and provide a report detailing such lands to the Deputy Secretary.
  • Within 365 days, cooperate, coordinate, create, make available, and continuously update online a single “one stop” Department site database of available opportunities for hunting, fishing, and recreational shooting on Department lands.
  • Improve wildlife management through collaboration with state, Tribal, territorial, and conservation partners.

“For too long, sportsmen’s access to our federal lands has been restricted, with lost opportunity replacing the ability to enjoy many of our best outdoor spaces. This extension to Secretarial Order 3356 will go a long way to reversing that trend and help grow the next generation of hunters, fishermen, and recreational shooters,” said Senator Lisa Murkowski, Chairman of the Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee.

“I appreciate this new order and am committed to working with Secretary Zinke and my colleagues to do everything we can to expand and enhance access to our federal lands for all Alaskans, and all Americans, so that we can continue our rich sportsmen’s heritage,” she said.