Wolves at Salmon Creek Reservoir, Juneau Alaska

If you like wolf stories, here’s one from my old hometown of Juneau, Alaska.


I’m hoping the URL will get you there, if not, go to “Juneau Empire” 12/14/2012 and look for “Wolf Pack Sighted at Salmon Creek Reservoir.”

I ran into three members of this pack in a neighboring watershed in the 1980’s, at a range of about 100 yards, one early morning while climbing on the highest mountain in the area. My hiking companion knew the Alaska Dept. of Fish and Game biologist studying them, and called him with the reported sighting. He, asked us not to tell anyone else, as it would just make trouble. Read the next day (15 Dec) comments to this “Empire” story to see why. The biologist asked if we’d collected a scat sample! (No, but watching them for 15 minutes cross into the Salmon Creek Watershed with binoculars I told him where he could find one.)

All the years I grew up in Juneau it was only rarely reported that anyone had seen any wolves back of the town (it’s along the littoral of the largest ice cap in North America, the Juneau Ice Field, source of all the local glaciers). One old Juneau family I knew living at the end of habitation on the dirt road leading up into the area swore they heard wolves howling at night during the winter far up in the mountains.

Additional tidbit of interest: the Salmon Creek Dam at the head of the reservoir is the first type of its kind ever built in the world: “Constant angle, variable radii.” Look up “Salmon Creek Dam” on Wiki and be prepared for a bit of a slog unless you have some physics or engineering training. (It’s worth the slog.)

The Salmon Creek Reservoir is where I used to fish for trout in the summer, and where as a boy I saw my first brown bear (with cub) feeding on a hillside one summer. I went to school in Juneau with a Karl Broderson, though much older than the photographer here. (super trivia: Bristol Palin and I are both old Juneau Douglas High School Crimson Bears.)

Anyway, if you like wolf stories, enjoy.